Having a baby is life-changing and there’s a lot to think about, plan and prepare for. From your lifestyle to your finances, every aspect of your life will be impacted when you bring a new baby home.
If you’re preparing for a baby, the following tips and advice will help your transition to parenthood.
One of the best things about living in Australia is that care in a public hospital is free, covered by Medicare, and the public health system is excellent. If you already have private health insurance, or you are considering taking it out before you get pregnant, there are a few benefits of doing so. With private health, you are entitled to obstetrical care with doctors who have specialised training in pregnancy care and delivery. You can choose your own specialist, and you’ll see the same person throughout the pregnancy. With private health, you’re also more likely to get your own room after baby is born.
If you are planning on getting pregnant, keep in mind that most insurance companies have a 12-month waiting period before you can claim pregnancy expenses. Check your policy and make changes well in advance.
While most General Practitioners can provide your baby with general care after birth, a paediatrician is specifically trained to deal with babies. They often sub-specialise in different ages, development categories or health issues that could impact your child’s growth and development. For example, paediatric cardiologists specialise in babies who have heart problems.
Whether you have been told there could be an underlying health issue with your unborn child, or you would simply prefer to be prepared, it’s a good idea to start looking for a paediatrician between 28 weeks and 34 weeks gestation, rather than after baby arrives. Do your research, call and ask questions, book an appointment, and make sure you feel comfortable with them because then your baby is likely to feel comfortable as well.
Whether you’re preparing for your first child, or baby number six, your finances are going to be affected. According to Finder.com, raising a child costs over $150,000 from birth until the age of 18 years. And that’s not even including private school or university fees!
To prepare for parenthood and the extra expenses, start by checking with your employer to see what your parental leave entitlements are and see if you are also entitled to the Government’s paid parental leave. You could receive other government benefits, such as the family tax benefit. Every dollar counts.
Next, consider the expenses you’ll have ongoing. Create a budget that covers all your pregnancy expenses, furniture and clothes for your bub, childcare, ultrasounds expenses if required, and so on. Pay off your existing debts, and be financially savvy! Keep in mind that if you have backup finances for emergencies, such as a credit card, use it wisely. It can certainly come in useful for furniture and clothes you might need, but don’t spend more than you can afford to pay back. Using an instalment plan, like Plan ItTM, for repayments is a great idea to keep you on track.
One thing that surprises new parents is how much your life changes. Before you try to fall pregnant, start kicking your bad habits out the window. If you’re a smoker, quit. If you binge drink, it’s time to give it up. Overweight? It’s never too late to start exercising and eating better. You increase your chances of a healthy baby if you live a healthier lifestyle.
After your child is born, they’re going to want ALL your attention and the better you prepare yourself mentally for these changes, the easier it will be once baby arrives.
Now thatyou have a better understanding of how to prepare for parenting, it’s time toget your support network sorted. This will help you to get through the lifestyle changes as well. A lot of people find themselves feeling lost andalone during pregnancy, childbirth and the first few months after their baby isborn. Your support network will not only help you through mentally andemotionally, but also physically.
A LOT OF PEOPLE FIND THEMSELVES FEELING LOST AND ALONE DURING PREGNANCY… DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP.
Try not to isolate your friends and family, ask your parents for advice or assistance where possible, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you don’t know anyone locally, try joining a mother’s group for social support. And remember, if youare struggling and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, talk to your GP – according to HealthDirect.gov.au, about 1 in 7 new mums are diagnosed with postnatal depression. It is treatable and it doesn’t make you “a bad mum”.
Finally, it’s time to get your home ready and that means carrying out any essential repairs on the home before baby arrives, as well as baby-proofing. Check that all your electricals are in working order and that there are no issues with your plumbing system. If you have concerns about mould in the home, call a specialist to come and take a look for you and to complete a mould remediation if required.
Other considerations include installing baby gates at the top and bottom of staircases or at the doors of rooms considered unsafe for free play. You can also install a ceiling fan in your nursery (this can actually decrease the risk of SIDS by 72% according to this study) and add safety latches to your cupboards if you’re upgrading your kitchen and bathrooms. Expectant parents might even look at replacing your flooring, particularly if it's cracked or uneven.
Starting a family is natural, but there’s a lot to think about. Use the above tips and the transition should be a lot smoother for everyone.