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This article was co-written with pediatrician Dr. Diana Cutts, an expert on all things medically- and mother-related.
For the sake of length, I have chosen to split this topic into two editions – the five issues in this article will deal more with the assumptions about how your life will change after giving birth, and how you will feel mentally/emotionally about dealing with a newborn. The second article will refer more to misinformation about physical and physiological changes.
Myth #1: You can wait to find a doctor for your baby until after he/she is born.
Rebuttal: You should begin to find a care provider while you are still pregnant, as it will allow you to access ongoing care for both you and your newborn. Most practices will allow you a free prenatal visit where you can get acquainted, become comfortable and establish a relationship with the physician and office staff. Beginning your search early will help you to find a practice that is geographically convenient in addition to promoting care policies and philosophies that you agree with. Ask your friends for their recommendations.
Note--beginning in 2014, under the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, all prenatal and newborn care will be covered by all new individual and small employer insurance plans.
Myth #2: You can “play it by ear” and figure out how to balance your work and caring for your baby after he/she is born.
Rebuttal: Just like finding a doctor, it is important to anticipate these issues early in order to reduce stress on all involved parties. Start by asking about your employer’s maternity leave policy, as this will help to indicate the level of support and flexibility your workplace supplies to new mothers.
Do research on your childcare options as soon as possible. Because there are so many possibilities to choose from (which generally fall under the categories of childcare centers or in-home care) you will want to visit each of your potential caregivers to make sure they meet your requirements, fit your child’s style and temperament and allow you to feel safe and comfortable leaving your child.
Infant care is expensive.