Having a baby is a life-changing event. It can change the dynamics of a relationship, add extra stresses with work and finances, force the need to change aspects of the home, as well as open up a whole new world of parent’s clubs, new friends, and make new parents consider things they had never thought of before.
Planning a family has changed; in fact, 72% of adults without children have delayed (or considered delaying) having a child since March 2020. With demographic changes over the last few years, including people living and working longer, and increased gender equality in the workplace, increasingly people are putting off having families. According to a study by Forbes, the average age of motherhood is 31.
All would-be-parents, whether first-timers or those adding to their family, need to ensure they are ready for their new arrival.
1. Preparing Finances
This is one of the most important aspects to have in place before baby’s arrival. It is estimated that raising a child from birth to 18 costs around £253,638, and that’s before even considering colleges, additional tuition, and hobbies. Where possible, expectant parents should be looking at their finances early on, cutting down credit card debt and creating a budget, saving where possible.
Both parents should seek out advice from their HR departments to see what parental leave they may be entitled to, and whether this is paid or unpaid. It is worth planning who will take time off and when, and what childcare requirements will be needed. It is also well advised to get life insurance and prepare a will to ensure that there is financial security should the worst happen.
2. Involve the Family
For growing families, any existing children need to be involved in the preparation and planning for the new arrival. This will help reduce feelings of jealousy towards the baby when it becomes the new focus of attention. Older siblings can be involved in looking after baby, mainly with playtime but possibly feeding and dressing, depending on their level of maturity. This will help siblings bond with their new brother or sister and help strengthen the unity of the family unit.
Expectant parents can also find it useful to involve other family members, and even close friends. This will help them feel involved in this exciting life change and reduce the potential for loneliness and isolation once baby arrives.
3. Baby-Proofing the House
A child-free home may not be the safest environment for a new baby, so steps will need to be taken to ensure it is free of hazards. New parents should look at fitting child locks to doors, drawers, windows, and cupboards to ensure that when baby starts crawling, they aren’t able to inadvertently open something they shouldn’t. A baby gate is a great way to keep baby away from hazards like stairs and fireplaces.
When a baby starts crawling, it will also start trying to pull itself upright using anything it can find. This means securing items of furniture to the walls, like TVs and free-standing units. Generally, all plug sockets should be covered, all cables tied and out of reach, and all small objects tidied away.
4. Bringing Baby Home
The best thing to do is to be prepared. Have a baby pack ready to go to the hospital before the birth, so that baby can be dressed appropriately when leaving the hospital. Something simple is often best, without complicated bells and whistles that can distress baby, making for an easier journey and a more contented baby. Before leaving, parents should ensure they ask all the questions they have and leave knowing when baby’s next checkup is with the doctor.
As well as ensuring the house is safe, the car for the ride home must also be safe. This means having a suitable car seat for baby, properly installed in the car using the LATCH standard.