What are things to consider before having a baby?

Setting boundaries is essential

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You probably already had to set boundaries when you were pregnant and everyone felt like they had permission to touch your belly, so you’ll be prepared to set a few more once you’ve had your baby.

Christina Moreland, mom of two, and author of Secrets of the Super Mom: How to Be a Super Mom Without Losing Your Super Self in the First Two Years told me, “Right after you have a baby, it seems everyone else feels they are entitled to see, touch, grab, and have access to your breasts. I personally was never comfortable feeding around anyone other than my husband. Know this upfront and speak up for yourself. Create your new boundaries and don’t be afraid.”

You’ll also need to set boundaries around what you think is best for your baby. Moreland continued, “The minute you announce you’re having a baby, everyone will have their own opinions about what you should or shouldn’t do. Ignore them.”

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12. Wipes

Keep bags of wipes in several locations, from your changing station to the diaper bag to your car. Like diapers, avoid stocking up on one particular brand just yet, until you know your baby isn’t sensitive to it.

Many hospitals send patients home with samples of wipes, or you can simply get different brands from the store and see which ones you like.

Or, like diapers, you can save money on wipes (and cut down on trash) by buying reusable ones!

Things To Consider Before Having A Baby

Even though you have some tough and complex decision to make there are some other things to consider before having a baby that isn’t as demanding but still need to be mentioned.

1. Delivery Options

This is one of the more important things to consider before having a baby.

Be sure to plan how you intend on delivering the baby.

Whether that’s a home birth, a hospital birth, pool birth or something that’s a mixture all 3, it’s important you set aside a plan for your ideal labour.

It’s unusual that it will go exactly to plan, but deciding on your ideal setup and working progressively towards that will free up your mental space closer to the time. (don’t’ forget about planning for effective pain relief as well)

2. Feeding & Health Options

Are you planning on bringing your baby up with a strict dieting plan?

If you are then be sure to research into what babies and toddlers can and can’t eat.

Also, make sure you are able to cut out certain things from your diet to facilitate it.

If you are planning on having a vegan diet for your baby be prepared to explain why you eat meat and why they can’t.

3. Co-sleeping

This is an often overlooked area of things to consider before having a baby.

If you intend to have new baby sleep in a cot, then to a crib and then eventually transition to their own to toddler bed that that’s fine.

But be prepared to investigate the pro’s and cons of co-sleeping.

There is a lot of evidence, both scientific and anecdotal that suggest one may outweigh the other.

Ultimately the decision is up to you, but don’t rule it out until you know the reasons for and against each one.

4. Being a couple again

When thinking about things to consider before having a baby most couples don’t even think to talk about this.

As baby comes they will eventually go into toddler stage and transition through childhood and teenage years faster then you think.

Ask any parent with a teenager and they’ll remind you that the baby years flew by! (although it might not always seem like that when you’re going through it)

Amongst all the possibilities make sure you have a discussion on being a couple again.

Whether that means staying at home when the children moving out or selling up and living on a tropical island, it’s all very important to talk about so you both are on the similar pages.  

5. Sleepless nights & crying babies  

One of the most important things to consider before having a baby is preparing for those sleepless nights.

No matter what way you look at it a new baby will cry and they will have to adapt to their parents sleeping patterns naturally.

This can take a long time.

For most parents this is the biggest stress they will face in the early years of childhood and can make or break a couple.

No matter how much advice you get from others learning to sleep on less then 5 hours sleep a night and waking up every 2 hours to feed, change and put the baby back to sleep is hard.

On top of that, your baby will cry and scream for your attention at different intervals throughout the day.

It’s a full-time job and you have to be prepared for sleepless nights and crying babies!

PUT THE WORDS IN THE RIGHT ORDER

1.

"clock    when   35    The    strikes   the     is    age     12"    like    of .

2.

a     become     It     for     to     riskier     woman     pregnant     is.    

3.

nurses    a   message   in    a    speech    Herbert   gave   doctors   and.

4.

12     before     this     Have     clock     your     strikes     babies.    

5.

worried     I     about     would     my     be     daughter     getting.    

6.

Women   baby   a   having   off   put   to   choosing  are    days   these.    

7.

career     want     to     Women     interrupt     do     their     not.    

8.

how     women     needed     about     help     Society     think    to    to.    

9.

barriers     to     are     understand     what     We     the     need.    

10.

man     along     doesn’t     always     The     just     right     come.    

25. Milk bottles and nipples

Whether pumping or formula-feeding, you’ll need milk bottles to feed your baby. Stick to smaller 4-ounce bottles for now, as well as low-flow nipples.

Tip: Experiment with both bottle and nipple brands and varieties. Some babies take to certain sizes, materials, and brands. Like diapers and wipes, don’t stock up just yet on bottles and nipples until you can see whether your baby takes to them.

Dr. Brown’s Original Nipple

4. The first 3 months are the hardest

They don’t call it the fourth trimester for nothing. Your newborn baby will be gradually adjusting to life outside the womb and you will go through all kind of hormonal and physical changes while recovering from childbirth. Our world is the complete opposite of the safe cocoon the baby emerged from. Adjusting to constant stimulation, learning to express their needs, life outside is a big deal to a newborn baby, some adjust easily, and others take their time. You need to empathize with your child and give them what they need. I promise you that if you soothe your baby by picking them up, they won’t be stuck to your hip forever, not even a few months down the line.

