While being pregnant, mama dreams of how her life will be with her little baby. She will also wonder what kind of parent she will be, will she be strict or calm? Will breastfeeding work or will she have to use formula? What parents don’t realize is that they have a ton of decisions to make in their baby’s first year of life that can really change everything. Some of these decisions are permanent, while some of these can change many times throughout the first year.
Our site has complied a list of 20 of the many decisions that mom will have to make in their little one’s first year. Some of these decisions are no-brainers and some will make parents wonder why they didn't think of them first.
Parenting is hard and having to make big decisions can be stressful. No matter what mom and dads do, there will always be someone telling them worrisome stories or advising what did and didn’t work for them. Although it can be helpful to get advice from friends and family, it is best to rely on facts or at least take them into consideration. Read on to know 20 important decision moms have to make during their baby’s first year!
According to HeimdalSecurity, posting pictures and videos of your little ones can be harmful to them. When posting pictures of your kiddo’s it is important to make sure you consider the social and emotional impact it may have on their future (like that bath tub picture mom took and posted on IG!).
If you want to share to friends and family make sure to check your privacy settings so that it is just the people that you want seeing your baby to be looking at these pictures. This is a decision that mom and dad need to make and inform the rest of the family about so that Auntie is not over stepping her boundaries with the rules made.
Believe it or not, not too soon after you have your little one, people will be asking you when it is time for another. The decision of wanting to give your little one another sibling or not wanting to give your child another sibling is a huge deal that is very personal to dad and mom. There are many benefits to giving your child a sibling, and you can get pregnant not too soon after giving birth, if you decide you want kiddo’s close in age.
There are many reasons to wait too, such as money, wanting to focus on one baby at a time, or simply not feeling ready. If you decide you do not want to get pregnant within your baby’s first year of life, birth control may be something that needs to be discussed.
The sleeping arrangements of your little one is something that mom and dad should agree on. Some parents choose to put baby in their own room in a crib or others decide to keep baby in their room. When in mom and dad’s room, there is the option of keeping them in a crib or putting them in bed with you (either by themselves or in an infant bed).
There are pro’s and con’s to every option, and this is something parents may change their minds about during the first year of life, several times. Depending on the family, baby being in her own room or in the room with you can help her sleep better. A rare worry related to bed-sharing is SIDS, but for some families, it works perfectly.
Whether mom is in a committed relationship with the baby’s dad or not, it is important to think about the role they want the dad to have in the baby’s life. Does mom want dad to take baby every other weekend (if they are not together) or does she want dad to go to all of the doctor's appointments and be in charge of baths.
Bringing a child into the world can be tough on a relationship, so it is crucial to be on the same page about responsibilities. Some dads are 100% involved while others come and go, but mom needs to figure out what role the dad will play in the baby’s life.
According to BabyCenter, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping all screens off and away from babies younger than a year and a half! With that being said, mom and dad have to determine if they want to allow screen time or shy away from it completely! Some parents want to entertain their kiddo’s with the tv so they can get things done around the house, or simply because big brother has the tv on.
This is a decision that mom and dad must make so that they are on the same page. This is a topic that everyone has an opinion about (even your nosey neighbor) but it is best that you make your decision and confidently stand strong by it.
According to KidsHealth, health experts believe that breastmilk is the best nutritional choice for infants. For mom’s who cannot breastfeed or don’t want to, infant formula is an alternative. You may have a game plan during pregnancy that changes in week two of baby getting here, so it is best to be educated on either situation. No matter what you decide on, it is best that baby is fed, healthy, and happy. The decision to formula feed or breastfeed is a personal one, and weighing the pros and cons of each method can help you figure out what is best for your family.
As a parent, you need to choose between medicating your baby (if needed) or being totally against it. Some parents have no problem giving their baby teething medicines, medicines for fevers, or even cough medicines for a cold at the first sign of discomfort. While other parents steer clear unless absolutely necessary. Before giving your baby any medication, it is best to speak to his pediatrician to ensure it is safe for his age and weight. FDA warns against using topical teething medication in children, including homeopathic teething tablets, because they can do more harm than good. When it comes to Tylenol, there is always the risk of mom giving too much, which can cause issues, according to EveryDayHealth. Many parents medicate with no problems, but it is best to talk to the doc.
Some parents become very attached to the little amount or large amount of hair their kiddo has. Some parents want to give their little one a hair cut to shape up the messy baby hair while others refuse to touch it for many years to come. This is a decision that many may not predict they will have to make, but it is one that can be important to many parents. Mom may be itching to cut little man’s hair while dad refuses to let go of the wispy locks. Of course hair will always grow back, but the first hair cut is a big deal!
When having a baby, it is important to decide who will watch him. Maybe mom or dad can stay home with their little guy for a period of time, or maybe they will have to search elsewhere. There is always the option of hiring a babysitter (you can find babysitters on websites such as Care.com or Sittercity.com) or you can always look into sending Jr off to a daycare. Some parents are lucky enough to have a friend or a family member who lives close by who volunteer to watch the little guy. Whatever mom and dad decide on, it is a huge decision that will impact the first year of life for everyone in the house.
This is probably one of the most controversial parenting decisions out there, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. The CDC insists there are many diseases prevented by vaccines that remain in the US, such as whooping cough and chickenpox, but there are other vaccines your child is given that are not common in the US anymore.
