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    Pregnancy Online Course: Agreeing on Parenting

    agreeing on parenting in pregnancy

    Let’s Be a Team

    As you step into the world of parenting, it’s important to remind yourself regularly that you and your partner are a team. Before your baby arrives take time out to go through the following parenting checklist to ensure you’re always working as a team when it comes to parenting.

    New Parenting Decisions

    Who gets more sleep?

    sleep deprivation - new parent

    If you’re breastfeeding your new baby and not expressing any milk for overnight feeds, you will be the one getting up for the 3 hourly feeds each night. This means you will be much more exhausted than your partner in those first few months after bringing your baby home.

    If you have not discussed this sleep/waking arrangement, you may develop resentment over your partners ability to gain a restful night’s sleep, whilst you are struggling to re-settle a crying baby. To avoid arguments over sleep, take the time to discuss who will be getting up for night feeds and how you can compensate for this during the day. For instance, perhaps on the weekends your partner can take the baby out for a few hours so you can get some rest (or just to have some time for yourself). You may also decide to ask a close family member, friends, or babysitter to help you during the day so you can catch up on your sleep. The key is to have theseĀ  discussions before the baby arrives, so there is no built up resentment later on.

    Soothing your baby

    soothing crying baby

    This is a BIG one. A lot of parents disagree about how a baby should be soothed, especially when it comes to sleep. Some parents are big advocates of the ‘cry it out’ method, whilst others believe in rocking a baby to sleep, breastfeeding a baby to sleep, co-sleeping and so on. These soothing methods are all different. Thus if you and your partner disagree with how your baby should be soothed to sleep, you will find this to be a great source of conflict in your relationship.

    Make a list of the ways that you think your baby should be soothed and ask your partner if you both agree on the same method. Be consistent with this method once you agree and also be flexible to try different things out, because the temperament of your child will also heavily dictate how easily you can implement one soothing method over the other.

    When to hold the baby


    Another potential cause of arguments between couples is who should hold the crying baby. It is often difficult for some men to soothe a crying baby because they have not spent the same amount of time getting to know your baby’s cues like you have – if you are the primary carer at home. So if you find your partner passes the baby back to you when he/she is unhappy, talk to your partner about what’s happening and about ways you can assist your partner to support you in times of ‘baby distress’.

    Agreeing on the level of cleanliness

    Working woman after long day

    One of the most difficult things for the working parent to understand is why the house is so messy when you have been home all day with your baby. It seems crazy that days could go by when you don’t have the energy or time to clean up after your baby. However, as your baby grows and needs feeding, changing, playing and so on every day, it’s quite easy for time to fly by. Then by the time you settle your baby at night, you may want to just crash yourself. If you don’t discuss with your partner that there may be days when the house is a mess at the end of the day and how long it will stay in this mess – arguments are bound to happen. Having pressure to maintain a spotless house with e new baby can cause a lot of anxiety for the stay at home parent. So it is VERY important to discuss this issue and ensure there is mutual understanding for the person who has worked in an office all day and the person who had worked in the home all day.

    Agreeing on Parenting Styles

    Parents bring the experiences of their own upbringing into their parenting style. Sometimes this causes parents to decide to parent in a very different way to the way they were brought up, or to parent in the exact same manner. It’s important as a couple to discuss what parenting styles suit you best.

    There are a range of parenting issues that can be triggers for arguments, however there are a few core issues that are important to clarify before you bring your child into this world.

    1. Religion – do you agree on how your child should be brought up in a religious context (for instance ceremonies and traditionally commence very soon after birth, such as the Jewish Bris ceremony and the Catholic baptism).
    2. Discipline – what are your overall rules for behaviour and do you agree of these?
    3. Diet – what types of foods are acceptable to both of you? How often should your child be fed junk food?
    4. Vaccinations – do you agree of how your child, or if your child should be immunised? This issue is best discussed with a paediatrician who can explain the risks and benefits of vaccinations, so that both parents are very well informed before making this big decision.
    5. Safety – this causes a lot of arguments when one parent is more carefree than the other. It’s important to discuss and be very clear of what you each believe is safe behaviour and to always ensure the safety of your child comes first.
    6. Your home – many parents have specific ideas about the right space for children to live in. Decide early on the home that best suits your needs and the timeframe for making any changes.
    7. Sex & intimacy – many couples ignore this issue and as a result intimacy slowly diminishes from the relationship. Of course there will be a period of healing physically and emotionally after having your baby, however, it’s important to rekindle your intimacy as soon as possible. This needs to be undertaken as a joint venture, with love, respect, understanding and tenderness.

    Print of this checklist and make sure you have had these discussions before your baby is born. They may feel uncomfortable at the time, but agreeing and/or compromising where necessary on parenting will create a stronger team and a happier home in the long run.


    Help For Mums does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. Help For Mums provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.