I feel like becoming a parent has included more decision making than ever before! And they are important decisions since it now involves your child. I currently have a one year old and a baby on the way. I am one tired Mama but I have more decisions to make!
Now that I have been through the process of being pregnant and bringing home new baby once before, I feel slightly prepared for round two. Here are some important decisions that you can talk through with your partner:
- Do you want to find out the gender at 20 weeks or wait until the birth? I found out the gender with my first pregnancy. My 20 week point happened to fall on my birthday and I thought it would be such a fun gift to find out if I was having a boy or girl. With my second pregnancy, I haven't yet decided if I will wait to find out. I think it would be a fun surprise but I don't know if I can wait that long!
- What level of visiting are you comfortable with when new baby arrives? A lot of friends and family will want to visit and meet new baby. Talk with your partner about how many visitors you want because it can be overwhelming. If you are being asked what gifts you would like, check out these 5 creative gift ideas for new moms. or you can check out Babylist which is a huge online registry.
- Who will you call to help watch your little ones or pets once you go into labor? Do you have family near by that can be on call for when you go into labor? Let them know your due date and what kind of help you will need from them.
- Breastfeeding, formula or both? I exclusively breastfeed the first few months and then did both formula and breast milk for several months because my supply was low. Some women fear that if you start bottlefeeding at a young age, the baby will stop nursing. Many women, including myself, have successfully nursed and bottle fed.
- Baby Items to buy. This part was overwhelming for me. I didn't know what the heck we really needed and I didn't want to just go buy everything. Check out these 5 amazing baby products designed for safety and this newborn essentials list.
- Sleeping arrangements with new baby? Do you need a bassinet or crib? Are you going to co-sleep? Do you already have little ones that sleep near or with you? Try to figure out the new arrangement and what will work best for everyone. Check out these 15+ creative nursery theme ideas if you are needing some nursery inspiration. Need help getting your baby to sleep through the night? It is POSSIBLE! Check out this article on tips for getting baby sleeping through the night.
- Baby names. My husband and I both made our own lists of baby names and shared them with each other. We both had the same name on our lists so that's what we named our son. Start thinking of how you will decide on a name. This is a fun decision but a big one!
- Birth plan. When I took a tour at my hospital's birth center, they asked me what kind of birth I wanted and I had no idea. Some things to think about include - water birth, epidural or natural, aroma therapy? Be prepared for your birth plan to change because you never know what's going to happen.
- Maternity Leave. How long will you take off work? Start thinking about saving up PTO, filing a claim for short term disability for when you deliver, and saving for bills. Think about your return to work. Do you want to go back part time? Do you need more than 12 weeks?
- Childcare? Check out our recent article on how to choose the best provider for your child.
- Start thinking about your child's future. It is never too early to start planning for their future. I started planning before my child was even born. Check out this article on 5 meaningful things you can do now for their future.
If you are about to become a first time parent, you may be feeling overwhelmed and that is completely normal. There are A LOT of unknowns. Just take things one step at a time and know that there are tons of helpful resources out there to guide you through it. A lot of people may try to give you their opinion whether you asked for it or not. Make decisions that you and your partner are comfortable with. You don't have to do what anyone else says.
When I became a first time mom, I set my expectations based on what people told me and what I observed from other moms and I really disappointed myself. Because my expectations were unrealistic. I had moms tell me not to even buy formula and that I should exclusively breastfeed. Well, guess what - my milk supply was very low around 6 months and I had to buy formula to feed my baby. I continued to try nursing and pumping for months until I simply ran out. And that doesn't make me a bad mom. I learned a lot in my first year of motherhood.
Everyone's journey of motherhood looks different and yours is a unique one. Your instincts will kick in and you will do what is best for your family. Just remember to take care of yourself! If you don't have children yet, check out our recent post on 10 things to do before having kids.