Your emotions will be like a pendulum, swaying from one extreme to another. It’s important to get rest, eat, and drink well. It’s only too likely that you’ll lose yourself in the busy life of a new mother, but take care of yourself. Factor in ‘me time’ in the week to reconnect with yourself and rejuvenate. A happy mother makes a happy baby.

BABIES DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘baby’?

c)

What do you think about what you read?

d)

When do you think the best age is to have a baby?

e)

Do you agree with the professor?

f)

Why is being 35 like a clock striking 12?

g)

Why is it riskier for a woman to have a baby after 35?

h)

What’s the best number of children to have?

i)

Would you worry about a childless 35-year-old daughter?

j)

Do you think women will take Professor Herbert’s advice?

—————————————————————————–

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article? Why/not?

b)

Which is more important, a career or a family?

c)

Should women think more about children and less about their career?

d)

Is it natural that women want to settle down at a later age?

e)

Is 18 too young for a woman to start having children?

f)

What barriers are there for younger women to have children?

g)

Is it so important to find a nice home before having children?

h)

How important is it to do everything before you are 32?

i)

Are parents over 35 better than parents under 25?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Professor Herbert?

Having a baby is going to take a toll on your relationship

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Whether your relationship is rock solid or you have some kinks to work out, expect your newborn to impact it. O’Brien told me, “Having a baby is going to take a toll on your relationship. Other parents will tell you this, they may even say it it will ruin your relationship. You will think that’s not possible, because you have a great relationship with your partner. But the truth is no matter how strong your relationship is, having a little sweet bundle of joy will take a toll.”

She added, “Even if you have great communication now, when you are exhausted and overwhelmed with all the new things you have to do in a day, it will wear on your relationship. You are not alone in your frustration with your partner because almost 70 percent of couples report dissatisfaction in their relationship when baby comes home.”

In order to pull through this trying time, she recommended, “It is important to have a daily check-in. Talk to each other about what you are experiencing. Share the good things, but also talk about any challenges you are having. You can then offer a way to support each other.”

When does preconception health begin?

Professor Sarah Robertson, Director of Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, highlights the key time before pregnancy that your health is most important to ensure your child has the best start to life.

Other Considerations to Help You Financially Plan for a Growing Family

Cash flow is a huge factor when it comes to starting your family or adding to it by having more children. Cash savings is important too, but we see it as a secondary concern. The number-one question we want to answer is, can your cash flow support the cost of a bigger family?

To help manage the ongoing costs and new financial obgliations of having kids, we also want to look at some other considerations that play a role in financial planning when you’re expecting a baby:

Health Insurance and Health Savings Accounts: Ask your health insurance provider for a detailed list of normal out-of-pocket expenses throughout a pregnancy. This can help you better plan for some of the upfront costs having a baby might create.

You might also want to look into a health plan that allows you to use a health savings account. These can be useful tools as part of an overall financial plan, regardless of whether or not you want to have kids.

If you find your policy isn’t sufficient for your new or changing needs with your changing family situation, you might need to look into getting different coverage. You can change your medical insurance during open enrollment or once you have your child.

Life Insurance: You need life insurance when you have kids. It’s not to protect you — it’s to protect them (and anyone else who depends on your income) from financial hardship should something happen to you.

A good rule of thumb is to estimate that you need 10 times your annual salary in coverage. This number can vary greatly, so be sure to analyze your particular situation before committing to a final amount. You can typically get to these amounts using a combination of group plans (through your company benefits) and private policies.

The policy you get through work usually won’t cover your full need — and you lose the group insurance if you leave (or lose) your job. At that point, getting private insurance can be more expensive, due to age and other factors that are unknowns, like being in poorer health then than you are today.

For private insurance, we almost always recommend term life insurance. Whole, variable, or universal life typically isn’t a good fit for most people. (And no: as fee-only financial planners, we don’t sell insurance or products of any kind. That keeps our advice objective.)

For the term length, we suggest starting with quotes for 20-30 year level term insurance, and then compare rates across the different options. “Level term” means premiums stay consistent on an annual basis over the term. The actual premium cost is based on your personal health rating, which is determined through existing medical records and a medical exam (including blood and urine test) that you can take for the purpose of getting insurance.

Once you get the results and the actual premium price, you can then determine if you’d like to move forward or if you need to adjust the death benefit amount to reduce (or can afford a higher) premium price.

Education Expenses: Depending on your thoughts on education and whether or not you want to pay for it, it may be worthwhile to set aside money for college. You can do this by opening a 529 plan, where growth on your contributions is tax free if used for qualified college expenses.

You can also plan to contribute to a regular, taxable brokerage account. That may not be as tax-efficient as a 529 plan, but it certainly has more flexibility to it. If you don’t use the 529 plan money for college, you will pay a 10% penalty (and taxes) on the growth portion.

