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Tips for Preparing for Parenthood

While there is no way to be 100 percent prepared for this life change, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier. Knowing what to expect can help you feel less scared.

By
JJ Watt, Partner
4-minute read

Whether you have always wanted to be a parent or your pregnancy is a shock for you, it is a life changing moment to learn you will have a new family member arriving. You might have mixed feelings, ranging from fear to joy. While there is no way to be 100 percent prepared for this life change, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier. Knowing what to expect can help you feel less scared.

Consider the financial aspects of things

Now is the time to begin saving for your new family member. Before the child arrives, you need to have an emergency fund established. Once you have a child, it is even more critical to have these funds since you are not only supporting yourself. The fund can cover unexpected expenses, like car repairs or illnesses.

You’ll also want to save for additional costs, like food, diapers, and medical expenses. If one of the parents is taking paternity or maternity leave, there might not be as much income coming in. Of course, you will still want to save for the future and ensure you have a great retirement fund.

If you don’t have enough money to cover these expenses, you have some options. One would be to consider taking out a personal loan from a private lender. That’s especially true if you are facing medical expenses you are unable to afford.

There are low interest personal loans to help you cover these costs.

Do your research now

Whether you are carrying the baby, adopting, using a surrogate, or adding to your family in a different way, there are ways to feel involved with the process before the baby arrives. There are newsletters, online groups, and books for expectant mothers or fathers. Educate yourself on all aspects of the process.

For example, if your significant other is pregnant, learn about common pregnancy symptoms, such as heartburn or morning sickness. Once you know what they are going through, you can support them better. Once the baby has arrived, understanding what to expect will make the process easier for everyone. If you do not know how to care for an infant, consider attending classes for new parents, where you can learn everything from how to change a diaper to caring for a sick baby.

Become healthier

This is a great time to focus on your health, especially if you are or will be the one carrying the baby. For instance, if you drink or smoke, it is best to quit before becoming pregnant. Even if you are not pregnant, it is best to avoid habits such as smoking. These habits might increase the risk of health issues once the child is in the home.

This is also a great time to begin eating well while ensuring you get enough sleep. If you start to eat well, you will be better able to fuel the long days and nights to come. Even if you just make a few smaller changes, you’ll still see the benefits. It is also best to establish a set sleep schedule. It will be harder to get enough sleep with an infant in the house, and you will thank yourself later if you go into parenthood well rested.

Communicate with the other parent

This is a great time to talk to your significant other about what type of parent you would like to be. For example, perhaps one has decided to stay home to care for the new child. Having support from the other is critical. Or perhaps you have decided to place the infant in a separate room while you sleep. 

Of course, talking about these things now does not mean they are set in stone. Once the baby is here, you might have different feelings. Perhaps you will decide you do not want to use cloth diapers or decide to put the child in daycare instead of staying home with them. However, by starting the conversation now, you’ll have more open lines of communication, allowing you to both be on the same page.

Working as a team while raising a child will be more important than ever. Even if your relationship with the co-parent does not continue, the two of you and the baby are now linked together for the rest of your lives. Think of yourselves as a team instead of consistently trying to compete with each other. Remember, helping out around the house, feeding the child, or even just checking in on the other parent each day will help you care for the family.

Prep work

Before the new family member arrives, there is a lot to do. Whether it is saving money, looking into childcare, or preparing a space, there is plenty both people can do to prepare for the baby. Some people enjoy all of these aspects, but others might find they are suited to specific tasks. Still, with so much to do, there is a way for everyone to get involved. For example, you might start researching insurance or childcare. A few other things to do could include:

  • Attending parenting classes with your partner
  • Looking at the different formulas and baby carriers
  • Learning how to use car seats
  • Preparing the new family member’s room by painting or getting furniture
  • Packing the overnight bag for the hospital
  • Looking into maternity or paternity leave
  • Preparing a bag to take to the hospital

Sharing the responsibilities

There will be many more work involved once the baby has arrived, so both parents need to work together to get everything done. Consider sharing responsibilities for changing diapers, reading to the baby, and giving baths. Try supporting the other parent by bringing them snacks and drinks and split the household chores evenly.

When it comes to rest at night, there are several ways of doing so, and you might need to do some experimentation before finding the right approach. However, everyone needs to be getting enough sleep. You can try taking naps, sleeping in shifts, or just splitting up the responsibilities, allowing the other person to rest. Do whatever you can to ensure everyone has enough chances to sleep.