Child Planning: 5 Decisions to Make Before You Have Your First

close up shot of baby's foot

The decision to have a child is the biggest decision that a couple will make. Here are five important things to consider before you bring home your bundle of joy.

Parenting Style

An online search or bookstore shelf read will show you quickly how many different parenting styles are out there. Parenting, like relationships of all kinds, is a completely unique experience heavily dependent on the people involved. But some archetypes have emerged. One approach is the Tiger Mom/Dad style which pushes children of all ages to stay busy, to take classes and to perform masterfully, with little downtime. Another approach is much more laid back, allowing children to learn and be at their own pace. Consider your and your partner’s personalities when deciding how to parent your child. Be sure that you are on the same page with regard to discipline and things like co-sleeping vs. crib sleeping.

To Work or Not To Work

Take time to decide whether or not you will work after the baby is born, if staying home is an option. If one parent decides to be a stay-at-home parent, discuss how finances will be handled when there’s only one paycheck coming in. If both parents must go to work, decide who you want to take care of your child when you’re away.

Nutrition

One of the most stressful aspects of brand new parenting is breastfeeding. For those who decide to use this natural method of feeding a child, partner support is invaluable. But the decision to breastfeed should be discussed in tandem, although the bottom line is that only one parent has to perform the task. Consider the amount of time you will have, if you are returning to work, and how you will handle night time feedings. Breastfeeding can have many nutritional, psychological, and cognitive benefits for you and your newborn; These same benefits are not available with formula. Breastfeeding as long as you can is recommended. Using a pump is an option if you are a working mom. Whatever your breastfeeding choice is, it is also important not to judge those who choose not to breastfeed. There are several occasions when it is too painful for a mother, or the child has a difficult time with the initial latching.

Making a House a Home

One big decision on the plate of many first-time parents is where to raise your child. If you are able to buy a house, where will you settle down? If you decide to start from scratch, you can build and control the quality of your new home and surrounding yard for the benefit of the child. If you plan to continue renting, do you need to find a bigger place or one with more amenities for when the baby is older?

Splitting the Workload

One priceless decision to make before a child is born is how parents plan to divide the workload at home. A new baby creates a lot more work between spitting up, blowing out, and filling up, you’re likely to have a lot more laundry and dishes– not to mention other unforeseen tasks.

Earnest Parenting: help for couples thinking about becoming parents.

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