Like all major and life-changing undertakings, having a baby requires careful consideration and planning. With the arrival of your baby, it is no longer just you and your partner - a precious tiny being now depends on you.
Though tears, tragedy and family insurance are definitely far from your mind and you would just rather enjoy your baby, it is still best to be prepared for whatever life throws your way.
Here then are ten tips on how to prepare for before and after your baby’s arrival. These tips, from parenting styles to family insurance, will help you deal better with the multiple demands of parenthood, and make your new journey less bumpy and infinitely more enjoyable.
1. Agree on how to parent
Discuss with your partner if you will be hands-on mom and dad or if you will raise your child with the help of a relative or a nanny.
Talk about your finances and decide if both of you need to work or if you can afford to have one parent stay at home and look after the baby full time. With the myriad expenses that come with raising a child, it is important that you speak about savings and securing your family's future as well. Make sure you are on the same page.
Joint decisions and clear expectations lessen stress and arguments between couples.
2. Establish sleeping and feeding preferences
Your infant will feed a lot and will keep you up at all hours, especially in the first months, so it makes sense to keep him nearby rather than in a separate room.
Talk to your spouse and choose if you will practice co-sleeping or room-sharing, or if you will let your baby sleep in a crib in another room. Likewise, it’s important to decide early if you will breastfeed or rely on formula.
3. Get the necessary baby gear
Furnish your nursery with essentials such as a crib, dresser, changing table, undershirts and sleepers/pajama sets, mittens and booties, receiving blankets, diapers, wipes, diaper rash ointment or cream, bottles (if not breastfeeding), bottle brushes, bibs, burp cloths, and towels.
If breastfeeding, keep the following handy: breast pump, nipple cream, nursing bra, nursing pads, nursing pillow, and bottles for storing milk.
When traveling, it is convenient to have a stroller, car seat or baby carrier, plus a well-stocked diaper bag.
4. Visit the doctor regularly
Going to well-baby visits ensures that your baby is growing right and that he is in optimum health. Make sure that your little one gets all his vaccines as scheduled.
Bring up any concern or problem that you may have about your health and your baby’s and follow the doctor’s advice.
5. Insure your baby
Protect your child against high medical costs by getting him health insurance. The optimum time to it is while he is young and healthy. This will ensure that any new medical condition that subsequently develops will be covered.
If your baby was born on or after 1 March 2013, MediShield coverage will commence from date of birth. MediShield is designed to cover large hospitalisation bills for those who wish to seek treatment at restructured hospitals and be warded in B2 wards and below, which are shared and non-airconditioned wards.
If you prefer additional benefits on top of MediShield, you can purchase a Medisave-approved Integrated Shield plan from a private insurer. Integrated Shield plans offer higher insurance coverage that can cover treatment at private hospitals or stays in A/B1 wards in restructured hospitals, and typically have higher claim limits.
Take advantage of brilliant Integrated Shield plans, such as Aviva’s MyShield, which provides free medical cover for up to four of your children till age 20, if both parents are covered under the two higher plan options (MyShield Plan 1 or 2). The cost savings could be more significant than you imagine over the long term.
6. Eat right
According to Philippines- and USA-registered dietitian-nutritionist Cheshire Que, “A well balanced diet post-pregnancy should be composed of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean meat, seafood or poultry, low-fat dairy products and good fats.”
Que, who is the CEO of A List Professional Health Consulting Co., also asserts that breastfeeding combined with a well-balanced diet is the safest and most effective way to lose post-pregnancy weight.
7. Be physically active
Start with an easy fitness routine as soon as your doctor says it is safe to exercise. Que recommends ten minutes of brisk walking two to three times a day.
If you have been doing yoga or Pilates before you gave birth, continue your practice as soon as you get medical clearance, says Yanti Marduli, a yoga, Pilates and ballet instructor.
Increase the duration and frequency of your physical activity in the succeeding weeks and as you get stronger.
8. Get sufficient rest and sleep
You need to be alert and on your toes when looking after your baby, so take care of yourself and make sure you have regular breaks and relaxation time.
Lack of sleep can impair your judgment and make you impatient and irritable, which is likely to upset your infant.
9. Do things together
Share baby duties with your spouse. Let him burp or bathe the baby or give your little angel a stroller ride to the nearby park. You can also take turns changing nappies and waking up at night to feed and soothe the baby.
Document your parenting adventures and misadventures by taking pictures and videos and creating albums or scrapbooks.
To sustain that loving feeling, schedule dates and outings sans the baby every now and then. Couple-time need not be costly, and simple activities like taking a walk together or watching a romantic movie will keep you close and connected.
10. Plan the cost your child's tertiary education
Considering the escalating costs of education, it is never too early to set aside funds if you are planning to pay for your little one’s tertiary education.
If you are looking for something simple, structured and secure, you might want to consider Aviva’s MyEduPlan. It is a savings plan that secures your capital 100% and gives you guaranteed payouts, (provided you have paid your premiums accordingly).
Depending on the gender of your child (and whether they’re serving National Service), you can choose to start receiving payouts when your child is age 19 or 21.
There are also a host of add-ons available to protect against situations where you might not be able to continue paying premiums. For example, you can choose to add on a cancer premium waiver rider – in the event that you are diagnosed with a major cancer, not only are the premiums waived, but your child’s education fund is secured and continues to grow.
So celebrate parenthood and the arrival of your child not only by kitting out the nursery and loading up on baby paraphernalia. Stay healthy and get your family some financial protection with insurance.
For more tips and guides on financial planning for your child and family, visit Money Banter, a financial education blog by Aviva.
This post was brought to you by Aviva. For more information about Aviva’s products and their terms & conditions, please refer to the respective product summaries available on www.aviva.com.sg