You’re having a baby! That’s exciting news! Pregnancy is a whirlwind of baby showers, pedicures, gifts, doctor’s appointments, classes and scans.
After all that, when you find yourself snuggling with the master of snugglers – your tiny, unbelievably precious baby- you’ll enter into a whole new whirlwind. Welcome to the messy, exhausting work of caring for a newborn.
Pregnancy and the postpartum period bring hormonal mood shifts and sleep deprivation, both of which can cause irritability and short tempers. The best time to have the conversation with your partner about your feelings, thoughts, values, and plans is before baby’s arrival. Having a newborn at home is an extremely vulnerable and emotional time, and setting up a holistic care plan before her birth day can help you and your partner wade into the world of parenting on the right foot .
You’ve read books. You’ve spent late nights googling. Even still, are you ever really ready?
It’s ok to feel that way! It’s a learning process and you can get started ahead of time.
This list of questions will encourage conversation between you and your partner as you anticipate this huge life event.
It’s a learning process. But you can prepare:
- Grab paper and pen.
- Put your thinking cap on.
- Set judgement aside.
- Prepare for a disagreement or two.
- Figure out what’s going to work best for you both.
Download the following questions to your phone and keep the discussion going
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Discussions about labor
What essential items do we want to have available during labor?
Who will we notify when labor begins. How? (call, text, social media)
How will we use electronics in labor? (apps, devices, phone usage)
How will we track and time contractions at home?
At what point in labor will we go to the hospital?
Will music or sound therapy be part of labor?
Where are our thoughts on where in the room everyone should be during the delivery?
Should we document the birth with photos or video or both?
What specific pressure or massage techniques for pain relief can be applied?
Thoughts on medicated labor?
What medication options will we have available?
What words will we use to communicate that medication is necessary?
What type of support will be most effective when the going gets tough?
Under what circumstances should labor-inducing medical intervention be considered?
Bloomlife sponsored this post because there is no ‘right’ way to have a baby and they believe better information helps parents make the best decision for them
Discussions about delivery
Will we hire a birth doula?
What are our thoughts on a hospital vs. birthing center vs. home birth?
What differences between midwife vs.OBGYN delivery philosophies should we consider when choosing?
Who will be present for delivery?
Do we agree on standard newborn hospital procedures (eye ointment, vitamin k shot, hep b vaccine, first washing, etc.)?
When being given news that is outside of our delivery plan, whose opinion do we value most?
Who will communicate on mom’s behalf if necessary?
In the event of the need for an intervention, know that you and your partner can and should discuss these medical questions with your care providers.
Is this an emergency, or do we have time to wait?
What are the benefits or advantages of doing this?
What are the risks or disadvantages?
If we do this, what other treatments or procedures might be needed as a result?
What else could we try first or instead?
What would happen if we waited before deciding?
Discussions about support
Do we want visitors at the hospital?
Who, if anyone do we want to stay overnight?
Will we hire a postpartum doula?
Who will help with cesarean recovery, if necessary?
How soon are we comfortable with having visitors at home? Will we have ‘guidelines’ for visitors, i.e. handwashing, Tdap, length of visits, etc.?
What expectations can we set with friends and family about when to visit and for how long?
Would it be helpful to have visitors help with household upkeep?
Discussions about postpartum strategies
Where can mom and newborn comfortably spend most of their time?
What meals can be made ahead of time for the postpartum period?
What resources do we know of for postpartum care professionals?
What are the early warning signs of postpartum mental illness?
Will we call our healthcare provider if there is concern about postpartum mental illness?
How can we find and contact a lactation consultant if needed?
What symptoms cause concern during physical recovery?
Discussions about baby care
What are our thoughts about breastfeeding?
Thoughts on breastfeeding in public?
Will we share responsibility for nighttime feedings?
How can we acquire a breast pump?
Will we introduce a bottle? If so, when?
Where will baby sleep?
What are our thoughts about co-sleeping?
How can we co-sleep safely?
How comfortable are we with a friend or family member taking care of the baby?
Discussions about intimacy
What demonstrations of love and affection are most appreciated?
Is there a space at home that can be used for some time alone?
How comfortable are we talking about physical recovery and concerns about healing?
Brainstorm and discuss any other questions that are specific to you. Don’t let a long list of questions intimidate you- break it up, and talk about a few things every few days. Thankfully, pregnancy (typically) gives us almost a year to prepare ourselves. Reflect, and don’t be afraid to change your mind about how you really feel about something that may seem unconventional.
Get ready now. Parenting is hard and the first few weeks will be a blur. But with good, solid communication, your relationship and your sanity will remain intact. It does get easier!
This is your family. Create it in a way that works for you.
Bloomlife sponsored this post because they know the best start comes from having at least some of the answers.