On the other hand, many parents do not want to vaccinate due to the big risk of side effects and unnatural vaccine ingredients. There is a very personal decision and it is best to educate yourself as much as possible before making this big decision.
When it comes to your baby and sleep, you have the choice of soothing your baby to sleep (this can include cuddling, nursing, rocking) or sleep training him. According to HuffPost, when it comes to the topic of sleep training, parents want their baby to self-soothe and fall asleep unassisted as well as falling back asleep unassisted.
This can (sometimes) result in a lot of crying, and that is where some parents decide to let their babies “cry it out”, which means crying until they stop. This may work for a lot of parents, while others prefer to tend to every time their baby wakes up. This is another very personal choice that may include some trial-and-error.
With so many toys on the market, it can be hard to pick what types of toys you will want to give baby. Some parents prefer wooden toys while others prefer plastic. Wooden toys are non-toxic and are less of a hazard due to the lack of small parts, according to Anbbaby. Some parents prefer age appropriate toys, while others will give their child a pile of random toys from big brother.
It is important to give your child developmentally appropriate toys so that they can work on skills. For example, push and pull toys would not serve a 3 month old any purpose but would be better for a child between the ages of 7-12 months.
If you are one to not let people watch your little one, it can be difficult to determine when to let family members spend alone time with the baby. Grandma and Grandpa will be itching to spend time with your little sweetheart, and mom and dad need to determine when is the best time. Some parents ask the grandparents to babysit right away for date nights, while other parents don’t want to send their kiddo off during the first year.
If baby is nursing and won’t take a bottle, that can hinder grandma’s chance of alone time. Also, if mom and dad do not 100% trust the grandparent’s, that can be a road block. Whatever you decide to do, it needs to be figured out because family members will want to spend time with your little one.
If your little one does not have any siblings, the question will arise on how (if at all) to socialize the baby. Mom and Dad can choose to put their little sweetheart in a variety of parent-child classes, such as gymnastics, music, art, and even swim. This is nice to baby so that she can interact with other kids and nice for mama so she can make some mom friends.
Some parents may be against this idea completely because they worry their child may be negatively being impacted by other children’s behavior or the risk of catching a sickness from another kiddo. Whatever they decide on, it’s a big decision to make.
TheBump states that you can start trying to wean your little one from a bottle between months 9 and 12. Some parents want to start introducing a sippy cup as soon as possible, while other parents believe in weaning when baby is ready. Some parents have their babies still drinking from a bottle at 18 months while others have the baby off the bottle soon after his first birthday.
Parents states that parents who followed a one week plan to switch their nine month old to a sippy cup were 60% less likely to have a child still using a bottle at age 2. The main concern of prolonged bottle use is tooth decay.
Most if not all parents will be confronted about having to make the decision about using a pacifier. Some call it a binky, or a dummy while others call it a paci or a nuknuk. If you decide to stray away from the pacifier from the get-go, it is probably due to the risk of nipple confusion.
According to FitPregnancy, pacifiers can result in ear infections and dental problems as well. On the other hand, a pacifier is a great way to help soothe a baby and help everyone sleep better at night. Not every baby even wants a pacifier and if they do, they may be super picky on what type they like.
One thing that you will have to figure out during the first year with your little one is if you are a go with the flow parent or a strict scheduler. Will you be jam packing your days full of scheduled naps, play dates, specific meal times, and parent child classes? Or will you wake up and not know what the day holds?
This is something that will dictate the flow of how your life goes, so it is important to have mom and dad on the same page about this. A schedule can be good for some parents, while for others it could be a nightmare. This varies from person to person.
When baby starts eating solids, parents have the huge choice to make of wanting their baby to eat home made baby food or store bought. Then once baby is a little older, parents have the choice of giving their baby healthy foods and snacks (such as carrots and hummus or fruit) or starting to give baby unhealthier foods (such as chips, fried food, and brownies).
This is a huge decision because your child’s health is one of the most important things to think about as a parent. This is another very personal decision that parents need to make.
HealthLine states that in healthy newborns, there is no medical need for circumcision, but some families choose to do so due to: personal choice, religious reasons, aesthetic preference, a desire for some dad’s to have their sons look like them and a lowered risk of some conditions.
While this is all fine and well, many parents decide not to circumcise due to not wanting their baby to go through pain, the risk of some rare complications, feeling like it’s a waste of time due to the few health benefits and many believe this a personal choice a man should make when he is older. This is a huge decision that every boy mom and dad need to make.
Deciding on what kind of diapering you want to do is a big decision many parents make. According to TheBump, a typical family can spend between $2,000-$3,000 per year on disposable diapers, while cloth diapers and accessories will run you about $800-1000 if you wash them yourself.
When it comes to cloth diapers, they can be better due to being better for sensitive skin and being Eco-friendly, while they can be inconvenient due to lots of water and electricity usage to clean them and needing deep cleaning. When it comes to disposables, a huge con is that they are harsh on the environment, but on the other hand they are much more convenient. The choice is yours!
Sources: parents.com cdc.gov, dheimdalsecurity.com, kidshealth.org, thebump.com, anbbaby.com, fitpregnancy.com, babycenter.com, fda.gov, everydayhealth.com