“We need to talk.”
No, but really, you DO!
Before baby arrives, it is essential to make sure you and your partner are on the same page. Bringing a new life into your family will definitely change you, your partner and your marriage. But it doesn’t have to completely flip your world upside down. Planning ahead and having deep discussions will, in turn, create a calmer environment for everyone once baby arrives. These conversations can occur naturally (perhaps while you’re painting the nursery) or over a planned sit down (date night!) If you haven’t already, look into taking couples prenatal classes at your local hospital. The classes will open up the door for discussions and discovering each other’s opinions, as well as create a bonding experience. Before the delivery, make sure you have had these three important conversations:
Avoid the terrible midnight argument of who is going to get up with baby and instead have a game plan. Try setting a schedule for your home. For example, mom gets to sleep from 9pm-1am while dad is on baby duty, and mom is on baby duty from 1am-5am. Play with your schedules to figure out what works. If mom is breastfeeding, plan to have pumped bottles ready to go for dad when he is scheduled. Or try the routine of every other wake-up. Mom gets up for first wake-up, dad gets up for second.
If mom is going back to work, discuss who will be in charge of drop off and pick up from daycare. Who’s schedule will be more flexible to take off work when baby is sick? Who will be in charge of scheduling and taking baby to routine doctor visits? Who will take on weekly meal planning and grocery shopping for the rest of the family? Outlining who will do what not only helps things run smoother, but it also helps both parties understand all that goes in to taking care of a tiny human.
By now, you probably have your finances in order because it is just the two of you, but adding in a baby can be a bit… much. Sit down and calculate things out. Will both of you be working full time? What will cost of daycare look like? Would it make more sense financially for one of you to go part time or stay home? Here’s a list of ways you can cut costs if you are wanting to make the transition to staying home with baby. We’ve also put together a list of ways moms can make money while staying at home.
While daycare costs can be the biggest kicker when adding a baby into the picture, don’t forget about the little things that will add up- diapers, formula and/or pump parts, baby clothes and accessories, doctor visits. For such a tiny person, babies sure take a lot of stuff and its a good idea to budget for it. Read our post on how to raise a baby on a budget here.
This would also be a good time to chat about any college savings plan you want to start when baby is born. It isn’t something that has to be done immediately but is a good topic to touch on so you have an idea of what your partner is thinking.
3. Life choices
Most likely, you will know your partner’s stance on these topics because you know your partner! But, it is best to revisit this topic and share what your plan is when raising your baby. You may find that after you have your baby, you tweak your thoughts on a matter or maybe one of you gets a little more flexible in their view, but it is always good to be open with each other and know each other’s opinions.
Also, if one or more of these topics are extremely important to you, make sure you partner knows that.
Religion If you and your partner are already attending a religious organization, this topic might not be as crucial. However, for any couples coming from different religious backgrounds, you may need to focus more on this topic. What, if any, religion will you raise your baby? If your religion participates in infant baptism, be sure to discuss your plans.
Co-sleeping- Will baby be starting off in your room, or will you begin baby right away in their own space? If baby is in your room, talk about where baby will be (bassinet, attached co-sleeper, a baby lounger) and if your partner is wanting to co-sleep at all. If you and your partner are, be sure to educate yourselves together on safe co-sleeping strategies and what it means to co-sleep.
Breastfeeding- Breastfeeding will have greater success if mom feels like she has a rock-solid support system. Chances are, if you are attending a prenatal class, your hospital will offer one or more classes on breastfeeding. Be sure to really educate yourselves if you are wanting to breastfeed. Take an online breastfeeding class and encourage your partner to take it with you. Talk about what that means for you as a family. Is mom exclusively breastfeeding? Will mom pump and offer bottles for dad to feed baby? Will mom exclusively pump? Breastfeeding decisions are something that may change after baby and you decide what works for you and baby.
Vaccines- Baby’s first year is routinely full of many well-checks that often include vaccines. You and your partner should decide together if your baby will be receiving all vaccines and if they will be given as scheduled per baby’s pediatrician. Vaccines begin as early as hours after delivery, so having a game plan for vaccines is a great idea.
Circumcision- If you have a boy, most likely the circumcision will occur within a few days after birth. If you or your partner have hesitations, do your research beforehand. You can also reach out to your pediatrician before the baby is born to help with you decision making.
Cloth or disposable diapers Discuss the pros and cons of cloth diapers versus disposable diapers with your partner. Remember if you choose to go with cloth, to talk over a cleaning system of washing the diapers and assigning responsibilities of who is in charge of that. And there you have it! It may seem a bit exhausting, but luckily you have 9 months to plan for this little bundle to arrive. This journey to parenthood is so exciting. Make these conversations fun and use it as a time to really get to know each other more. Communication will help you grow as a couple and you may learn something new about your partner that you didn’t know before!
Meet the Author:
Hello, I’m Erika! I live in Omaha with my husband and our 3 kiddos, 2 dogs and 1 cat. I have a background in early childhood education, but currently staying at home with my littles. I am a yogi-wanna be, cookie connoisseur and snuggle-aholic. You can find my other blog posts featured on Omaha Moms Blog.