Child Planning Checklist

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mass88
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Child Planning Checklist

Post by mass88 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:23 pm

My wife is expecting our first child in a couple of months and we would like to start getting things in order before our child is born. If you were to list the 4 or 5 most pressing items we should, what would they be? Life insurance? A will? College savings plan? If we went term, how long should the term be?

Some additional background:

My wife and I both work. She will be taking 4 months off from work at full pay and benefits. We fortunately do not have to worry about child care as her mother will be watching our child. We both have basic life insurance through work - mine is for $75k and hers is for $50k. I am going to assume we will need to increase the coverage. We have a mortgage on our single family home.

livesoft
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by livesoft » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:26 pm

1. Find all friends and neighbors who have had a child in the past year and ask them for advice. They should get the hint and give you almost every piece of baby kit that you will need. So you won't have to buy any clothes, any blankets, any big ticket items, any toys, anything.

2. Go over wills (future guardians!) and life insurance and health insurance. Now we never bought life insurance because if one of us or both of us died, our kids would have not been financially affected. Maybe that is the case for you all, too.

3. Otherwise let nature takes its course and don't spend any money and the baby at all.

Congratulations.
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corwin
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by corwin » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:34 pm

It's counter-intuitive but you should plan a trip for the two of you for sometime next year. Time away from the 24/7 responsibility of being parents has really helped us from becoming overly stressed. With good, reliable childcare (grandparents) we were able to do it without worrying too much. The first time was hard but a few days away every year helped keep the marriage strong.

Rupert
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by Rupert » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:36 pm

1. Health insurance. Make sure everything is in order for the birth, adding junior to the policy after birth, etc. 2. Living wills for each of you, but particularly mom right now. The delivery hospital should ask for a copy of mom's before the birth. 3. Wills for each of you. The sooner the better. 4. Additional term life insurance for each of you. Unless you have a need for permanent insurance, don't even consider whole life or universal life. Just plain vanilla 20- or 30-year term insurance. You haven't given us enough information to tell you how much you need or how long the term(s) should be. The rule of thumb is to buy between 10-20x income, but it depends on your individual circumstances. A 20- or 30-year term is probably what you want. Beware that some insurance companies won't write your wife a new policy while she's pregnant and that the results of her medical exam might be affected by the pregnancy. Use an independent broker (i.e., a broker not affiliated with a particular insurance company) who can advise you with respect to these issues. 5. College savings funds can wait until the dust settles. General advice is not to save for college until you are fully funding your retirement accounts, but, again, your individual circumstances may vary. Start researching 529 plans. If you decide a 529 is right for you, it's beneficial to front-load savings, i.e., put a large chunk in while your child is very young so that the savings have time to grow before college.

sport
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by sport » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:37 pm

Here is a tip I received a long time ago. You want to get a crib, of course. However, if you have a girl, get a full size ladies dresser. If you have a boy, get a man's chest of drawers. If you do not know if it will be a boy or a girl, wait until the baby is born. By doing this, you eliminate the need to buy baby dressers etc. which will become useless after a few years. If you start off with full size furniture, it will be useful for many years to come. My adult children still have their "baby furniture" in their homes. If you buy decent quality wood furniture, it will last indefinitely.

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Cobra Commander
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by Cobra Commander » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:41 pm

Figure out where the consignment sales are in your area. Babies grow so fast it makes no sense to buy the clothes new. The church near us has a massive consignment sale and you can get tons of clothes for 90% off the original price.

sport
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by sport » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:42 pm

For life insurance, buy term. If in doubt concerning how much to buy, err on the side of too much. Term insurance is inexpensive for young healthy people. Extra insurance will also provide a buffer against inflation. If we ever return to high inflation, your life insurance could become inadequate. Should that happen, you would want to buy more. However, you would be older and you may develop health problems which would make insurance more expensive, or perhaps not available.

livesoft
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by livesoft » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:55 pm

Here's a tip: Don't get a crib until the baby can use it which will be quite a while. I think they give out boxes to new mothers in some countries. Yep: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22751415 Of course, if someone gives you a safe crib, then by all means accept it graciously with thanks.

