Starting a family will likely be one of the most rewarding things you choose to do. It can also be one of the most difficult. When you can’t ignore the baby instinct any longer, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget about all of the things you need to do to prepare. You’re diving into a brand new experience, and if you want to be ready, you’ll pay attention to a few of these tips:
1. Prepare Your Relationship
Having a baby will be stressful, but if handled right, it can bring you and your partner closer together than ever. There will be a lot of stress, lack of sleep, high tempers, noise, and heavier responsibilities. You’ll also have different parenting styles that will require extra compromise.
Sit down with your partner to discuss what life is going to be like after having a baby, and make a plan to cope with it. Discuss how you’ll set aside time for each other (such as date nights) with a child in tow, be sensitive of one another’s feelings, and make compromises on things you disagree on. This chat will be integral to maintaining your relationship after the baby is born.
2. Check out the Budget
The expense is one of the easiest things to forget about when you’re preparing for a baby – until your first bill comes in the mail. The average baby that’s born without complications costs nearly $9,000 before health insurance, including all of your prenatal, delivery, and postpartum costs. If you or the baby needs extra care, such as an operation or time in the NICU, be prepared to tack on about $7,000 more to the bill.
If you have insurance, that takes care of a large chunk out of the cost, but you’ll still be faced with a substantial out-of-pocket expense. Before having a baby, know how you’ll pay for it, whether through savings or a new insurance plan.
3. Know the Early Signs of Pregnancy
In order to maintain a healthy pregnancy, you’ll want to abstain from certain habits such as tobacco and alcohol use. You’ll also want to avoid things such as X-rays and use only pregnancy-safe medications. Because you want to deliver a healthy baby, it’s important to know the signs of pregnancy, particularly the early ones, so that you can stop any of these behaviors before they harm your developing child.
4. Make Room
If you live in a one-bedroom apartment, odds are you won’t have enough space when the baby arrives. Your baby will need his/her own room in order to establish a sleep routine, which is essential for healthy development. For that reason, have a plan for where the baby will live when he/she is born, and if that means upgrading to a larger apartment or home or renovating your current place, recognize that it’s for the best.
5. Prepare for the Worst
No one wants to think about what will happen if they lose the baby or if they encounter problems during pregnancy, but knowing it’s possible can make things much easier. Have a plan in place in case something does happen.
This should include both practical preparation, such as designating a special contingency fund to pay for medical expenses or having the hospital bag packed three months before the due date, and emotional preparation, such as locating your support group, being informed, seeing a professional counselor, or discussing the outcomes in depth with your spouse. It’s not easy to think about, but preparation will make the entire process much smoother.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=0761148574][amazon template=iframe image&asin=1561487171][amazon template=iframe image&asin=143917511X]