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Grandparents relearning how to care for infants

Classroom at Sky Ridge Medical Center; baby dolls are used to educate attendees on new schools of thought on infant care.

Becoming a grandparent is momentous. It means reliving unforgettable milestones like the first birthday and buying adorable, tiny clothes. But being a grandparent also means accepting that things have changed in infant care. Increasingly, more grandkids, 25% in some states, are exclusively cared for by a grandparent, according to AARP. Thankfully, infant care classes are available online or in person at local hospitals.

Grandparents Are Special is a popular class offered at Sky Ridge Medical Center. The class educates attendees on new schools of thought in infant care and teaches infant CPR. Dawn Carter, a resident of Noble Ridge since 1995, recently attended the class. “It has been a while since I had kids and things have changed. The most important thing for me was a CPR refresher because that has changed, too,” Dawn explained.

The evolution of infant care seems slight, but the changes have decreased infant mortality. Dawn continued, “For example, babies sleep on their backs now. When my kids were small, they slept on their side and before me, it was okay to put kids on their belly.”

What has changed? In addition to the sleeping position (which helps prevent the infant from choking on spit up), infants should sleep in a bare crib to keep from suffocating on a stuffed animal or blanket. Further, circulating carbon dioxide and fresh oxygen into the nursery helps an infant’s body to continue breathing. After eight weeks of age, swaddling is not necessary during sleep time. A loose swaddle can instantly become a suffocation hazard.

A seemingly fail-safe way to calm a baby is with food. But creating a healthy relationship between a human and food starts young. If baby has napped, has a clean diaper, has been fed recently and is being cuddled but is still squawking – this does not mean baby needs another bottle. At times, babies just cry. This is an opportunity to get creative. Go on a baby safari around the home, tell baby about exciting and rare kitchen appliances or home decor. Try lying baby on her back, show her colorful rattles, sing to her. An infant can never be shown too much love or given too many cuddles.

Another refresher for grandparents involves vaccines. For example, Tdap protects against whooping cough, which can be fatal to a baby. Also, if a grandparent is feeling sick, it is wise to take the time to get well away from grandkids.

New grandparents? Take an infant care class at a local hospital with a refresher on CPR, and after decades of empty nesting, babysitting a new grandbaby will not be daunting. Your kids will be impressed and grateful. It is one more way to show you care.

The cost of the class at Skyridge is $50: one registration covers two people. For more information or to register, visit and click on “Classes and Events,” or call 720-225-2229.

For more information on the referenced information in this article, visit

Sky Ridge Medical Center. Parenting and infant care classes are taught by certified educators and registered nurses.


By Grace Caroline Roubidoux; photos courtesy of Chris Logan, Sky Ridge Medical Center




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