We never bought any furniture for our kids except for beds. My son just kept his clothes in a pile in the corner. That actually worked from age 0 to beyond age 21. I just don't see a need for a chest of drawers or a dresser either.
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Loik098
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by Loik098 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:59 pm

Have you looked into disability insurance?

If not, doing so should be one of the 5 things you put on your list. The odds of one of you becoming disabled for some period of time before you retire is about 1 in 3.....a lot higher than the odds of one of you up and dying and needing to cash in that term life insurance policy.

mass88
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by mass88 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:02 pm

Thank you for all of the suggestions - keep em' coming!

Between my wife and myself we have 2 nieces and 3 nephews so we are lucky and will be getting a ton of hand-me-downs in the form of clothes and toys. We plan on taking full advantage especially considering how fast kids grow out of clothes and some kids nowadays get so many toys it's crazy.




corwin wrote:It's counter-intuitive but you should plan a trip for the two of you for sometime next year. Time away from the 24/7 responsibility of being parents has really helped us from becoming overly stressed. With good, reliable childcare (grandparents) we were able to do it without worrying too much. The first time was hard but a few days away every year helped keep the marriage strong.


This is sound advice. I have a couple of co-workers and family members who also advocate for trying to take at least a long weekend away every year just you and your spouse.

123
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by 123 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:05 pm

Of course you need a car seat for the baby. The sad thing about car seats is that over the number of years since we had our first child it seems like every car seat ever made has been recalled for some reason or other. Car seats seem to be a product that manufacturers just can't ever seem to get right.
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iamlucky13
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by iamlucky13 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:17 pm

The financial advice above seems sound.

Also get your emergency information together if you haven't already. Keep it in a handy location (such as on your refrigerator as well as perhaps on your phone contact list or in a note app) the phone number and address for the nearest urgent care center that accepts your insurance, and the nearest hospital.

I wish we'd taken a relaxing trip before our first was born. For that matter, I wish we'd done more traveling before he became mobile. Stupid work...

livesoft wrote:Here's a tip: Don't get a crib until the baby can use it which will be quite a while. I think they give out boxes to new mothers in some countries.


We visited some friends who had their daughter in the middle of a 6 month work assignment across the country. They pulled a drawer out of their dresser to use as a bassinet rather than buy one knowing they'd have to move it soon.

SurferLife
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by SurferLife » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:09 pm

There really isn't much to be done in the areas of what you've listed. The previous comment about knowing your health insurance and where the nearest urgent care facility you can go to is the most critical piece of advice I was able to think of too. Everything else is pretty much, you'll get to it when you get to it. 529s, yeah, you can't do that until you get the childs SSN. We took a 3mo old to Iceland and just wore the child the whole time, no biggie. Actually, if you want to do any travelling, travelling while the baby is still nursing is the way to go. Once the child starts eating food it really limits your ability to travel. Two items that you'll want to consider investing in is an Ergobaby wearable carrier (we've tried others, this is the best we've used). You may have to wait a few weeks to use it, but once the baby reaches 7lbs, you're good-to-go. This enables you to really get a lot of stuff done, and is a great way to get the baby to sleep. Some folks like a sling, which can be used with a newborn, so you'll have to figure out what works best for you. The second thing is rather expensive, but can be a lifesaver provide you start using it from the very beginning, and that's a Mamaroo, https://www.amazon.com/4moms-mamaRoo-Ba ... maroo&th=1 You're going to want to set your baby down at some point and have a rest, and if you've used something like this from the start, they'll probably love it, and it can be used up until the child is 25 lbs, so about 2 years old. If you delay in using it, or wait too long, the child may not adapt to it (we learned this lesson the hard way.) It has been a lifesaver for child #2.

We bought no clothes since we have a big family and they all sent clothes, but you might want to get an outfit ahead of time for new baby pictures and schedule a photo session in advance. Not everyone does this, but it's nice if you have the funds. When we do buy clothes, we go to a thrift shop, there's just no sense at all in buying new clothes.

For car seats, a snap-and-go system is super nice. You can just remove the baby seat and drop it into a stroller without disturbing the baby. We went with the Chicco Keyfit 30 system/stroller/base and it has been wonderful. A noise machine might be useful to keep the baby asleep too, there are numerous ones, and the Mamaroo has one built-in. You can also use your phone as there are many apps. A baby monitor can be super handy depending on the layout of your house. The ones with video screens aren't always useful since it's usually dark in the room, so you can reduce the cost there.

