The emotions of becoming a new parent speak for themselves and cannot truly be understood until you’re the person or couple experiencing this major life milestone. With the ups and downs, smiles and laughter, and utter chaos in between, it can feel overwhelming to navigate anything else fully while adjusting to be a new parent. So while it is understandable to feel this way, as a new parent, we want you to feel prepared knowing we have done some of the heavy lifting and created this preparation guide to ease your stress, get you back on track, and grant you the reassurance that all your needs have been covered.
Develop a Budgeting Routine
An overwhelming concern for a new parent is money management—even if they felt prepared financially to have their first child. Since there is so much unfamiliarity to this process, it can be difficult to feel stable in any part of your life after the baby arrives, including staying on top of your finances.
A great way to ease your money worries and ensure that you are not overspending is to develop a routine to budget and review your spending habits. Obviously, this time of transition will drastically impact where and what you spend your money on. Keep track of your purchases using a budgeting app, or on paper, if you prefer, just be sure to note everything you’re buying over the course of the week and how much money was spent on each item or service.
This will give you a baseline to work off of and show you where you can be smarter with your money. Plan to do this around the same day or time each week to keep as consistent as possible amongst the excitement of the new baby—but most importantly, just start somewhere and don’t overstress!
New Parent Tip #1: Have a Trusted Contact
One of the best pieces of advice for a new parent is to have someone you trust, or a few people if possible, that you can call in moments of panic during a newborn situation you don’t know how to deal with. It’s recommended that this particular person has the appropriate credentials, experience, and knowledge to actually help the situation and will recommend when you might actually need to resort to a professional. But for your daily questions, concerns, and general confusion, it’s important to have someone in your corner that you feel comfortable to confide in who also has the time and wisdom to help the situation.
New Parent Tip #2: Live in the Moment, Plan for the Future
These days it might feel quite impossible to focus on anything but getting a few hours of sleep, taking care of your baby, and any other daily tasks. Although that is understandable and it’s certainly beneficial to truly live in the moment during this process—it’s also important to plan for the future. Setting up a life insurance policy is a very critical step for all individuals, but for new parents especially. Now that you’re starting a family and will have dependents relying on you to support them financially, you want to ensure you have a life insurance policy to protect and secure your future. You can speak to an insurance representative to discuss the benefits of setting up life insurance earlier on and feel good knowing that your child and loved ones are fully taken care of should anything unexpected happen to you.
New Parent Tip #3: Health Insurance & Doctors’ Visits
If you didn’t realize this already, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the walls of your doctor’s office, talking about your baby’s health, and scouring the internet—although not always your most reliable option—to make sure your baby is happy and healthy. It’s helpful to keep a list of concerns and be prepared for each appointment so you can arrive without stress and leave confidently with your doctor’s instructions.
Evaluating your healthcare coverage along with your partner’s is critical as a new parent and will help you determine what is the best route to take for your newborn’s health and your financial state. There are plenty of online tools and agents who can guide you when it comes to selecting the best coverage for you so you can focus on what is really important—your new baby and family.
New Parent Tip #4: Make Your Best Effort to Follow a Schedule
A schedule?! With a newborn? Surprisingly, the more routine that you are, the easier it will be to adjust your baby into the processes later on. It might take a little while to get there, as there will be long nights and early mornings initially—but give yourself grace at the beginning. Do your best to have a plan for the day, even if that’s 3 or 4 small tasks at first.
Your schedule doesn’t need to be drastic or hourly based but try making a list of a few things you plan to accomplish and feel confident you can get done. This will keep your mind fresh and help you feel productive as you’re adjusting to be a caregiver and a new parent.
New Parent Tip #5: Plan Out Time to Rest
Here’s our final tip for the new parent.
Rest is always a sensitive subject when it comes to being a new parent as it’s natural to feel like we must place our full attention on our baby’s needs. This is true, however, if we allow ourselves the help from family, our partner, and loved ones, it might make rest and wellness more of a reality. If either you or your partner work, it’s likely the other will be home with your newborn for a while. That means the pressure is on one of you to constantly care for the baby and their safety and health. While this is a huge responsibility to take on alone, it’s important to let those willing to help you out do so. If that means letting your friend come over and make dinner or allowing your mom to watch your baby while you nap—accept this help and be appreciative rather than feel guilty.
No one ever said being a new parent was a walk in the park, but they do say it’s worth every second. Building up your toolkit and preparing for the future the best way you can financially, emotionally, and socially will make this huge transition a little less stressful. This journey will teach you many new lessons, so remember to be grateful for this opportunity and take each day one step at a time.