15 Oct Newborn Checklist
Expectant parents are inundated with advice–both good and bad–from well-meaning friends and family about what exactly they will need for their new baby. Will you want a special pillow for breastfeeding? Should you buy a crib and a bassinet? A swing and a bouncy chair? How many diapers do you need? Should they be cloth or disposal, and what size should you buy? Will your baby outgrown newborn sized clothing right away, or will she be swimming in that 0-3 month sized onesie?
Yes, it’s important to be prepared for baby’s arrival with all the stuff that will certainly be gifted to you at your baby shower, and there are a million checklists out there that will tell you exactly how many bottles you can’t live without.
But there’s another checklist that most parents overlook. Your baby will outgrow his diapers, clothing, and even his crib before too long. However, the Family Foundations newborn checklist will give your family the strong foundations you need to raise a child who’s happy and confident for years to come.
Newborn Checklist for a Strong and Happy Family
This checklist is pulled from materials in our Family Foundations DVD series for expectant parents. We encourage you to check out the entire class and watch it with your partner to prepare for your baby.
1. Know how you’ll divide responsibilities when the baby arrives:
Parents get lost in the joys and stress of pregnancy, and they often forget to agree to a basic division of labor after baby is born. Who will take out the trash? Who will prepare meals? Who will earn money to pay the rent or mortgage? Who will change diapers?
You and your partner should take the time to come to a basic agreement about your expectations after the baby is born. Resentments can build quickly, and if you aren’t clear about what you expect from each other this is much more likely to happen.
2. Agree on family ground rules that you can refer to regularly:
Family ground rules should be a set of agreements that you and your partner create about the things that are important for your family. Some couples’ ground rules are built around ensuring that their home is safe for their child. Other ground rules might focus on providing a loving and affirming environment.
You and your partner should not only create these ground rules, but you should write them down and agree to review them on a regular basis. Find a time once every few months to read them together and remind each other why you’ve agreed to them and why they’re important.
3. Discuss your expectations about religion in your child’s life:
While religion is front and center for some families, for other couples the role religion will play in your family is more ambiguous. Rather than assuming you and your partner are settled about issues of religion, if you haven’t previously discussed it, take time to decide how you would like to raise your baby.
Your religious beliefs and traditions will shape how you choose to parent, from deciding how to name your baby to planning your child’s education. Don’t let your expectations regarding your child’s religious upbringing remain unspoken.
4. Decide how you want extended family involved in the first few months:
Maybe you have visions of your mother being there for the first few weeks after your baby is born, but maybe your partner wants time to bond with you and the baby alone. Decide how you want your extended family to be involved with the first few weeks and even years of your child’s life.
Communicate with your partner what you want out of your relationship with your extended families and come to an agreement about what boundaries you’ll have. This way you can mitigate some of the conflict that often arises regarding what the grandparents want and what you know is best for your baby and your family.
5. Plan for how night time parenting will be shared:
Who will respond to the baby when she cries in the night? Who will change her diaper? While it’s tempting to let this play out “naturally,” our expertise informs us that having a good idea of how night time responsibilities will be shared can create a much more harmonious home once the baby is here.
You and your partner should explore some scenarios of what your baby’s night time needs may look like. And while things may change once the baby comes, agree on some basic sharing of responsibilities so that each parent contributes fairly.
6. Create a list of trusted and reliable babysitters so you and your partner can spend time together:
You and your partner will need to make time to reconnect with each other away from the baby. While it can be easy to get into the habit of devoting all your time and energy to your child, you still need to find time to be together and express love and affection to each other.
Before the baby comes, discuss with your partner who your babysitters will be. Who do you each trust to watch your baby while you nurture your relationship? We recommend having a list of trusted people that you can rely on, who will support you in maintaining a strong relationship with each other by providing a safe and loving environment for your new baby.
Your child benefits from a strong and healthy relationship between his or her parents. Our newborn checklist provides you with some basic guidelines for establishing strong foundations for your relationship with each other, which will benefit your child immensely. For more information on why Family Foundations is proven to work, check out our evidence.