Do you have a breast pump yet? You'll probalby want one right away, and you'll want to test it out to make sure you have the right sized breastshields. We have the Medela Freestyle and it works great, but there are other good ones. If mom is producing a lot of milk, you might consider purchasing a seperate freezer for all of it. That stuff is liquid gold. If mom is not producing a lot of milk, you might consider buying some Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk Tea, which will help increase milk production. Also, sprouted Fenegreek seeds help in this area too, we buy the seeds and sprout them ourselves in a seed sprouting jar. Man, I know way too much about this stuff... Don't forget the storage bags for the milk.

We bought a crib our child never used, and now that he's 2 yrs old, he preferes to sleep on the floor in a setup that is nicer than my bed!

A product like this is super handy and can be easily moved from room to room, so mom can take a shower, work in the kitchen, etc... https://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Lit ... sinet+rock We had a regular bassinet that we never used because it wasn't moveable, where this thing got used mutliple times a day.

This device helps keep our newborn asleep in the car when we have to stop. https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Infant-So ... +baby+seat

Sorry, so much. I think these are our essentials from day 1.

wstrdg
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by wstrdg » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:26 pm

A portable playpen may be more useful than a crib. When the baby starts to try to climb out, transition to a twin-size mattress on the floor. If the baby rolls off the mattress, no injury.

As far as dressers go, we bought Elfa basket/frame units when our children were toddlers (20-25 yrs ago). They could handle their own clothing because they could see the clothing thru the drawers. And no smashed fingers from heavy drawers. We still use the Elfas (they are indestructible) for other stuff.

Spend your money on a decent car seat. I wouldn't trust a used one.

We enjoyed having both a big stroller and a light-weight umbrella stroller. Different purposes/different terrain. Used is fine for these.

And a backpack to carry a toddler was wonderful, especially when the second baby came along. The kids really enjoyed being at adult eye-level, and we had our hands free.

Another great "spend" was a digital ear thermometer. Quick and reliable, even if the child is sleeping.

livesoft
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by livesoft » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:24 pm

And some US states give out free baby boxes:
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shot ... eep-habits
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TxAg
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by TxAg » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:53 pm

I haven't read the replies, but my first two thoughts were:

Buy a recliner, not a glider.

Make sure you pay grandma so as to not take advantage.

HIinvestor
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by HIinvestor » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:58 pm

We have never bought dressers to this day. We got hand-me-down ones that were going to be tossed by my folks and refurbished. They are all full-size and still as good as they were when we refinished them decades ago. We just borrowed cribs and I believe a playpen (S liked to be put in it so baby sister couldn't get at his small pieces of things he was building). We did get new car seats and new strollers as well as some new outfits and baby receiving blankets--mostly as gifts.

Have heard if you need to increase your life insurance and disability insurance, do it now while both are young and healthy and can get cheap rates. Sometimes during a pregnancy the mom can develop gestational diabetes or other health issues that can increase greatly premium rates forever.

That said, we never and still don't have any life or disability insurance on me and don't need it now that our kids are grown and fairly independent. Life insurance tied to employer is very limited as it tends to be for modest sum and end if you leave your job.

blueman457
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by blueman457 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:15 pm

Go on a short vacation (3-5days).

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High Income Parent
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by High Income Parent » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:32 pm

I don't know your age but this is what I should have done when we found out we had our first. We have five kiddos now.

1. Life Insurance, Look at Term. You can decide how you want to approach getting it but go through a broker and pick the best deal from a reputable company.

2. Will: Make sure that your intentions of who gets the child in the event of your death and your spouses death are know and are in the will. Otherwise the court will decide and it might not match what you wanted.

3. The part about hitting up family and friends for advice and maybe getting some hand-me-down clothing and baby supplies is awesome. If you would have asked me a few years back, I would have loaded up a pick up for you worth of baby stuff. Now that my youngest is 6, we've sold or given most of it away.

