Being pregnant comes with its ups and downs, but the anticipation of birth can be a little intimidating. Your baby will become a very important part of your life, and such a fragile little creature is to be treated well. It’s not an easy responsibility, either, since your responsibility goes beyond dressing your baby in cute clothes and giving him or her the perfect name. There are a lot of things to keep track of, doctor’s appointments to go to, items to acquire, and a never-ending list of stuff to do. It can be overwhelming and challenging to remember all of it, so here’s a checklist of how you can best prepare for your new child.

                                                                                                                                  Image Credits tasha, CC0 1.0

Learn as much as you can

Knowledge is power, right? Understand what you can about the birthing process. Educate yourself about the different methods: natural birthing, water birth, c-sections, using the epidural, and other methods. As you come to understand these different methods, you will be able to make an educated decision about how you want to give birth. Part of your education will also come to understand that some parts of the birthing process will be unpredictable, which can be stressful. However, if you recognize that you can’t control all of your birthing process, you’ll be able to accept the unexpected and be more relaxed as you give birth.

Prepare yourself financially

Budgeting for a baby can either be easy or difficult. Either way, it needs to be done. Figure out what unexpected costs may arise. Account for doctor’s visits, and find out what your insurance will and won’t cover. Insurance costs can be stressful, especially if your insurance doesn’t cover everything that you thought it would. Budget for clothing, since clothing can be expensive and you don’t know how fast your baby will grow. Also budget for toys and other baby items. Toys are a huge temptation because you want your child to have everything, but you need to keep yourself in check so you don’t break the bank because you gave your baby too many toys. Besides, there is a strong likelihood that your baby will play with the super awesome (and expensive) toy once and then never again. Of course, budget for other things: strollers, carriers, food, and whatever else your baby might need.

Make sure you and your partner are in sync

If you have a partner raising your child with you, make sure you two understand each other’s parenting styles. Your partner might have a more laid-back approach, where you might want to be involved at every phase of your child’s life, or vice versa. You might want to have a date night at least once a week, or your partner is content staying at home. While you and your partner may have had casual conversations about whether or not you would send your child to preschool, now is the time to figure out how to allocate your work. Try to communicate with each other what your styles are and how to evenly divide the work with each other. If you evenly divide the work and always look out for the other person, they won’t feel the burden and won’t feel resentful.

Be willing to listen to advice, but take it with a grain of salt

Yep – everyone’s an expert on parenting these days. It often calls for unsolicited advice, which is often frustrating and annoying, especially if the person giving it does not understand your situation. However, sometimes you’re just not sure what to do. Ask advice from people who understand your personality and are veteran parents themselves. They’re experienced with the birthing process, and will know how to help you understand what decisions to make. However, at the end of the day this is your child, and you have to make the decision that’s best for you and your family.

These are just a few suggestions. There’s a lot of advice out there and it’s hard to decide what to do sometimes. However, as long as you are educated about what you’re getting yourself into, have budgeted for your future family member, and have communicated with your partner, things are going to work out.