This is a guest post by Samara of Tiny Fry.
Planning for a baby is a joyous time. It’s when you celebrate your relationship with your partner and dream about raising a child and your future as a family. But what about addressing big-ticket questions that you know will arise once baby is actually here? Shouldn’t you talk about these before baby is born?
Of course, diving deep into conversations about possible birth complications, disciplinary techniques or the pros and cons of breastfeeding is daunting (to say the least). However, trust us when we say that it’s easier to handle these topics now rather than when you’re sleep deprived and have a hungry baby squirming in your arms.
The Time is Now, But Timing is Everything
You just can’t hit your partner with a long list of heavy-duty topics and expect instant (and coherent) answers. Instead, find a calm moment to mention what’s on your mind or plan a “date” to talk leisurely about specific items.
The idea is to take it slow and steady and know that you aren’t going to solve all of the issues in one sitting.
There will be times when both of you will want to organize your thoughts before further discussion. Respect each other’s process and be patient. Understand from the get go that you aren’t going to agree on every little detail and do your best to honor each other’s opinions and values.
11 Topics to Discuss Before Having Kids
Certainly, there are lots of things to consider, like whether or not to give birth at home or what type of medication you want on hand. Who do you want to be with you and how do you want to be supported during labor?
When you’re in the throes of labor, chances are you’ll have trouble making rational decisions. So to avoid unnecessary confusion, now is the time to discuss how you want the birth to play out.
Back Up Birth Plan
No one wants to think about complications, but unfortunately, not all births are smooth sailing. Considering this, we urge you to have a back up plan that outlines your wishes in case something goes astray.
Do you want to go back to work full-time, cut back to part-time, or switch gears entirely and stay home with baby? What about once baby is in school? If you keep working, what about childcare? How will any changes affect your financial status?
Having a career does more than impact your wallet. For many, our jobs make us feel useful, confident and proud. It’s equally important to address these emotional changes during this discussion.
Whether or not you go back to work there will be times when you need support. Who do you want to entrust your child to? How much money can you afford to spend on childcare?
Some options include hiring a live-in nanny, a part-time sitter, or relying on your friends and family to step up. Whatever you choose, it’s wise to have someone to fall back on in case your first choice can’t commit.
Bank Baby’s Blood
Some parents choose to save their newborn baby’s cord blood in case the baby or someone else needs it in the future (for something like a bone marrow treatment).
The big decision here is to decide how you want to bank the blood, privately or publicly. “Private” banking means that the donor or a member of the donor’s family can only use the blood. With “public” banking, the blood can be used to treat any patient anywhere in the world at any time.
This is especially relevant for parents of different faiths.
The choice here is whether to follow one religion, a combination of religions, or no religion whatsoever. Some parents believe it’s up to the individual to decide. In this case, parents make an effort they teach the child about their options and then let them choose their own path when they have matured.
You’d be surprised how many couples assume they’ll discipline their child the same way they were disciplined by their parents. But what if you grew up with time-outs and your partner thinks spanking is the norm?
Disposables or Cloth?
It’s a wise move to stock up on basic supplies before baby comes home. But first you need to decide what type of items you want to purchase. Will you be happy with the commercial brand of diapers that are available at your local grocery store and pharmacy? Or do you want to go the all-natural route with cloth ones?
To make this decision you’ll have to consider cost, convenience, and the potential “green” benefits.
A new baby means new gear. How much stuff are you prepared to bring into you house? Is the sky the limit when it comes to baby furniture, accessories and toys? Or are you determined to be a careful consumer?
Even the most frugal agree that there are some items that new parents can’t live without. To make sure you’ve got those essential baby items covered, we recommend making a list and urge you to buy those things first.
Before you know it, you’ll have another mouth to feed. Will you make baby’s food or buy it from the store? Are you going for organic, all natural or whatever is on sale?
How you feed your little one is a something that may change over time, but it helps to have a plan for the earliest years. When making this decision, cost, convenience, storage, and nutrition should be considered.
This is a sensitive topic for many, but one that certainly needs to be discussed. Whether based on religion or a personal preference, knowing your partner’s wishes before the birth will save you from having this discussion under pressure.
You Can’t Talk too Much
If having a baby is on your “must do” list, do yourself (and your partner) a favor and talk about it and then talk about it some more!
Becoming a parent is such a major milestone that it’s impossible to fully prepare for the transformation. However, by addressing all aspects of parenthood in advance (the practical and the emotional), you’re ensuring a smooth(er) beginning to this incredible journey.
Author Bio: Samara Kamenecka is a VA specializing in SEO and writing, based in Madrid. When she’s not chained to her desk working, she likes to explore the city with her boyfriend, their two kids and their dog. She shares her parenting adventures over at Tiny Fry.