4. The first thing you have to realize is every dollar you spend or give to someone else is being borrowed from your own retirement. Obviously we love our kids and want them to succeed and get an education but prioritizing a 529 or educational savings before your retirement plan is thought out and implemented is a bad move in my opinion. Make sure you have a plan for you and your spouse's future first. Being financially secure will help your kids much more if you are set for retirement than if you fund an education and aren't able to fund your retirement. If worse comes to worse, you can borrow for education. Nobody is letting you borrow money after you can't work and still need to buy things like food and housing.

5. Disability Insurance is also a good idea if you depend on both your salaries to live and don't have a backup plan to only live on one salary. In the event of a disability your whole family can suffer.

I wrote a blog article about approaching term life insurance that might help here --> http://www.highincomeparents.com/how-to-approach-term-life-insurance/.

Good luck and God Bless, your whole life will change, but keep in mind that you only have them in house for 20 years or so, so take advantage of building that relationship and getting to play with toys, run around and watch Disney movies without someone looking at you like a weirdo watching a Disney movie with no kids :happy
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StevieG72
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by StevieG72 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:46 pm

Spend time reinforcing the marraige.
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Rick Rock
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by Rick Rock » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:14 pm

Take a "babymoon"... splurge a bit on your wife.... go out to eat more than usual.... get take-out or delivery more than usual...

Essentially don't worry so much about your budget in the months leading up to a new arrival because your activities will become much more "home-based" after your newborn arrives. People talk about how kids are so expensive... it's true, but not in the first year.

You could contribute extra to a 529 during this time or whatever but reinforcing the marriage is key and during your sleepless nights with a newborn, the memories you made with your wife will soothe more than an extra couple hundred in the bank.

iamlucky13
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by iamlucky13 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:05 am

SurferLife wrote:For car seats, a snap-and-go system is super nice. You can just remove the baby seat and drop it into a stroller without disturbing the baby.


Depending on the size of your car, that is. Those seats tend to be pretty large, and the strollers that can have adapters installed to accept them are huge. Ours takes up at least half the cargo space in one of the newer (larger) Outbacks.

Be realistic shopping for this stuff. Do you have room for it? How will you really use it?

There's a tendency to respond to the "I don't know how to be a parent" feeling by assuming all the baby products for sale are absolutely essential in their most extravagant incarnation.

It hit my wife hard. I had to talk her *down* to a 30+ pound stroller, and I never even got her to seriously consider the 20-25 pound models, because in scouring the reviews she was finding occasional comments like half marathon trail runners criticizing their performance on rocky switchbacks - my wife jogs on paved trails.

We'd probably be several thousand dollars poorer if I hadn't insisted we spend a couple days thinking about a lot of the purchases that she fretfully assumed we couldn't live without, and skip them or go smaller. To be sure, this was a process of discussion, not me putting my foot down, and she talked me into several nicer items I initially thought we should skip, but I can't think of anything offhand we decided not to buy that we really regretted.

SurferLife wrote:A noise machine might be useful to keep the baby asleep too, there are numerous ones


We went with an app on an old smart phone that was no longer being used. This seems sufficient.

SurferLife wrote:A baby monitor can be super handy depending on the layout of your house. The ones with video screens aren't always useful since it's usually dark in the room, so you can reduce the cost there.


Ours has infrared LED's for invisible illumination, which lets you see in black and white when it's dark. I wasn't going to buy a video monitor, but it was a gift, and now that we have, we use the feature often. Sometimes his cry isn't quite clear, and it's handy to look at the screen and confirm, "he's still lying down, I can give him a few minutes and see if he settles" or "he's definitely awake and moving around."

So it's not a must-have, but it's nice.

bluejello
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by bluejello » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:24 am

On baby gear: you REALLY don't need that much. We never got a swing / rocker / bouncer and never felt the need for one. Our baby napped in his crib, in the middle of our bed (before he could move), or on a blanket on top of the living room rug.

We also never got a baby monitor, as our home is small and there's no evidence that baby monitors reduce SIDS.

Changing tables are another unnecessary item, just get a portable changing mat (skip hop makes a good one) and use that on any flat surface.

And forget the bottle warmers and sterilizers - it's just as fast and easy to warm up a bottle in a bowl of hot water, you don't need more gadgets cluttering up your kitchen countertops.

