Questions to consider before baby (& some veteran parent tips)
There are many things to consider before starting a family. This list is certainly not exhaustive and every family will have it's own topics and details to think through. This list is a great starting place.
Do you have any thoughts to add? Let us know on the bottom of this page!
Work and Childcare
Will both parents work, will one stay home? If so, who works and who will stay home?
If both parents are pursuing a career, how will you balance the demands of work and the demands of a young family? Are there ways that you will support each other, call in support, stagger goals, etc.
What daycares exist in your area? How much do they cost? What is the waitlist like? Pro-Tip: It is wise to get on a few waitlists ASAP (they are long in Philadelphia).
What childcare arrangement are you most comfortable with: daycare, nanny, au-pair, a grandparent, stay-at-home parent?
Pro-Tip: Talk to HR about applying for short term disability and FMLA, and learn about your work policies.
If one parent will stay home, can you adjust your lifestyle to survive with the loss of income? If not, can the parent who will work ask for a raise or make a job change? Can the parent staying at home earn some income from home?
Pro-Tip: If you plan to have a parent stay home, or if you plan to pay for daycare ($1,000-$1,500/mo/child), start saving money equivalent to what your new budget will be after baby (ie start paying “daycare costs” to your savings, or 2nd income to your savings).
How will you share responsibilites?
Baby's and your sleep
Where will baby sleep? In bed, next to your bed, in your room, in their own room?
Will you take shifts with your partner with night feeding?
How do you each feel about different methods of sleep training?
The first 3 months (the 4th trimester) can be very overwhelming. How can you each practice self-care and give each other breaks? If you are a single-parent, who is in your support network and how can they care for you?
It’s easy to fall into behaviors we saw growing up. (The good and the bad!) Talk about these things with your partner.
What will division of labor look like after baby (and set time to revisit this conversation a few months after baby arrives).
What family rhythms are important to you: bedtime routine, eating dinner together, starting your day together, etc.
Do you hope to raise your child in a certain religion?
What are your thoughts on discipline?
Will how you spend holidays change after kids?
Do you anticipate issues coming up with your family and/or in-laws, and if so, how can you address them?
Are there things coming up for you, from your upbringing, that may be triggered by becoming a parent? How can you talk with your partner about these things?
Do you want more than one child and if so, how soon do you hope to have another?
How do you currently solve conflict between each other and are there habits you want to change now that you will have a baby?
Pro tip: One parent suggests mindfulness practice and learning other skills for dealing with stress.
Other things to consider
Consider starting a relationship with a financial planner
Consider writing a will and establishing guardianship
It takes a village to raise a child. Who is your support system? You will add members to your tribe as you move through parenting and make new friends, but in the immediate future, who can you call on for support in the first year after baby?