A lot of things will change once your baby arrives. You’ll feel zonked. You’ll spend a lot of time thinking about poop. And you’ll learn to dissect the nuances of a cry with the precision of sonar. Another big change: You’ll feel as if you have a meaningful conversation with your partner about once every two years.
That’s why it’s especially important to take some time to talk to your partner about the parenting and life strategies that you’ll use for your newborn—before he or she is born. Why? When you’re tired, stressed or angry, it can be hard to talk through sometimes-difficult issues to get at the heart of what you both want as parents. Here are some of the meaningful conversations we suggest you have well before your delivery date.
1. What kind of pediatrician do we want?
Both of you should be involved in the picking of a baby doc. That means getting references from other parents, interviewing possible doctors and talking about what kind of pediatrician you want, in terms of how he or she handles health issues or how the office is run (which may be very important if both of you will be responsible for taking the child in for sick visits amid work schedules).
Nothing says you can’t change pediatricians if you don’t mesh well after a few visits, but before you make a decision, talk to your partner about what qualities are important.
2. How do we feel about vaccines?
Few hotter buttons exist than the one surrounding the issues of vaccines. There are so many stances and so many nuances to the issues that we find many parents just haven’t talked through how they feel about them.
While the issues are much too complicated to try to outline here, we recommend you do your homework and talk things out. For the record, we do believe in following the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines.
3. How will we feed our infant?
There’s no doubt that mom is going to take the lead on the decision to nurse or not. (We do recommend breastfeeding , but understand that it’s not always the best option for everyone.) But sometimes dads hear the word “nursing” and assume they get a free pass to watch the Cubs during all baby meals. That’s why it’s important to outline expected duties for both of you, i.e., if mom is feeding every couple of hours for the first three months, dad can bring baby to mom in the middle of the night.
4. What will our sex life be like post-baby?
We know that many couples want to talk about sex about as much as they want to discuss dirty kitchen grout. but the reality is that you have no idea how you’re going to feel for the first few months after giving birth—physically and emotionally. And it’s worth both of you just saying that. That way, there are no crossed signals or bruised egos when one person craves some affection and the other person wants two minutes of peace when the baby is sleeping.
It’s just the reality of transitioning to a life with another very special person in it, and the more that you can communicate on the front end, the healthier your relationship will be for the long haul.