The only things you actually need for a baby are a carseat to go home from the hospital, some clothes, diapers, swaddle cloths (these can double as blankets or burp cloths), and milk. A warm, fed baby with a dry bottom is a happy baby. :)

myrrh
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by myrrh » Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:50 pm

A lot has been covered already, but here's a couple more.

Start interviewing pediatricians as soon as you can; there are a LOT of well baby checkups and vaccinations the first year!
If you can, talk to all of the doctors and nurse practitioners in the practice since your pediatrician won't always be available in an emergency.

Hope you have a plan for daycare, and backup(s) to daycare; waiting lists are often longer than first-time parents might expect.

Think about the anticipated schedule for going back to work. FMLA leave doesn't have to be taken as a 12 week chunk, it can be broken up to ease the transition.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:09 pm

When our babies came home with Mom from the hospital, one thing we DID NOT do was to tip-toe around the house. We watched TV at the normal loudness setting, talked at the same level, allowed the doorbell to ring, neighbors didn't hesitate to come in at the naptimes, etc.

And, our babies slept right through the noise and din. I can't remember who advised us to just carry on normal activities, but it worked for us.

Congrats.... enjoy the journey! Like kittens and puppies, they grow up so quickly. :beer

Broken Man 1999
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newbie_Mo
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by newbie_Mo » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:28 pm

bluejello wrote:On baby gear: you REALLY don't need that much. We never got a swing / rocker / bouncer and never felt the need for one. Our baby napped in his crib, in the middle of our bed (before he could move), or on a blanket on top of the living room rug.

We also never got a baby monitor, as our home is small and there's no evidence that baby monitors reduce SIDS.

Changing tables are another unnecessary item, just get a portable changing mat (skip hop makes a good one) and use that on any flat surface.

And forget the bottle warmers and sterilizers - it's just as fast and easy to warm up a bottle in a bowl of hot water, you don't need more gadgets cluttering up your kitchen countertops.

The only things you actually need for a baby are a carseat to go home from the hospital, some clothes, diapers, swaddle cloths (these can double as blankets or burp cloths), and milk. A warm, fed baby with a dry bottom is a happy baby. :)


All of the above.

NoVa Lurker
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by NoVa Lurker » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:35 pm

myrrh wrote:Start interviewing pediatricians as soon as you can; there are a LOT of well baby checkups and vaccinations the first year!
If you can, talk to all of the doctors and nurse practitioners in the practice since your pediatrician won't always be available in an emergency.


This is the one thing I wish we spent more time on.

Most other stuff can wait until after the baby is born, but there is a lot of inertia that keeps people from changing pediatricians, and you are likely to have a lot of visits very early on (especially if the baby is premature), so it's best to pick well ahead of time.

We really like our pediatrician in person, but her practice is a real pain. Lots of billing "mistakes" (which you may be surprised to hear never run in our favor) and extra charges (two separate co-pays for the same visit, separate charges for drawing blood, etc.), and it's difficult to get an appointment, even though they don't seem super-busy. We should have tried to do more research on this when we had the time, especially asking neighbors, etc.

jumppilot
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by jumppilot » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:41 pm

OP,

I think the above replies about cover it.

One thing I will add is take comfort in the fact that there are 7 billion humans on this Earth and most do not go online to get baby advice.

You'll be fine.

Loik098
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by Loik098 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:06 pm

bluejello wrote:On baby gear: you REALLY don't need that much. We never got a swing / rocker / bouncer and never felt the need for one. Our baby napped in his crib, in the middle of our bed (before he could move), or on a blanket on top of the living room rug.

We also never got a baby monitor, as our home is small and there's no evidence that baby monitors reduce SIDS.

Changing tables are another unnecessary item, just get a portable changing mat (skip hop makes a good one) and use that on any flat surface.

And forget the bottle warmers and sterilizers - it's just as fast and easy to warm up a bottle in a bowl of hot water, you don't need more gadgets cluttering up your kitchen countertops.


While I agree that you won't NEED much, I'll offer a counterpoint to the advice given above and mention that you might appreciate having a few of these things:

1) swing: some babies are awesome sleepers, and are cool with being on a flat surface a lot. With other babies, you might find that swinging is the ONLY thing that will help him nap sometimes. We had both. You won't know until after the birth, so I wouldn't rule it out.

