Are you baby ready? (Is anyone?)
Author: The Simple Bit
Category: Short Cuts
No one ever said becoming a parent is easy. But we do believe it can be made easier with a little foresight and planning.
The simple bits:
- It’s OK to be nervous
- No one’s ever absolutely definitely completely 100% ready to be a parent
- We go over some priorities you should address to be as ready as humanly possible
Depending on who you’re listening to, there’s either about to be a pandemic baby boom, or maybe a baby drought. But whatever the case, babies are an amazing way to improve your Instagram feed. But beyond the clicks, are you ready to actually raise a child? It’s one of the most daunting questions we’ll ever ask ourselves. Now more than ever.
It’s also kind of misleading. Because the truth is that no one’s ever 100% ready to become a parent, pandemic or not. There will always be a little fear, and that’s only natural. With the right planning, however, you can get pretty close.
We’ve broken down some of the biggest factors you should consider when preparing to start a family.
Eating for 1.5
It might sound obvious (or maybe it doesn’t), but sometimes it can take a while to fall pregnant. There are a lot of things that are out of your control. But one thing that you can control is your diet. There are the things you should eat – foods high in protein like lean meat, dairy, legumes and high fibre foods like wholegrain breads, oats and fresh fruit. Then there are things you should avoid, like raw seafood or prepackaged salads. For more info, read the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, and click here to see the guide to pregnancy and eating from the Better Health Channel.
Managing your work-life balance as a parent is arguably the hardest bit, even with remote working becoming more common.
Check in with your boss and have a look at your employment contract to figure out what sort of parental leave arrangements are available to you.
Remember that, according to Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) , all employees in Australia are entitled to parental leave. There are some ifs and buts though, so take a look at the FWO website for a comprehensive checklist.
It’s also not just a matter of when you return to work, but how you’ll return to work. It’s a good idea to set some clear expectations with your boss about this. It’s worth considering whether you’d like to come back part time or on some other kind of flexible working arrangement.
Importantly, parental leave is available to employees “when a child is born or adopted”. So just because neither you nor your partner are giving birth to the child, that doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to parental leave (providing the adopted child is under 16 years old).
All about networking
Aside from the formal support you’re entitled to from your workplace, it’s a good idea to think about the “informal” support available to you as well. We’re talking about friends and family, of course!
Establishing and maintaining respectful and supportive relationships with your friends and family during this time isn’t just vital for your own mental and physical wellbeing; it has a profound impact on your child as well. Because the way you interact socially can show your child how they can act and behave with others and how other people will behave in return.
Insuring for two
It’s a good time to go over your health insurance policy to work out exactly what you (or your partner) are covered for. Your existing level of cover won’t necessarily include obstetrics and pregnancy-related services.
But if you want it to, hospital cover can pay towards services you receive in hospital during pregnancy and birth and allows you to enjoy the advantages of going private. You just need to make sure you serve the 12-month waiting period before your due date and that you’re aware of important things like out-of-pocket costs.
You can still join extras cover to claim for things like pre & post-natal services including birthing courses. There may still be waiting periods, but most are less than 12 months.
And don’t forget to add bub to your policy once they’ve entered the world!
Room for one more?
Is your current home big enough and safe enough to accomodate a child? Relocating is a tough but sometimes necessary decision. Budget, obviously, is a limiting factor here — as is proximity to your support network and your (or your partner’s) job.
Canvass your options. Consider things like: price; space for your baby’s cot, clothes, toys etc; length of commute; proximity to your babysitters of choice and key support people; and suitability for baby-proofing. Which brings us to the next point…
In terms of safety, there are some no-brainers — like, don’t leave armed bear traps on the floor. But not all child-proofing tips are obvious. Did you know it’s a good idea to place stickers on glass doors and windows at a child’s eye level to prevent a nasty accident?
Some of won’t become relevant until your child is grown up enough to walk (and run about five minutes later!), but planning for the long term will set you up for success, so start thinking sooner rather than later about how you’ll make your home child friendly.