There's a reason growing a human being takes a whole nine months – there's a lot of planning and decision-making to be done. Once you've chosen your health care provider and created a birth plan, it's time to focus on parenthood. What kind of parents will you and your partner be? Make your transition to motherhood as smooth as can be by considering these important questions to help you plan for the future:
How will you feed your little one?
Will you breastfeed or formula feed? While each has its unique benefits, the World Health Organization recommends mothers nurse their little ones until the age of 2. This one's a really personal decision and with supply issues and surprise pains, it can be tough to stick to. But making the commitment now – while you're still pregnant – will set you up for nursing success once baby arrives. On the other hand, if you choose to formula feed, making the call now will help you plan financially, as formula can cost a pretty penny.
What kind of diapers will you use?
Are you a disposable family or cloth? There's nothing easier than throwing away a dirty diaper, but sending 7-10 of them to the landfill each day can really affect your carbon footprint, not to mention your shrinking wallet. By choosing cloth diapers over disposable, you can save roughly $600 each year. The down side to cloth, of course, is that you'll be doing more laundry – and disposing of your baby's waste with your own two hands.
Where will your baby sleep?
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to room-share with their babies for the first six months. Placing your little one in a bassinet beside your own bed can help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome by as much as 50 percent. However, with the right safety precautions, many experts claim sharing a bed with your son or daughter poses no additional risks – and promotes better bonding. Yet, some parents choose to keep their room sacred, establishing a strict bedtime routine that has baby asleep in his or her own room.
What child care is best for you?
Will you place your child in daycare or bring a nanny into your home? Will you or your partner put your career on hold to stay at home with your little one? Taking your finances and specific career situation into account, take some time to decide what's best for you, your partner and your baby. Maybe you'll go part-time at work and have your partner work from home one day a week. Between grandparents and siblings, you may have free childcare covered.