2) baby monitor: if you have a bigger house with stairs, you ok being held hostage upstairs wondering whether your 2-year-old is asleep, or has woken up from his nap and is now wandering around? Wouldn't it be cool to just verbally order him back to bed from your recliner downstairs?

3) changing table: we used the portable mats, too, but does your bedroom & baby's bedroom have a surface at a comfortable standing level? If not, you'll be on your knees changing the LO with your mat, likely on the bed or on the floor. Are your floors and knees good for that? We have semi-permanent damage to the carpet near our bed from being on our knees and using a portable mat to change.

4) bottle warmers: do you really want to run to the kitchen every night at 3am for a couple of months when you could have just spent $15? We loved plugging one in the master bathroom upstairs.


Love the advice to carry on with normal activity/noise levels around the house. I think babies will be better for it.

sco
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by sco » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:56 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
And, our babies slept right through the noise and din. I can't remember who advised us to just carry on normal activities, but it worked for us.


Do this, most people don't figure this out until the 2nd kid.. (When the 1st kid is on their own schedule)....


Baby will adapt quickly, and be a much better sleeper overall....

Ron Ronnerson
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:48 pm

mass88 wrote:My wife is expecting our first child in a couple of months and we would like to start getting things in order before our child is born. If you were to list the 4 or 5 most pressing items we should, what would they be? Life insurance? A will? College savings plan? If we went term, how long should the term be?


Life insurance is important. My wife and I did 30 year term for $1M each. Some people go with 20 or 25 years. The amount and length of coverage will depend on your individual circumstances. We're happy that we did 30 years as it will cover our daughter (who is almost 3 now) through college.

You should also have a will and name a guardian/custodian for your child. It may be good to have a back-up custodian/guardian too in case your first choice can't fulfill the role for some reason.

We got clothes from friends and family as gifts or hand-me-downs and my wife will often pick up used toys and things. We live near a very nice area and will often find "fancy" items in excellent condition for pennies on the dollar.

Depending on your income, you may qualify for a child tax credit. We made some adjustments to our retirement contributions to fully qualify for it. It may be something to look into.

We bought a video baby monitor with two cameras that could see in the dark. That's come in really handy as we have more than one floor and our daughter will often nap in two separate areas. It's totally been worth the $200 and we continue to use it regularly.

We bought a large baby gate along with two attachments and then wedged the open, extended gate between two different furniture pieces next to a wall. It basically turned the entire living room into a big play pen. She could play and explore safely in a big, baby-proofed space and we (wife and I) could sit in there and hang out with her. We used it from the time she was 6 months old to almost 2 years old.

Try to find a nice work-life balance if your careers will allow it. Time is fleeting. My wife and I both work but our schedules are less demanding than a lot of people's. We've chosen to live frugally and instead give time to our kid. We're still able to meet our savings goals and live comfortably while working less than 40 hours a week.I highly recommend such as set-up if possible.

And, of course, congrats!

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celia
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by celia » Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:01 pm

1. stock up on disposable diapers
2. stock up on extra sleep

Once (s)he arrives, life will never be the same! :beer

ysette9
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Location: Bay Area, CA

Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by ysette9 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:24 pm

When my baby arrived (6 weeks early!) we literally had one baby-related item: the boppy nursing pillow that had arrived as a gift. We had lovely friends who stepped in and lent us all the stuff we could ever need and then some. The lesson I got from all of that is you need VERY LITTLE in the beginning. I think it is better to err on the side of little and then rely on Target or Google Express or Amazon Prime to get you what you need when you identify that you really do need something.

The most useful and important products I found in our situation were the boppy nursing pillow and the baby wearing wrap. Yeah, the kid needs a bunch on onsies and blankets to keep warm (that you'll get from friends/family/hospital) and diapers/wipes are necessary. Pretty much everything else is optional. Don't need a stroller right away. If you drive home from the hospital you'll need a car seat, but there is no reason to get the limited life infant car seat. My <4lb preemie came home in a convertible car seat that still works just fine for her almost 3 years later.

