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We’re having a baby… now what?
Don't be afraid. Prepare for a baby with these simple (and totally doable) tips
For first-time parents, knowing exactly how to prepare for and raise a child can be daunting. Luckily, there are countless resources online to help – and we want to be one of them. From budgeting for three to baby-proofing your home, preparing for your first child is both exciting and, yes, completely doable.
In this article:
Feeding Your Piggy Bank
One of the biggest adjustments that comes with having a child involves managing the influx of costs. While being a parent itself is priceless, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a middle-income family will spend at least $165,000 raising one child to the age of 18. Though that’s a pretty steep number to face, now that you have a basic starting point for your savings goals, skip the worry stage and get motivated with these three steps:
- Start Saving From Day One: Before your baby arrives, it’s recommended that parents have at least three months’ income saved for emergencies. So, the sooner you start saving, the more financially prepared you’ll feel.
Another opportunity for saving isn’t simply setting aside money. While it’s exciting to buy all new items for your first child, take advantage of hand-me-down baby gear, strollers or baby clothing from friends and family who’ve recently had children. Anything that a newborn will outgrow in mere weeks or months isn’t worth spending a fortune on.
- Leverage Life Insurance: Having a baby should bring life insurance to the top of your financial priorities. Before the baby arrives, analyze your family’s financial needs and look at factors such as annual spend, each spouse’s earnings, worth of investments and assets, and costs for your child’s future education. Knowing how much coverage you need is the first step toward managing your family’s future.
- Don’t Wait to Educate: Education can be a fortune for kids these days, so it’s a good idea to start a college fund for your child early on. Whether this means opening a 529 plan (a tax-advantaged college investment account) or putting aside $100 per month from the time the baby is born. Saving $100 monthly can make a huge impact 18 years down the road – adding up to nearly a third of the cost for college.
Baby-Proofing Your Home
Eventually, it becomes time to baby-proof (the process of turning your home into a fortress) your home. While we know an infant won’t get into anything, you’ll want to get a head start so it’s much less labor-intensive once your baby starts moving around. It happens before you know it. Approach the process one room at a time to make it less overwhelming and to allow for a more thorough job.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, though, because no matter what you do, your baby will eventually find the one thing you didn’t manage to baby-proof. However, the following are important to not overlook:
- Ensure anything sharp (e.g. table edges) are covered with protective casing or cushions
- For any staircases, guard the top and bottom of stairways with baby safety gates
- Use window guards and locks
- Cover all electrical outlets, and keep all cords out of reach
- Keep anything toxic (e.g. medicine, cleaning supplies, make-up) completely out of children’s reach, and use cabinet locks
- For items kept on taller surfaces, move them away from the edge. i.e. plants, televisions, etc.
Nurturing Your Marriage
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day exist to celebrate everything that parents do for their children, but it’s important to make time to celebrate this journey with your spouse, too. While it can be tough to keep the romance alive in between changing diapers and months of sleep deprivation, there are ways around the madness.
Date nights with a newborn won’t be the same as the two-hour candlelit dinners you had pre-pregnancy, but at-home dinners following baby’s bedtime can be just as romantic. Try making a quick but creative dish together. Then, enjoy your meal together by catching up over a glass of wine, toasting to a moment when you were very grateful for the other person – maybe whomever stayed up with the baby at 3 a.m. that morning, at least until baby can sleep through the night.
Or forget the “night” part of date night and find a way to spend some daylight hours together. Maybe it’s doing something active; maybe it’s going to a movie; maybe it’s revisiting the places you loved to go on weekends before kids. Even if it means taking a valuable day of PTO, reconnecting is often worth it.
While it may take some time to adjust to the day-to-day transition that accompanies parenthood, raising a child should always be a team effort. Building a strong family foundation doesn’t happen overnight, but thankfully there’s tons of support and advice to be found online that can help with the preparation process.
About Brittney Burgett
Brittney Burgett is the marketing and communications director at Haven Life, a customer-centric life insurance agency backed and wholly owned by MassMutual. She joined the startup more than five years ago as one of the first ten employees and oversees external communications, content, SEO and various other growth marketing initiatives. Brittney is a passionate leader who believes that managing your financial life doesn't need to be intimidating or complicated and brings that philosophy to all the editorial and brand work at Haven Life. Prior to her role at Haven Life, Brittney worked in public relations, her client list included brands in the tech, food and nutrition spaces.Read more by Brittney Burgett
Our editorial policy
Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.
Our editorial policy
Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.
Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.
Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.
Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.
MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.
Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus
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