Things to Discuss Before Your Baby Arrives

13 Questions to Ask Your Partner Before Giving Birth

Congratulations! You’re having a baby! Either that or you must be really bored to be reading a mom blog. Either way, hopefully, you’ve already read my post about 10 Questions to Ask Your Partner Before Getting Pregnant so you have some experience having difficult discussions about important topics.

I was inspired to write this post after having a baby of my own and realizing that my husband and I have conflicting opinions about a lot of these topics. And they were never things that we thought to discuss prior to having a baby.

But inevitably, all of these will come up for new parents and you’ll want to make sure you’re on the same page. Because having to discuss them when you are sleep deprived, stressed, and trying to figure out how to keep a newborn baby alive probably won’t lead to a very productive conversation.

So sit down together, grab a beverage, and run through this list of questions before your life changes forever!

13 Questions to Ask Your Partner Before Giving Birth

1. How long do you think we should breastfeed?

Things to Discuss Before Your Baby Arrives: Feeding

I should preface this one by saying NO MOM GUILT! Some women can’t breastfeed their baby or choose not to for whatever reason. Fed is best and you have to do what works for you.

But if you do plan to at least attempt to breastfeed, best to have an idea of how long you both feel is reasonable. I’ve always thought I’d try for a year but now that my baby is about to be 6 months old, it doesn’t sound so appealing to continue for another 6 months.

Not that I don’t enjoy breastfeeding. But he is literally sucking the life out of me. My nipples are sore and I hate dealing with all of the cleaning and sanitizing that goes along with pumping. I also find it awkward (at times) to breastfeed in public.

But if you’re ready to quit after 6 months (or 1 day) and your partner wants to make it a year, it may be a point of contention.

2. Should we breastfeed or try formula?

Things to Discuss Before Your Baby Arrives: Breastfeeding vs. Formula

This is another mom guilt-inducing question. I don’t want to give my baby formula but for no good reason. Formula is perfectly fine and lots of babies have grown up to be perfectly healthy without ever having breastmilk.

If you have trouble breastfeeding or choose not to, hopefully you and your partner both agree on supplementing with formula or donor milk.

3. What do you think about using phones around our baby?

Things to Discuss Before Having a Baby: Smart Phone Usage

I try really hard to give my baby 100% of my attention during the time he’s awake and expecting me to entertain him. I feel awful if I stick him in a bouncy chair and then browse Facebook. I don’t want him to grow up with his eyes glued to a screen.

My husband doesn’t feel as strongly as I do about this topic. Actually he probably doesn’t totally know how I feel about it (but he will once he reads this post). It’s probably something that we should’ve discussed pre-baby since it’s pretty important to me.

4. What are your thoughts on screen time for our baby?

Things to Discuss Before Your Baby Arrives: Screen Time

As your baby gets older you’ll find that they are totally enamored with the television screen. When we watch movies it’s a battle to keep my baby eating because he cranes his neck so hard to check out the giant box that’s emitting colorful lights and interesting sounds.

And as they get older they start to spend more and more time awake. It’s challenging to figure out what to do with a 5-month old baby for hours at a time. And sticking them in front of a Baby Einstein show to entertain them for 30 minutes will be VERY tempting.

But both parents should be on board regarding the appropriate age to introduce your child to the wonderful world of Netflix.

5. What is the plan when our baby wakes up during the night?

Our baby is a craptastic sleeper and has been since the day he was born. He’s 5 months old and the longest he’s ever slept was 5 hours. But usually, he wakes up every 2 hours. All night long.

Since he is exclusively breastfed at this point, I see no point in waking up my husband as well (how in the hell he sleeps through our baby crying is beyond me). So I handle all of the night wakings and only call my husband in for backup if I have a poop explosion emergency. Or if I’m really at my wits end.

But if I’d expected him to get up with me every time and he didn’t, we’d have experienced an explosion of the non-poop variety.

6. Do you want to sleep train our baby?

Things to Discuss Before Having a Baby: Sleep Training

This is an ongoing dilemma that my husband and I have. He wants to sleep train our baby and I don’t. His argument is VERY valid, and that is that we both need more sleep. We’d be better parents if we were more rested and we’d have more time just the two of us if he went to sleep at 7:30pm and stayed asleep until morning.

My argument is also valid but now that I’m typing this out, his definitely makes more sense. Mine is that I handle all of the night waking anyway so why does he care? And also I can’t bear to hear my baby crying.