I find that this time of life is when a lot of people get susceptible to thinking they need to spend a bunch of $ on stuff, but most of it isn't necessary. Get the absolute basics and wait on everything else.

I agree with others that you need to up your life insurance, be sure you have disability insurance, and make sure you have wills in place.
Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky, like a patient etherized upon a table.

TheJourneyContinues
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by TheJourneyContinues » Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:53 pm

Agree with all of the great advice above!

One other thing I'd add - if you're the reading type, you might want to spend a bit of time thinking about how you envision yourself parenting and reading some educational baby books.

My first child had terrible colic, screamed every day for hours and hours at a time "like someone was cutting his arm off with a rusty kitchen knife" (as my pediatrician characterized it). After he was 5 weeks I read "Happiest Baby on the Block" by Harvey Karp which had some great techniques for soothing fussy newborns. I spent my entire teenage life babysitting so before I had my own I thought I knew everything about caring for kids. Turns out I didn't know anything about soothing fussy newborns!

A friend of mine read "Bringing Up Bebe" by Pamela Druckerman before she had her first and that really influenced how she approached sleep, feeding, and scheduling a baby.

I'm not endorsing any book in particular, just sharing through my personal experience that having a few tricks up your sleeve can be a lifesaver with your first kiddo! I learned my lesson and read some different books on toddlers before my first turned 1 and it was a great help!

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bottlecap
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by bottlecap » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:15 pm

Congratulations!

There's no checklist. Get the necessary stuff and go from there. Don't forget to enjoy it.

The best thing I can advise is to get the book, "On Becoming Baby Wise." It will help you understand the baby and maybe even get it to sleep somewhat regularly.

I'd advise, however, that all babies are different. What works for one may not work for another. You will learn by trial and error. If you are observant, your instincts will serve you well.

Good luck,

JT

Maxdog
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by Maxdog » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:35 pm

Definitely agree with the term insurance advice above...get plenty for your needs... it's inexpensive.

Wills...naming guardians

+one on the boppy (my wife loved this), pack-n-play, baby bottles if planning to use them, convertible car seat that "grows" with your baby and can click into a stroller. Manny hospitals require you to have a car seat in place before taking baby home.

One thing to keep in mind...sometimes hard to do...don't go buy a bunch of stuff. You can spend a fortune "preparing" for a child. In the end most of it isn't needed. Don't waste your money. The first few days, you won't need much. Diapers, yes. cheap soft burp cloths to protect your clothes. Wet wipes, and destin (butt cream) :oops: . Get the rest of the stuff as you find you need it. If you go buy what you think you will need first, you likely will just end up with a lot of "stuff."

We skipped pacifiers.

Holy cow...I do remember rushing to the store one Sunday afternoon cause the crying just wouldn't stop. And the usual drive around the block wasn't working. Man, that swing did the trick. I wouldn't buy one now...just put that in your back pocket for later. No reason to spend the money if you never have a need.

Maxdog
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by Maxdog » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:37 pm

Agree with bottlecap on having a sleep plan soon after you get home. Babys will start to sleep through the night sooner if you plan for it. Really helps if yall are all getting sleep at night.

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FelixTheCat
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by FelixTheCat » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:00 pm

In the next two months...
Sleep in for the next two months.
Bring a bag of coins. You will be eating out of the vending machine on delivery day.
Bassinet, Car Seat & Stroller. Know how to install the car seat before the kid is born. Practice, practice, practice.
Kid prep items such as diapers, diaper cream, infant clothes, etc.
Life insurance is such a dreary subject. How much do you need in case Mom or Dad passes? Does either want to be a stay-at-home parent? I would think in multiples of millions.

You got some time but get it done.
Trust. What happens in case Mom and Dad passes? Who will take care of the little one? Who controls your child's inheritance?
Felix is a wonderful, wonderful cat.

