Congratulations! You're a grandparent! You have an exciting adventure ahead of you, including all the joys of comforting and caring for your grandchild. You might be the first person your grown child turns to for advice about caring for their baby. Some things have changed since you raised your children. Please review the information below for the most up-to-date information about caring for your grandchild. You can make a real difference by giving your grandchild the best start in life!
Guidelines for Caring for Your Grandchild
Breastmilk is considered the best food for a baby. Health Canada recommends that babies receive only breastmilk for the first 6 months of life and that breastfeeding continues for up to two years and beyond. You can play an important role in supporting breastfeeding. Visit our Breastfeeding page to learn more about Breastfeeding and how important it is for both the baby and mother.
At six months of age, babies can start eating solid foods. The recommendations are to start a baby with iron-rich foods including iron-fortified infant cereals (rice, oats, barley, wheat), meats, eggs, tofu, well-cooked legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas), fruits, and vegetables. Starting with solids does not mean that everything needs to be pureed. The new recommendations encourage different textures, such as chopped, shredded, and finger foods, helping babies learn to chew. There are some foods that can be choking hazards for babies and young children, such as hot dogs, hard candies, whole grapes, popcorn and peanuts. There is new information on common food allergens and when it is safe to introduce these foods to children. Learn more from our Kids & Food page to help you feel more relaxed about feeding your grandchild, and to answer some of your questions about the introduction of solid food, textures, choking hazards and allergies.
Singing and rocking a baby off to sleep can be a very enjoyable moment for a grandparent. The recommendations for safe sleep for babies have changed considerably over the years. Visit our Safe Sleep for your Baby page to review these recommendations.
You may be responsible for putting your grandchild to bed at night or for getting them off to school in the morning. Don’t forget to help them brush their beautiful baby teeth twice a day. You can play an important role in helping your grandchild to develop good oral hygiene right from the start. Visit our Oral Health Care for Infants & Toddlers page to find out more about the importance of baby teeth and oral health services available.
As a grandparent, you will want your grandchild to live and grow in a healthy environment. It is important to know the facts to help reduce environmental risks for your grandchild. Visit our Children's Environmental Health page to learn more about children’s environmental health and ways you can keep them safe and healthy.
If you are taking care of your grandchild, it is important for you to be healthy as well. Take time to learn about immunizations for yourself and ensure they are up to date as well.
Car seats save lives and are required by law for babies and young children. As a grandparent, you may be responsible for driving your grandchild to and from home, school, and activities. Car seat regulations have changed over time. Car seats need to be the correct size, installed correctly and purchased in Canada. For more information about car seat laws, and to learn how to correctly install a car seat, visit our Car Seat Safety page.
As a grandparent, you will have the chance to help your grandchild discover the world around them. Whether it is a boating adventure, bicycling, swimming, snowmobiling, or skating, your grandchild’s safety is a number one priority. To learn more about safety equipment for your grandchild and ways to prevent injuries, visit our On-Road and Off-Road Safety page.
Remember that as a grandparent, you can have a positive effect on your grandchild’s life and in turn, they will provide you with great joy and excitement. Hug your grandchild often, read to them whenever you can, tell them funny stories, and give them the most valuable gift of all: your love and your time. Happy Grandparenting!
For Further Information
Call a public health nurse: (807) 625-5900
or toll-free 1-888-294-6630