You’d be smart to do some research about sleep training prior to giving birth and for both of you to keep an open mind about possible solutions. And at the end of the day, you have to do what feels right for your little one.

7. How should we divvy up the housework?

It’s rather unfortunate that people generally fall into old school “gender roles” after having a baby. Women get significantly more time off of work than men so they often act as the baby’s primary caregiver. And because they are home most of the day, the housework responsibilities often fall on them as well.

But when you’re spending all day wiping someone else’s butt, cleaning up spit-up, dealing with a crying baby, and having your nipples used as chew toys, the last thing you want to do is dishes. Or laundry. Or anything that doesn’t involve sleeping, eating, or showering.

So make sure you set expectations ahead of time that the housework will be split evenly and that you won’t be both a full-time caretaker AND a full-time homemaker.

8. How often do you think we’ll be having sex after the baby comes?

Things to Discuss Before Having a Baby: Your Sex Life
Photo by Nicola Bezuidenhout

Take that number and cut it in half. Then cut it in half again. And that should be pretty accurate. If you read that question and thought to yourself “zero” then you’d also be on point.

Chalk it up to sleep deprivation or the fact that your boobs have become the farthest thing from sexy, sex just gets moved down on the priority list after having a baby. You also can’t have sex for quite a while after giving birth (even if you have a c-section).

I really struggle with the guilt of feeling like I have nothing left to give at the end of the day. My husband is totally understanding and also equally spent which helps. But if your partner has a rampant sex drive, you may want to reset their expectations early.

9. Should we use disposable diapers or cloth?

Things to Discuss Before Having a Baby: Diapers

This discussion should be less about environmental impact, and more about personal preference. Because while disposable diapers are such a waste, cloth diapers aren’t much better for the planet. The resources required to produce and then clean cloth diapers make them pretty much a wash (unless you keep them and use for multiple children, then you start to see environmental benefits).

If you want to deal with a screaming baby while scraping their poop out of a cloth diaper and into the toilet but your partner doesn’t, you’ll have to find a way to compromise. Or you can just take permanent diaper duty.

10. Who will you trust to look after our baby?

Things to Discuss Before Having a Baby: Babysitting

Do you feel comfortable hiring an unknown babysitter for the night? Or do you only feel comfortable leaving your baby with friends or family members? And are there specific friends and family members that you would definitely NOT trust to keep your baby alive?

Be sure to discuss this one prior to planning your first sans-baby date night!

11. What is your expectation of your personal (non-baby) time?

My husband and I are lucky enough to work from home. So we get to spend all day, every day with our little bundle of joy. But one might argue that having a job that gets you out of the house and away from your baby actually helps to keep some of your sanity intact.

We do get some personal time away each week – for gym time, drinks with friends, hair appointments, etc. It’s usually just a few hours at the most, and we do our best to give advance notice and get it on the calendar.

And I’m 100% on board with my husband getting some much-needed time away from the baby (and, let’s be honest, from me). However, if he was going on regular weekend getaways with his buddies, I might start to get a little resentful. If you expect to get a significant amount of personal non-baby time, best make sure your partner gives the green light.

12. How were you punished as a child and how will it impact how you’ll punish your children?

Things to Discuss Before Your Baby Arrives: Punishment

When I was growing up, my primary form of discipline was being spanked (or, at least, the threat of being spanked). I specifically remember being spanked with a wooden spoon that hurt so bad it inspired me to be remarkably well-behaved until my teenage years.

My husband’s punishment involved sitting on a chair in the laundry room for a set length of time. But his siblings would get so bored without their playmate that they’d sneak in and reduce the time left on the egg timer.

Are we going to spank our kids? Doubtful. Are we going to put them in a timeout in the laundry room? We haven’t actually discussed this one at length yet (hence why it made the list!) so more to come on this topic later.

13. Who has the final say?

Things to Discuss Before Your Baby Arrives: Final Decision Maker

At the end of the day, it’s unlikely that you’ll agree on everything that you discuss on this list. If it’s impossible to compromise, one person should have the final say. And in my humble opinion, it should be the person who is most affected by the outcome.

For instance, my husband and I disagree about sleep training. But since I’m the one that gets up with the baby all night long, I’m the one that is most affected by it. And hence why we haven’t started sleep training.

Of course, in our relationship, Nick makes all of the important decisions because he is so thoughtful and intelligent.

Did I miss any important topics to discuss prior to giving birth? Comment below so I can add them to the list!

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