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rcjchicity
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by rcjchicity » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:35 pm

As a couple of other posters have mentioned, getting enough sleep for yourself becomes paramount in being able to take care of the baby (as well as yourself, and your relationship with your spouse)

I also recommend "Happiest Baby on the Block" (we rented it as a video on Netflix), and the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child". Our first child is naturally a champion sleeper (although she didn't start out that way), but the second one, not so much. We hired a sleep consultant and the biggest piece of advice she gave us was to put babies down when they're ready for naps/bedtime awake. It allows babies to teach themselves how to get back to sleep when they wake up in the middle of the night (once they're big enough to stop night feedings). That's $500 worth of advice for you. :D

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celia
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by celia » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:41 pm

If a friend hosts a baby shower for you, you should be just about set.

Pack a small suitcase or plastic bag for clothes that mommy and baby will wear home. Leave it at home until discharge day.

We were getting ready to move out of our house for remodeling when the last one was born. Everything from the older kids was in storage. But we pulled a drawer out of the dresser and put it on the floor in our bedroom with a towel?? at the bottom. It made a nice bed for the baby and we weren't likely to step on the little one.

Be sure you both sign up for birthing classes, usually through the hospital. Know that the ob-gyn your wife sees for 9 months may not be the doctor who delivers the baby, but most hospitals have ob-gyn staff there 24-7 . (Babies don't read the schedule to see when they are expected.)

Texanbybirth
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by Texanbybirth » Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:51 pm

get a solid will in place, especially now that you'll soon have a beneficiary. find an attorney to start one for you, and then finish it once baby arrives (names, etc.).

boost life insurance to ~10x annual earnings for each worker. you didn't say your age, but 30 years is probably good enough, maybe even 20. (if y'all have been financially savvy, then you'll probably be out of the woods in 20 years.)

college savings? ha! give it a couple of years, but try to set aside some cash for baby once they're born. that'll make the hit to your budget more "normal". some people post about starting a 529 for kids they're planning for in the future; it's really out of control.

a babymoon, especially for your first kid, is a fantastic idea. i recommend at least 4 days (take friday and monday off for travel), and go somewhere at least 4-5 hours drive (2 hours plane ride) away. your life is going to change in a way you cannot possibly even try to fathom soon, so enjoy your alone time with your wife while you can. personally, we can't afford to take trips every year, but we make certain to spend date nights and other alone time frequently. it's vital for your marriage. (if you breastfeed, i don't know how you'll do it the first year anyway.)

kids aren't really that expensive, especially if your wife breastfeeds, for about a year or two. you can splurge all you want, but just remember that buy buy baby makes bookoos of money with their flashy 20% coupons with the "most advanced stroller system" crap. it sounds like everyone on this thread agrees with that.

we didn't like the Baby Wise approach to handling baby. i'd take the recommendations with a grain of salt, and definitely talk to your closest family (sisters and brothers) and friends about this kind of stuff.

Congrats! Aside from my wife, our kids are the most awesome thing to happen to me in my almost 32 years of life. Welcome (soon) to the club! :beer

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bottlecap
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by bottlecap » Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:39 pm

Texanbybirth wrote:we didn't like the Baby Wise approach to handling baby. i'd take the recommendations with a grain of salt, and definitely talk to your closest family (sisters and brothers) and friends about this kind of stuff.


It's a love it or hate it book. Most love it, a certain group of people hate it.

However, I still recommend it to all, as it has not only a brief history of the subject and what has been taught over the years, but it gives you some key concepts, such as letting the baby learn how to fall asleep, as another poster's sleep counselor recommended.

Another key concept is getting the baby on a schedule. That is a life-saver.

It's also important to note that not all of the concepts need to be followed in the book.

We followed about 75% of it. It worked like a charm and within two weeks had our first sleeping through the night right a 2 months. The success was less stark with our second child, but it was still effective. But every baby is different and our second will just never be as good of a sleeper as the first.

Whatever the reason, our children sleep far better than most of our friends' and family's kids, and I'm much happier!

JT

TheJourneyContinues
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Re: Child Planning Checklist

Post by TheJourneyContinues » Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:20 pm

bottlecap wrote:It's also important to note that not all of the concepts need to be followed in the book


Agreed! The Baby wise approach wouldn't have worked for my kid, but you never know what kind of kid you're going to get, so it's great to have different techniques from different books/friends/movies/whatever you can try! I think it's important to have multiple perspectives because if you only get advice from your sister whose kids were all awesome sleepers and yours just isn't... well it can be easy to feel hopeless!

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