Having a child is a joy and a completely fulfilling endeavor, but that’s not to say that there aren’t moments, or even entire days, when you wonder if you made the right choice. People will tell you that you shouldn’t have kids until you’re sure you’re ready, but the truth is ~ you’ll never be completely ready. However, knowing what to expect can help, so here are some top things you should know before you decide to become a parent.
The First Few Months are Pure Torture
You are going to love your little one with a fierceness you never expected, but the truth is that life with a newborn is not easy. In fact, it might be the hardest thing you’ll ever do. In addition to keeping this tiny human alive, you’ll also have to learn what each of his cries mean, how to swaddle, how to change a diaper, how to leave the house without forgetting anything important and how to balance your marriage and work life with being a new parent.
You Will Lose and Sorely Miss Sleep
Sleep is something that falls by the wayside when you have a baby. They have no concept of day or night and will need to eat every couple of hours. That means you’ll also need to be awake every couple of hours. You’re going to find that you are running on just a few hours most of the time. And babies often don’t sleep well on their own, so you’ll also be spending a lot of time lulling them to sleep at all hours. Try to fit sleep in when you can and that’s the best you’ll be able to do for the first few months.
You Don’t Need a lot of Baby Stuff or Clothes
There are hundreds, even thousands, of products geared toward new parents. You don’t need most of them. Your baby needs food, clothes, diapers, blankets and a few toys. Of course, you also need a crib, car seat, and stroller. But don’t fall into the trap of buying everything because they’re only newborns for such a short amount of time and parents have been raising kids without a wipes warmer for centuries. Stick with the newborn essentials and you’ll be good to go.
Children Rack up a lot of Surprise Costs
Statistics on childcare costs around Europe indicate that parents are often stretched to the limit when it comes to raising their kids. It’s expensive to raise a child anywhere in the world, but regardless of where you are, there are plenty of surprise costs to be prepared for. That could be the middle of the night trip to the emergency room for colic or the need to switch to formula when you return to work. Whatever it is, being prepared can make it easier to afford.
Don’t Worry if Your Child Isn’t Reaching Developmental Milestones
All children develop at their own pace. Try not to compare your baby to the children of your friends and don’t be overly concerned if your child doesn’t line up with what you’re reading in your childcare books. Your baby will see her pediatrician every couple of months and he can help you determine if there is anything to worry about. In the meantime, enjoy your baby at each stage.