Having a baby is a massive step for any couple, and there is so much to do before you even think about throwing safe sex out the window and trying to conceive.
Where to begin?
Well, we suggest that before you get funky, you sit down with your partner and talk about these things..
Although just a starting point, these topics will help you figure out if your parenting styles are in line, and make sure you’re both on the same page before you embark on this life-changing experience. Here are 10 discussions you must have with your partner before you have kids.
1. Is it the right time?
Probably the most important question for you and your partner to go over prior to baby being conceived is this one. Is it really the right time?
There are many things that can create a sense of pressure to start a family, including friends having children and your own biological clock. Those things aside, it’s important to make sure that you and your partner are emotionally, mentally, physically and financially prepared for the undertaking.
2. What will you name them?
It’s usually pretty unusual for a couple to settle on a name that they both like for their child from the get-go. Much more common is that both people will bring their own ideas about naming to the table, and minor battles will ensue.
Often one partner will have a long-term hate of a name you love, or be totally attached to a name you would never consider. It can be a long process, so start early to avoid stress later.
3. Who cares for bubba?
Another super obvious question to get out of the way straight from the start involves being the primary carer for your child. Obviously, there needs to be some money coming into your home as income, but your child needs to be cared for during the day, so talk to your partner about who will be doing what.
It’s also worth discussing how nighttime feeding, caring and soothing will go, as whoever is home during the day with bubba also needs time to rest.
4. How will household work?
When there’s a baby in the house, everything seems to be twice the effort to get done, and it’s not fair or realistic to expect the primary baby carer to also handle all the housework just because they happen to be home.
Talk seriously with your partner about household chores before baby comes along, particularly if you’re planning to take the baby during the day and you do many of the chores already. You can’t do everything, so make a plan to keep your house running smoothly.
5. Will Mum breastfeed?
There’s a lot of societal pressure to breastfeed these days, with the motto of “Breast Is Best” becoming overwhelming for already stressed mums. That’s why it’s worth having a think from the start about what your thoughts are. It’s not a crime to choose formula from the beginning, but even if you are planning to breastfeed, you should talk with your partner about how they can support you through the process.
6. Where will baby sleep?
Not everyone believes in co-sleeping, but if you do, it’s important that your partner knows that. Having a baby in the bed, or very close by, can make late night breastfeeding much easier, but it can also hinder your romantic relationship, when that eventually starts up again. Talk through your reasoning with your partner, and allow them to have their say as well, before finding the middle ground.
7. Do it alone, or have help?
Some couples want nothing more than to take their baby home and relish the first few weeks in the company of their new little family.
Others feel that they want, or need, to have a bit of help from family and close friends in the early days. It’s important to talk about this before you embark on the baby journey because if you have different ideas, you’ll likely be in conflict when you should be supporting one another.
8. How will discipline work?
It can be difficult to think about how you might discipline a toddler, child or teenager when you don’t even have a baby, but a conversation on disciplinary styles is a worthwhile one to have.
This is particularly true when it comes to the topic of spanking as a form of discipline. Some people are totally against spanking, while others think it’s a worthwhile method. Figure out where you and your partner stand, and ensure you’re on the same page.
9. What about religion?
If you and your partner are religious, you’ll probably have some ideas about how you want your children to be raised and educated, and they should be the same.
If you aren’t religious, it might seem as though there’s no reason for you to talk about religion. However, it’s worth mentioning it because children sometimes develop an interest in religion, leaving mum and dad with a move to make. Decide what your response would be to something like that right from the start.
10. Are their expectations accurate?
Women are often much more informed about the process of having babies than their partners, often for no other reason than that other women talk about it on a regular basis.
It’s important that your partner is equally informed from the start of the process, so they can set accurate expectations. Make sure they know that sex might be off the table for some time as you recover, that both of you will be sleep deprived and frayed, and that life might be hard, the first few months in particular. The last thing you want is for them to expect parenthood to be a breeze!
What are some of the things you discussed before becoming a parent?