From the moment you get pregnant, you know that your life will suddenly be all about the little bundle of joy you are bringing into the world.
However, aside from all the celebrations, you may also wake up in a panic at times, wondering about the kind of parent you will be.
Will you be calm or strict? Will you prefer breastfeeding over using formula?
Although news of a pregnancy is one of the most exciting moments in a person’s life, here are 15 critical decisions that you need to think about carefully and discuss with your partner to help make parenting a little less stressful.
15 Decisions to Make For Your Baby During Their First Year
Posting Baby Photos
Some parents cannot wait to tell all their loved ones about how their newborn baby is doing.
You may want to suddenly share every aspect of the baby’s life.
After all, why shouldn’t the rest of your family see how cute your child looks while sleeping? However, posting photos and videos of your baby can be harmful.
Not only will your baby resent you on their 18th birthday for that awkward bathtub picture you posted, but it is also a security concern.
If you post pictures, always make sure to tweak the privacy settings to ensure that only the most trustworthy people in your social circle have access.
Thinking About Siblings
If you have grown up in a large family with a healthy dose of sibling rivalry that kept you on your toes throughout childhood, you may be wondering when the right time is to try for another baby.
This is common if couples do not want their children to have a massive age gap between them.
However, make sure you are prepared to get pregnant again after giving birth. There may be reasons you want to wait, such as not feeling ready, money problems, and career goals.
If you decide against getting pregnant within your baby’s first year of life, you may need to consider birth control to buy more time.
Many parents prefer to co-sleep with their babies instead of getting a crib.
If you do get a crib, you will also need to decide where to put it.
You may want to have the crib next to your bed or have a separate baby’s room.
I personally co-slept with all of mine and since I breastfed it made things much easier and everyone got the rest they needed.
But because co-sleeping poses some risks you need to do research and be very safe.
Parents often get maternity and paternity leave from work to care for a new baby.
This is where your feelings may change about returning to the office, especially if you want to spend more time with the baby during infancy.
Talk to your partner about the roles and responsibilities you’ll both have with your baby.
Will you both go back to work? Or will one of you be a stay-at-home parent? Who will take the baby to all their doctor’s appointments and prepare baths?
There are tons of things to be done, and dividing up the work can make it easier for everyone involved.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests keeping TV and mobile screens away from babies when they are under one and a half years of age.
However, this is challenging because television is a great form of entertainment to keep babies occupied while exhausted parents catch a break.
You may have to decide whether you want to entertain your child on your own without any cartoons and if you can muster the time and effort to consistently do so.
Most parents don’t want to use screens but end up doing it anyway. If you do, don’t feel bad. We are all just doing the best we can.
Your babe will turn out just fine.
Using Formula or Nursing
Many health experts believe that breastmilk is the most nutritional choice for infants.
This can be tough for some mothers who cannot breastfeed or do not want to.
Baby formula is an excellent alternative, but some fear their children are not getting enough nutrients because it’s artificial.
The choice between nursing or using formula is very personal, so you should always weigh the pros and cons of both methods before deciding what is best for your baby.
Obviously, fed is best so don’t agonize over your decision.
Medicating Your Baby
Some parents favor medicines while others are against them. This decision hits new parents the moment their baby needs teething medication or cough syrup.
FDA strictly advises against using topical medication for teething, including homeopathic tablets.
You should also be careful of giving too much Tylenol depending on the baby’s height and weight. It is always best to speak to a pediatrician before giving your baby any medicines.
Cutting Their Hair
If you are not a parent who gets too sentimental about a little lock of hair, you may wonder when to give your babe his/her first haircut.
This is an important decision because you may want to give your child a trim during summer to avoid itchiness.
The first haircut is a memorable moment, so you should think about how much you want to cut without endangering the baby’s adorableness.
Your baby will need good childcare whether from you or a provider if you go back to work.
If you are busy juggling several errands or working full-time, you may need to budget for childcare.
This can be expensive for many parents, which is why you should start saving money for this even before your baby is born.
Alternatively, you can hire a temporary babysitter if you want to have a date night once a week.
Vaccinating Your Child
Vaccinations are a controversial subject even though they prevent chickenpox and whooping cough.
Unless you are a single parent, you need to discuss vaccinations with your partner to ensure that you are on the same page.
Some parents avoid vaccinations because of side effects and unnatural ingredients.
Research children’s vaccines and speak to your pediatrician before making this significant decision.
I’m not going to preach about vaccines because it’s a very personal choice. You do what you think is best!
Which Toys to Buy?
There is an abundance of baby toys on the market, and those brands never shy from advertising to new parents like yourself.
Most toys you can find are either made of plastic or wood.
Some parents prefer wooden toys because they are less toxic and do not harm the environment.
You may also want to get toys that teach your baby skills, such as toys with letters or numbers. Some toys are perfect for a 3-month-old baby but would be dull for a child that is nearly 12-months.
Etsy is a great place to find fun and interesting handmade toys for your babe! You should check it out.
No matter how much grandparents are itching to spend alone time with the baby, it is your decision to let them without feeling guilty.
This is essential if your baby is nursing and cannot take a bottle or if you are not close to your parents and do not trust them entirely.
Family members will always want to get to know your little one, but you get to decide who can have that privilege.
They can always visit later after you’ve settled in a bit.
Meeting Other Babies
If your year-old baby does not have any siblings, they may feel entertained by spending time with other children.
However, many parents struggle to pinpoint the right time to start socializing. When kids are older, it is easier to enroll them in music, art, or gymnastics classes to make friends.
This is tricky for an incredibly young baby, especially if you fear that they may catch a sickness or be negatively impacted by other children’s behavior.
This is especially important now that Covid is going around. Make your decisions wisely for you and your whole family.
Weaning From Bottles
If you’ve chosen not to breastfeed babies should start weaning from bottles when they are aged between 9 and 12 months.
This is when you can start introducing a sippy cup or let them stick to the bottle a little longer. Keep in mind that the sooner your baby gives up the bottle, the less chance they have of developing tooth decay.
Many parents worry about the decision to use pacifiers because they can cause dental problems and ear infections.
Even though pacifiers or “binkies” are an excellent way to soothe babies so that everyone can sleep soundly at night, not every baby prefers one.
There are also several types of pacifiers on the market, and your child can be extremely picky.
It is best to buy a few different ones to see which one your baby loves most and be careful not to let them have it all day.
In the end….
There are lots of decisions to make for your baby in the first year and these are just a few you should think about beforehand.
We wish you all the luck in the world with your little one!
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