We often suggest clients . You can contribute 50% of what you want to save to a 529 plan, and 50% to a brokerage. You have full control over how and when you use the money in the brokerage account, so this approach gives you a bit more flexibity to adapt to whatever happens in the future.

This helps protect against unexpected outcomes around your child’s college plans. That could be anything from your child going to a cheaper college than you expected or college costs finally falling rather than rising, to your kids not going to college at all or your family needing to use that money for another purpose.

Short Baby Quotes

Need a shorter quote for a gift tag or for a personalized gift like a sweet teddy bear for the little one? These short baby quotes and sayings range from nostalgic and emotional to playful and silly. Consider adding these short quotes into a personalized calendar filled with adorable photos of your little one.

  • “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” —Carl Sandburg
  • Your first breath took ours away.
  • “Flowers are words which even a baby can understand.” —Arthur C. Coxe
  • “It was the tiniest thing I ever decided to put my whole life into.” —Terri Guillemets
  • Fairy tales do come true. Look at us, we had you.
  • A baby’s smile is an antidote to melt your day’s stress away.
  • “A baby is born with a need to be loved—and never outgrows it.” —Frank A. Clark
  • Something tells me I am going to love him forever.
  • Happiness is homemade.
  • “Children make you want to start life over.” —Muhammad Ali
  • Babies are bits of stardust, blown from the hand of God.
  • “A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.” —Victor Hugo
  • “A happy baby has shining eyes. It walks open-hearted into the world and spreads magic.” —Sigrid Leo
  • Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.
  • While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.
  • Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.
  • “A new baby is like the beginning of all things-wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.” —Eda J. Le Shan
  • Babies smile in their sleep because they’re listening to the whispering of angels.
  • Ten little fingers, ten perfect toes, fill our hearts with love that overflows.
  • “Children bring us a piece of heaven on earth.” —Roland Leonhardt

The Realities of Parenthood

Many of these questions are geared toward future moms, but it wouldn’t hurt for future dads to read and think about the questions. Also, my responses to the questions may seem a bit harsh at times, but I would rather present the truth than present information through rose-colored glasses. Raising children is not always easy, not always fun. For those ready to have kids, however, you'll find it is very, very worth it.

What You Need to Save Before Having a Baby: One-Time Costs to Consider

The bottom line here? Cash savings is important… but with financially preparing to have a baby, cash flow is probably king.

That being said, there are upfront, one-time costs associated with having a baby (especially your first, when you may not have a bunch of baby gear just lying around). These should be accounted for as well, once you’ve determined that your cash flow can handle the ongoing costs of supporting a larger family.

Insurance costs associated with pregnancy and labor & devliery can be a big upfront, one-time expense as well as a cash flow issue; you may need to switch from an individual health plan to a family one once your baby is born, which could mean higher premiums or bigger deductibles.

Take some time to talk with your health insurance company to understand what the best plan options would be for pregnancy and childbirth. Various plans might offer better coverage for specific prenatal needs and hospital stays; you’ll want to ask about deductibles, out of pocket max costs, and so on.

Once you determine the maximum your plan would require you to pay out of pocket, that gives you one part of a specific savings target of what you need to save before having a baby. For example, if the deductible is $7,000 then you should have at least this amount available i cash to use for medical bills, just in case.

You may also want to price out what you need to purchase to prepare for having a child in the family. This can vary wildly from household to household, depending on a number of factors: if you already have kids, if you have extended family with older children who can gift you their no-longer-in-use baby gear, if you’re a minimalist or if having ALL the things is important to you, and so on.

What you need could include both physical items (bassinet, crib, diapers, a stroller, clothing, etc) as well as service providers for before and after the baby arrives (doulas, nannies, lactation consultants, etc).

Don’t forget about other ways you could leverage your finances to make life a little easier once the baby arrives: you might want to consider hiring a housecleaner once a week for the first few months after the baby is born, or subscribe to a meal delivery kit in the early days when you’re adjusting to parenthood and figuring out the whole baby thing.

Finally, you may want to take into account any gifts that friends and family may provide to offset some of your own costs, whether that’s cash, big-ticket nursery items like furniture, or smaller but necessary purchases from a baby registry.

15. Enjoy your baby they grow up too fast

Being a parent is mostly about being full of love, joy, hope and unimaginable delight, even when you’re bone tired. You will laugh more than ever before. All the craziness will soon end – the sleepless nights, the toilet training, and tantrums. Time will run swiftly and in the blink of an eye your infant will be a toddler and before you know it, ready for school. Savor the baby stage; it’s so special and so short-lived that you will miss it dearly when it’s gone. Watching your child grow is one of the most magical and mystical experiences of your life. Don’t be constantly worried and panicked about the baby.

You will be fine. Don’t take life too seriously. Remember to relax and have fun as a family enjoying this beautiful gift that you have been blessed with.

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Featured photo credit: Lisa Rosario via albumarium.com

Are You Ready to Be a Parent?

If you answer yes to any of the above questions about having a baby, you may be ready. The rest just all comes with time and experience. And patience. And love. Lots of love.

©ThePracticalMommy

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Tips

  • Take as much time as you need to decide if you are ready to start a family. Do not put pressure on yourself to make a decision by a certain deadline.

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