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10 Things to Discuss with Your Partner Pre-Baby


There are so many ways to raise a child. Ideally you and your partner are mostly like-minded when it comes to your personal ideas and beliefs about child-rearing. But it's common for moms and dads to have different philosophies when it comes to bringing up Junior.

What's important is that you discuss your preferences and come to a resolution or compromise if there are areas where you have differences of opinion. Here are 10 parenting biggies that you can and should discuss with your partner before the baby arrives.

1. Religion

a dad holding his baby

What, if any, religion would you like to raise your baby? Even if you and your partner are of the same faith, don't assume you're on the same page about religion and your baby. Your partner might want your family to be more or less involved in the organization than you do. Discussing it openly will help you both understand how religion will play a role in your baby's upbringing.

2. Breastfeeding

a mom and dad kissing their baby

If you're planning on breastfeeding, you might think there's nothing to discuss with your partner; after all, you're the one with the goods. But there are many ways to nurse a baby, and your intended approach might not be what your partner had in mind. For example, an exclusively-breastfeeding mama might be great for baby, but a partner who never gets to feed his or her little one might start to feel left out. If this is the case, talk about how your partner can be included, maybe by giving a daily bottle of pumped milk.

3. Midnight Feedings

a mom holding her newborn baby in her bed

What's your plan for tackling those midnight meal requests? Talk to your partner about how often you'd like s/he to get up with your baby. It might be helpful to work out a nighttime signal — like a tap on the shoulder — to wordlessly communicate who's up when you're both too bleary-eyed to speak.

4. Returning to Work

a dad doing some work while holding his baby in a sling

Whether you've always dreamed of being a stay at home mom or if you're all about leaning in, you need to discuss the post-maternity leave options with your partner. Maybe he's hoping to be a stay at home dad. Maybe part-time work is a possibility for one of you. Whatever the plan, a new baby usually means spending on childcare or less income coming in, so you need to discuss a budget adjustment at the very least!

5. Childcare

two young toddlers playing at child care

(you had to get on those daycare wait lists after all!). But even moms who are planning on staying at home might be interested in occasionally getting a babysitter. What are your partner's concerns when it comes to who cares for baby? Is it up to you to find and vet the sitter, or does s/he want to be involved as well? You might be surprised at the response!

6. Baby Sleep Philosophies

a mom sleeping with her baby in her bed

Don't wait until your partner brings home a crib to tell s/he about your dreams of co-sleeping. If cry it out makes you feel ill, speak up now. How, when, and where your baby sleeps is huge, and something that really affects both of you. Talk it out now while you're still both relatively well-rested.

7. Baby Budgets

a baby sitting on a bed with a piggy bank

Raising your little one can cost you an arm and a leg, or you can aim to keep baby from busting your budget. Sit down with your partner and really talk through the next few years (or at least months) of baby expenses. Determine what's important to you both when it comes to purchasing baby gear and clothes: does it need to be top of the line, or is gently used more your style? What about activities and classes? Some parents put value on paying for baby and me yoga and music classes, others not so much. Find out where your other half stands on these and other big budget items for baby.

8. Public vs. Private School

a young boy looking excited sitting in front of a chalk board with the letters ABC written on it

While it's not urgent, a discussion about what type of school you'd prefer your little one attend isn't something you should put off until Junior is on the cusp of kindergarten. Private schools tend to be expensive and require some financial planning and sacrifices to start now. If you're particular about which public school you attend, you might need to move to get into your preferred school district. Your partner may or may not share your same concerns, though, so start schooling yourself on his or her educational values now.

9. Baby #2

a young couple hugging in a park

No need to chisel a future family plan in stone here, but it can help to know where your partner stands on the next child before the one you're currently baking arrives. (Your OB or midwife will certainly be curious when she sees you for your six-week postpartum exam and wants to know what you're thinking for birth control!). The age distance between kids could affect your decision to return to work, real estate choices, and even the size of car you buy. Of course sometimes actively planning the timing of kids can backfire. But it's still worth a quick check-in with your partner to see what s/he is thinking.

10. Grandparent Involvement

a grandad holding up his grandson

Sad but true: you and your partner might not agree on how much you want the grandparents involved in your baby's life. Aim for a gentle, fair conversation about the role of your parents and your in-laws well before baby arrives. You will probably need to revisit this topic throughout your baby's childhood, so easy does it.

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