*This is a collaborative post
Becoming a parent is something that will feel both mother and father with equal measures of excitement, happiness, and fear. The fear comes from the unknown; if you’ve never been a parent before, then it can be a hugely daunting feeling to know that you are going to be entirely responsible for a tiny human being who is completely dependent on you for everything. It’s no wonder that many parents feel completely unprepared, even if they have been planning a family for many years. If you are feeling rather overwhelmed by the idea of being a parent, here are some tips on getting prepared that will help you feel a lot better.
Make A List Of Financial Priorities
Whether you are both going to be going back to work or one of you is going to stay at home for longer with the baby, there will need to be compromises made when it comes to finances. You might be going from two incomes down to one, and even if that is not the case, you will have a lot more to buy including diapers, equipment, formula, and clothing. Therefore, making a list of your financial priorities as soon as possible will give you time to work out a way to continue to pay for what you need and reduce what you don’t need.
It is a good idea to start putting money aside as soon as you start trying for a family, or at least as soon as you find you are going to have a baby. This way, there will be a buffer of money in case you need something in an emergency. By the time the baby arrives, you should be comfortable regarding money as otherwise you won’t be able to relax and enjoy your new little one.
Get Life Insurance
It isn’t, perhaps, the most pleasant of things to think about, but once you have a child to care for, life insurance is even more important than it was before. You will want to know that, should anything happen to you, there will always be a way that your child will be taken care of. Doing this as early as possible means that you then don’t have to think about it again, but you can rest assured knowing that it is all complete. If you already have life insurance, then make sure it would cover everything that your child would need, and check whether you need to name them on the policy too.
While you’re making your life insurance inquiries, you can write your will too. Again, it’s not something that people like to think about, but it is essential to ensure that, should the worst happen, your entire family can be protected. You can also name guardians for your child within your will and set up trusts for them should this be required.
It can be massively tempting to buy too much and overspend when it comes to getting everything you think your baby ‘needs’. All a baby really needs when they are born is clothing, food, and love. Plus, diapers are always a good idea. After that, anything else that you buy is going to be more for your convenience than because it is entirely essential. Therefore, buy only what you are going to need, and make a list of these essentials before you go shopping. A newborn won’t need a crib, for example, so if you buy one, it will just sit, empty, in the corner of the room. They won’t need educational toys or books either – this can wait until they are older. Think carefully about what you are buying and save money where you can. Once the baby is born you can then determine what else you are going to need. Don’t worry about people who tell you that you should be buying this or that; they mean well, but every parent is different, as is every baby, and until you know what you need there is no point in buying too much.
The same is true of moving house. It can be hugely tempting to think you need a bigger space now that you are going to have a baby, but this can be a big mistake. Firstly, babies don’t need a lot of space, especially when they are very small and can’t walk around. They don’t even need their own room. Plus, saving money is the priority, not spending it on a larger property. When they are older, then you can think about buying or renting a larger place, but wait until it really is necessary. And don’t forget, you’ll be changing the place you currently live in anyway; it’s part of the nesting instinct that will kick in at some point. This can be a strange thing to happen, so it’s worthwhile searching for common nesting questions to help you understand more.
First Aid Kit
There are many things that you will need to prepare for when your baby is born, but a first aid kit is something that, although easily forgotten about, is actually very important. Parents worry a lot about whether their little one is well or sick, and because they have never experienced anything like this before, they can panic and become stressed. Having a first aid kit filled with a thermometer, soothing creams and aloe vera gel, and the right medicines for teething pains, stomach upsets, and general illness is a good idea. If your baby has a very high temperature, or doesn’t seem better after being given the right age-appropriate medicines, however, a doctor’s opinion should always be sought.
The Hospital Bag
You may have heard about having a hospital bag ready but not been quite sure what this is. Simply put, it is the bag you will want to grab on the way to the hospital when labor starts. This bag will need to contain clothing for you and the baby, slippers for comfort, any oils and balms that you will want to be used to soothe you, diapers, snacks and drinks, lip balm (your lips can easily dry out during labor because the wards need to be kept warm for the newborns), perhaps a stuffed toy to give to baby when they are born, books and music, and anything else that will make you feel more at ease. Have this ready from month eight of your pregnancy and keep it by the door so you don’t forget it.
While pregnant, it’s crucial that you make time for relaxation and rejuvenation. To unwind and connect with other expectant mothers, you might decide to try prenatal yoga. Another piece of advice many parents would give is for you and your partner to try to get as much sleep as possible. If you and your partner don’t already have a child in the family, now is the time to take advantage of sleeping in on the weekends before you become sleep-deprived parents. It’s good for your physical and mental health.
Quit Unhealthy Habits
Your children will emulate your poor behaviors, whether they involve drugs, alcohol abuse, smoking, or even overeating.
Now is the perfect time for you and your partner to start living the healthy lifestyle you wish to instill in your kids. In addition to not wanting to teach your kids negative habits, smoking, doing drugs, drinking, and eating unhealthily can all lower the quality of your sperm if you’re trying to conceive. Actually, sperm health and quality start to deteriorate at the age of 25.
You should avoid these behaviors as well if you want to maintain good health throughout your pregnancy.
Create A Support Network
Family and friends will be more than happy to support and guide you through all the feelings you will be experiencing both now, while you are pregnant, and after the birth of your child.
Additionally, it’s a great chance to network with other soon-to-be parents. Check out the neighborhood prenatal classes and new parent’s clubs, or try prenatal workout programs. If you don’t like the idea – or can’t spare the time – to attend these classes in person, there will be some that offer Zoom options if that’s better. Enrolling in classes is a terrific way to leave the house and meet other expectant mothers in your neighborhood. Some of these encounters frequently develop into lifelong friendships.
Define The Parenting Roles
Few couples discuss roles before getting together, much less before having children. Most people naturally transition into their roles. While one person enjoys cooking, the other person can enjoy organizing and cleaning. Perhaps one couple enjoys budgeting while the other handles the bulk of the prep work by shopping. Then a baby is added, completely upsetting the delicate balance.
It’s actually a good idea to discuss your roles ahead of time so everyone knows what to expect. What is expected of the partner, for instance, if the mother is going to nurse the child and rest? Do they temporarily take on all the responsibilities? Who is going to walk and feed the dog? Who is in charge of washing the dishes? Even though they seem straightforward, having these responsibilities established during the first several weeks of the newborn experience might help spouses avoid difficult conflicts.