Six ways to get ready for parenthood.
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Get Ready For Parenthood
The arrival of a new baby is a time filled with love, happiness and joy between you and your partner. Avoid any major bumps in the road during those first few months as parents by asking yourselves a few tough questions and babyproofing your relationship as much as possible.
Divide and Conquer
We all have a tendency to think doing things our way is the best way but before you strap on your supermom cape, teach your partner your tricks for bathing baby, perfecting a swaddle and dusting the house in record time before you resent him for not helping out enough.
Make a list of your household-related chores and baby duties and begin doing the work now, so that you've got a routine started before the big day. If you can swing it, try booking a cleaning service for the first month or so (or ask for it as a shower gift!) to get a break from household chores and save yourself a silly argument or two.
Once you have the baby, change up your jobs every so often to make sure you're both comfortable doing each task and be sure to thank each other for a job well done. Check in every so often to see what's working and if you need to make any adjustments to your routine.
Talk About Sex
It may feel taboo to discuss your postpartum sex life, but it's an extremely important conversation to have before you're up to your knees in diapers. Although neither of you will know exactly what to expect in that department for the first few months after giving birth, discuss your concerns and fears before any resentment has a chance to seep in.
Having sex may be the last thing on your mind to do with a precious few minutes of free time, but try to find ways to communicate that and come up with a solution that will make you both happy. Mark down an evening alone on your calendar (in pen!) and take it slow to really enjoy your alone time together. If you aren't ready to go for it just yet, a few romantic gestures every now and then to remind your partner that you're still attracted to each other will go a long way.
Discuss Your Parenting Style
As fun as it is to register for your shower and decorate your baby's room together, carving out time to ask each other questions about the kind of parents you want to be should be the main focus of your pregnancy. Talk to each other, consult parents you admire and read up on your options to determine your ideal parenting style. Write down your goals as parents and some back-up plans for if your plan "A" hits any speed bumps a month or two in.
If you have time before your delivery, consider taking a parenting philosophy class that will go beyond teaching you to diaper and burp your baby. Learn more about them at rie.org.
Find a Pediatrician
Allow your partner to be just as involved as you are in finding your baby's doctor. Collect referrals from other parents, interview potential candidates and talk about the kind of pediatrician you both want. If you're able to determine how you want your doctor to handle certain health issues before they arise, there will be no need for concern if only one of you can make it to an appointment.
While you're researching potential doctors, read up on vaccinations and make sure you're in agreement about your baby's vaccination schedule. You can find the American Academy of Pediatrics immunization guidelines here to learn more.
Figure Out Feeding
Though the ultimate decision on whether to breastfeed or not will come from you, make sure your partner is in on the conversation so that a dad-to-be won't hear the word "nursing" and expect a free pass.
Outline some duties you'll each have surrounding mealtime, if you decide to breastfeed exclusively for the first few months, think of a few ways to involve your partner (i.e. bringing baby to you in the middle of the night and changing diapers).
Consult the Numbers
You may or may not have thought about your baby budget before conceiving, but getting it all down in detail will help solidify your finances and allow you to get a good grasp on everything.
Ask yourselves exactly what your spending habits are, especially when it comes to nonessential items, and focus on what you can live without. Talking money can be overwhelming for a couple but if you break it into small segments from diapers to life insurance you should be able to paint a clear, and less scary, picture of your future.
Instead of going out and spending money for a sitter, take advantage of the new parents in your birthing classes or breastfeeding seminars and get together with your babies to socialize and swap stories. You'll feel less stressed and more comfortable with parents going through the same things as you are and if you're lucky, your kids will have a group of playmates from the very beginning.