What to discuss with your partner before the birth

Make sure you're on the same wavelength by talking through these parenting issues before your baby arrives

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Doesn’t time fly? It probably only seems like just a few months ago that you and your partner both sat down and decided you wanted to have a baby.

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Now your little one is on its way and the decision-making is far from over. There are plenty of questions you still need to agree on as a couple and it’s best to do it now, partly because you won’t have time to think once your newborn arrives, and partly to avoid 
any awkward conversations (or outright bickering) further down the line when you’re both overtired (and tetchy).

Time to put the kettle on, turn your phones off and start asking yourselves…

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What about the crying?

How you’re going to react to your crying baby is hard to imagine right now, but it’s still a 
good idea to have a conversation about what approach you’re going to take. Lets face it, you will have to deal with tears at some point and there will even be times when you’ve tried everything to settle your baby, but she’s still crying. So how will you cope?

“The important thing to discuss is your partner’s support when your baby is crying,” says Denise Knowles, relationship expert on Pampers Village Parenting Panel. “This could be how you plan to share out dealing with your crying baby, such as making it a team effort as opposed to leaving it to the parent who is better at dealing with it,” says Lin Griffiths, practice manager of Relate for Parents.

There will probably be a lot of crying at bedtime,  so you and your partner need to work out whether you want to leave your baby to cry for certain periods of time, or whether you’ll rush to offer comfort at the first sign of tears. And, if there’s persistent crying at night who’s going to be the one to get up and deal with it?

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What will it all cost?

Yes, talking about money will never be fun (unless you’ve won the lottery of course!) but it’s important to get it sorted early on – as arguments about money are the most common disagreements between couples.

“First you need to check what financial help you’re entitled to and then you both need to sit down and work out your ingoings and outgoings (remember you’ll be on a lower maternity leave salary) and how you’ll manage what you’re left with,” says Denise.

“And be realistic – you can never prepare an exact budget each month as sometimes babies are unpredictable.” For example, she may have a sudden growth spurt so will 
need bigger-sized clothes.

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What about childcare?

If you’re planning to go back to work after your maternity leave, it’s essential to start talking about your plans now so you don’t put yourself under pressure later.

“The main areas to discuss are what hours you’ll do and who will look after your baby,” says Denise. “This could be a nursery, childminder or family but whatever you decide it has to be something you’re both comfortable with and confident about.”

“Ask yourselves, ‘who will we trust with our baby?’” says Lin. “And if you decide this is a nursery or childminder pay a visit together now so you know you’re both happy with it.”

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Family visits: how often?

Grandparents can play a big part in family life, but talk to your partner first about what both of you would like from your parents, such as how much you want to visit them and vice versa, and whether you want their help with childcare,” says Denise.

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You then need to ask each set of parents how much they want to be involved, explaining how much of a role you wish them to take. Whatever you decide, make sure you and your partner show a united front.

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