We fill you in on what you and your guy need to discuss before baby makes his grand entrance.
If there is one thing predictable about parenting, it’s that it’s unpredictable. My best friend was all about letting babies cry themselves to sleep—until she actually had a baby and couldn’t stand the sound of her little guy wailing. (He’s now 3 and still sleeping with her.) And I never dreamed that I would be the disciplinarian, but that’s definitely the role I play in our family (as opposed to my hubby’s “nice guy” demeanor).
No matter how prepared you think you are for parenthood, you don’t really know what type of parent you’re going to be until your baby becomes a living, breathing part of your family. (Although strangely, most non-parents seem to have a clear view of how it should be done.)
Parenting is all about being able to go with the flow and change your tune when necessary. However, there are some things that really need to be discussed before the big day so you and your guy don’t have to duke it out in the delivery room. Having these important discussions ahead of time will get you closer to being prepared for early parenthood.
The circumcision debate.
Some parents have a clear view of where they both stand on circumcision, whether it’s for religious reasons or simply personal preference. But with a growing number of parents opting out of this procedure for their sons, it’s an important discussion to have before the baby comes along. You can find support for both sides, so what it really comes down to is what’s right for you and your family. Talk about it, do some research and make a decision—because this is one cut there’s no going back on.
Delivery room guests.
If there’s one thing no woman in labor needs, it’s an unexpected—and unwanted—face in the delivery room. A lot of people are OK with a roomful of friends and family and others prefer to keep it private—whatever works for you, make sure it works for your hospital or birthing center, too. (You don’t want to show up with five coaches only to discover your hospital has a limit of two guests.)
You should also make your wishes regarding delivery clear to those it might affect—if you want your mom to be present for the birth but not your MIL, have your partner gently ensure that his mom knows of your plans. Same goes if you have a best friend, sister or other family member who might assume you’re allowing an open door policy. You don’t want any surprises—or fights—when you’re trying to push a baby into the world.
Welcome home parties.
Another time your husband or partner might have to step in to do a little crowd control is during the first weeks home from the hospital. It can be a tough time, particularly if you have family that will be coming in from out of town—you want everyone to have an opportunity to meet the newest member of the family, but you also need time to rest and bond as a mom-dad-baby team. If any grandparents or friends are traveling from out of town, have them make plans to stay elsewhere just in case you’re not up for constant company, and talk to your guy about fielding visitors for you until you feel ready to do the meet and greet. If you have no problem with your in-laws stopping by but want to keep the neighbors at bay for a bit, make sure your partner knows ahead of time who gets the green light and who you would rather put off seeing for a few days or weeks.
Spare the rod?
It will be quite some time before discipline becomes an issue, but it’s still an important conversation to have before the baby comes home. If you’re a time-out fan or a believer in corporal punishment, it’s good to find out where your partner stands as well, so you can be united and not have any, “You did what?!” moments. Believe it or not, that innocent baby you’re growing will soon have a mind of his own—and you’ll be ready to teach and encourage him if you and your guy know how you plan to respond to normal acts of baby disobedience.