Your child's pediatrician will become an integral part of your life during the first few years of parenthood, so it's important to give real thought to who will fill this role. Many of us spend more time shopping for groceries than choosing a doctor, typically relying on a friend's reference or convenient location, but by researching medical practices, you can find a pediatrician that works best for you.
"We typically have parents-to-be who come in a month or two before their baby is born. The appointments usually last for about a half-hour and we generally schedule them at the end of the day so parents have a chance to talk and see how the office runs," explains Borgenicht. "This is a great chance to get to know a doctor and understand his or her style and opinions. You have the luxury of time at this point to shop around and select the pediatrician who best fits your needs."
Childcare for Siblings
If you have other children, you'll need to plan a strategy for their care during and around the birth. Who will watch them while you are in labor? Are they old enough to come to the hospital or birth center or should they stay at home with a grandparent? Who will take them to school?
"Expectant parents should definitely discuss their 'after baby' plans—who will help with the baby after the birth, the extent of maternity/paternity leave, if friends and family will help, who will work and/or who won't, and so on. It's good to be as concrete as possible while still maintaining the aforementioned need for flexibility," explains Fay. Include your children in this discussion, so they become comfortable with the new childcare situation and know what to expect.
The Division of Labor
One area of conflict that often arises shortly after the birth of a baby is when one partner feels overwhelmed and discontented with his or her spouse's share of the workload. A new mom might feel her husband isn't helping out enough with the baby, while a husband may see a messy house as a sign that his stay-at-home wife isn't working as hard as he is at his job. Often these hurt feelings and misunderstandings result from a lack of communication and conflicting expectations, making it important to plan out specific responsibilities and negotiate changes routinely in the coming months.
Parents-to-be can begin by creating a chart that delegates household chores and responsibilities and also allows each person some free time. Revisit this process as your child grows; there will always be a need to effectively delegate household tasks.