Why You Need to Talk About New Parental Roles Before Baby Arrives
When you first find out you're pregnant, there are probably a lot of things on your mind — when your due date is, how much your body is going to change, what you're going to name your baby. There are a lot of exciting changes to happen over the next 9+ months.
It's important to not only talk about what your pregnancy is going to be like, but you also need to make sure you're planning for when the baby actually arrives — yes, before your baby arrives. Just as you and your partner talk about baby names to come to a decision, you need to talk about your new parental roles and come to an agreement.
Communicating is always good when change is coming into a relationship, and in doing so beforehand, you and your partner will have fewer arguments due to assumptions when the baby does arrive and you're running on low to no sleep.
So, what should you talk about?
How will you feed the baby?
Talking with your partner about how you'll feed the baby before your baby arrives is very important. If you're going to breastfeed, or hope to, having your partner's support is key to your own personal success. If you're going to formula feed, talking about how the feeding will be broken up (will he take certain feeds over when you do) or if you're going to do a combination. Of course, things are subject to change and flux, but support before is important.
Diaper duty is on who?
My husband and I have an agreement that if he's home, he changes all the diapers. We came to this agreement before our baby was born, and it has stuck. It's nice for me since I'm home with the baby all day and I take on the task of feeding him, so this is his contribution. Even if baby needs a change right when he gets home from work, he's in the house — it's his job!
Wake ups in the middle of the night?
One of the hardest parts of new parenthood is the fact that you rarely ever get any sleep. My husband can sleep through a baby cry in a way I didn't even know was possible, but for us, that's OK, because it's my “job.” We talked about this before baby arrived, and while some nights I tap out and ask him to take over for a little while, the majority of it lies on me. I get to sleep in on Saturday morning and take a nap anytime I can through the weekend, which we also talked about and agreed on.
When new responsibilities come into the house (new baby), old responsibilities need to be renegotiated. Are the house chores and errands needing to be re-talked about to make sure it's fair for everyone with the new parental roles? Will someone else now be in charge of grocery shopping? It may seem trivial and small, but talking about it before baby comes, of course, with the ability to renegotiate, will help keep those small fights from happening.
What did you and your partner talk about before your baby arrived? Share in the comments!