1. Parenting

Readers Respond: What Was the Greatest Challenge of Baby's First Year?

Responses: 10


Colic, mysterious skin rashes and changing naptimes. As wonderful as a brand new baby is, the first year can be complicated. What was the toughest challenge of that first year? Parents and grandparents, we're interested in answers from both generations. It will be interesting to notice whether the challenges remain the same from generation to generation, or whether there have been significant changes. Who wants to bet that loss of sleep is number one? Share Your Story

First One

I retired at 39 six months ago. My daughter came home Thanksgiving at 20 with all her stuff pregnant. So much for peaceful retirement. I've got a crew already building a fifth bedroom and nursery for her. Scheduled her first ob/gyn appointment, ordered new furniture for them. Am I missing anything? Mom's been gone since she was 16 and her brothers were adolescents . . . her loss. Any advice?
—Guest Pops


I have this big fear that my mother-in-law will give me too much support. My husband says that he wants his mom to play a big role in our daughter's life, but I feel like she would almost take my motherhood away. She already gives me advice that makes me almost feel like she thinks I'm incapable. In three more weeks I get to see my daughter, and I can't wait! I don't know how to approach her if she gets too controlling and suggesting things to me. How should I go about it?
—Guest Forsey

Rules, Rules

As a part-time babysitter, I have been given the following rules: 1. I am not to call myself by my native term for granny as it resembles "mommie" in English. 2. I am not to tell my daughter-in-law of any new accomplishments in the baby's life, as she wants to be the first one to experience them 3. I am not to give any advice, even if it has to do with safety issues. 4. I am allowed to discuss issues with the father only. 5. I am to have no social contact with the other grandmother other than occasional comment to via Facebook, and no contact with the other nannies. 6. My gifts (modest) to daughter-in-law go unacknowledged and some to the baby are most likely trashed. 7. I am left with the impression that my daughter-in-law is jealous of the time I have with the baby and prefers to use her own friends as babysitters. Her mistrust of me is almost palpable, although I have lots of experience and qualifications 7. Any appeal to arrange a family meeting to discuss the issues has been refused.

I Don't Get to See My Grandchild

My daughter and her boyfriend don't let me see the baby. She is almost one month old and I have seen her three times. What should I do?
—Guest Julie

No Grandchild Time

My daughter had my granddaughter one month ago and then decided to move to Florida. It's been three weeks and she has decided to come home, but live with her grandmother, who is a terrible person. I feel like i am going crazy with jealousy. She cannot live with me due to my husband saying no. I will not get to have much quality time with my grandchild with her living there. i do not know how to deal with this.


I had no idea I'd feel so jealous of the time the OTHER grandmother gets to spend with our granddaughter! We both live near our granddaughter and I find myself asking my daughter how many times her husband's brought the little one over to his mom's! I never thought I'd feel like this and I wonder if other grandmas have felt like that too...
—Guest Nana


Not wanting to spend every minute with them and having to get used to them being in their own home with their own parents. Amazed at how fast the time really goes by the first year and especially how quickly they learn to say nana or pop, even before mom or dad in some cases. It seems they learn things much more quickly than my own children did the first year, either that or I was so busy raising mine that I didn't really take the time to slow down and notice things.
—Guest Janet

Distance is tough

My very biggest challenge during the first year was the distance, as my grandson is more than 800 miles away. My daughter and I agreed that we'd do our best to see each other a max of every two months and we did quite well, with her and the baby (and sometimes Dad) coming here or my husband and me (and sometimes the baby's two aunts, our other daughters) going there. At that age, the child isn't big enough to talk on the phone or be engaged during Skype sessions, so it was rough to get in any connection except for face time in person. In the beginning, from the moment the pregnancy was announced, I thought I'd go mad with them being so far away. But you -- unfortunately -- get used to it, to some degree. And I believe the distance contributes to being a more intentional grandparent because the connection doesn't just happen, as it might with the grandbaby nearby.
—Guest Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

Oh Dear!

For some unknown reason, and much to my chagrin, at age 6 months, one of my granddaughters started crying at the sight of me and would get very upset if I tried to hold her. She would not settle down. It was awful! My children tried to ignore it and say it was my imagination, but as it happened every time, they finally had to admit it wasn't just my imagination. It made it impossible for me to babysit. She is 15 months now, and it has taken many months to build a mutually comfortable relationship with this child. I still have to approach her very slowly and demurely each time I see her, but little by little the situation is getting better. It's a puzzlement as to why she reacted to me this way since I am not a distant grandparent who sees her infrequently, but it has been a difficult and challenging reality that I have never heard other grandparents share. I jokingly tell myself we might have met each other in a past life :>) but sometimes it's hard to muster the sense of humor to help deal with it.
—Guest Nona Nita

Giving Advice

My biggest challenge was to offer advice in a way that it didn't sound like criticism (or even advice!)

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What Was the Greatest Challenge of Baby's First Year?

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