By the time you’re planning to have a baby, it may be clear that this is a life change for both you and your partner.

The closer it got to our baby’s due date, the more we had to think about a set of questions we’d never considered before, from how we were going to go about finding childcare, to if our jobs were flexible enough to let us spend time with a new baby.

In this list of hard conversations to bring up with your partner, don’t be scared: use them as talking points or discussion-starters so that you find out each other’s opinions on some of these important topics. I hope this list is helpful for you in learning where you have some work to do, or where you’re totally set as you wait for your baby to join your family!


Childcare is a fact of life! When I originally thought of having a baby, it seemed like a glorious time of spending time with a little cutie, but … what about work?

What kind of childcare do we envision?

Somehow, as a couple, we never quite deliberated the decision of a nanny vs daycare. By default, we both seemed to know in our minds that our daughter would go to a daycare, and it was a matter of where.

Of course, this is not for every couple’s preference or needs. We know plenty of families with full-time nannies or au pairs at home. It pays talking about childcare early on, so that you can figure out where you agree on what is best for you both and for your baby.

Who would care for our child if we were unable to?

This question is a little morbid, but worth talking about: if we both were to die (or become terribly incapacitated), who would care for our child? Who would become their caretaker by default? Would our baby go to live with one of our siblings, or with one of our sets of parents?

And if only one of us became unable to parent to our full ability, would we enlist the help of another family member to live with us, or hire help? These are all questions to ponder—and hope that you never need to really think about for real. Many couples choose to have these emergency-scenario choices listed in a will.

Our Home

Chances are, if you’re a pre-baby couple living together in your first home, it’s just the two of you, and maybe a pet. Things change a LOT when a baby joins the household.

Do we need to move cities or states?

Although Dan nearly had to drag me by my feet, we ultimately made the decision to leave our one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, NYC, and consider the reasons to move to the suburbs.

It wound up being the right decision for us, so that we could start a lifestyle with a car, and have family closer by and give family members an easier way to visit us. We miss NYC a lot, but it would’ve been incredibly expensive to find the space we needed in the city, to have a growing baby in our home.

Do we need to change the size of our home?

While we were living in a one-bedroom apartment, I figured we could “just have a baby there.” What I didn’t truly realize was how much space babies need: to play, to sleep, to eat, and on top of that, have storage for ALL their baby things as they quickly outgrow clothes, toys and more.

We were lucky that the move to the suburbs let us increase our square footage from a one-bedroom apartment to a two-bed two-bath apartment in a city that had train access to NYC. Plus, we gained some amenities like a pool that was great for summertime with the baby.

Consider if your current home allows you the space to have a room for the baby, and the footprints of things like high chairs, changing tables, cribs, play areas, bouncers, bookshelves and so many other things babies need to grow and learn.

Birth experience

I just wanted my birth experience to be done with, but there were a few questions I wanted to bring up with my partner because I felt strongly about them. You can use these questions, which can be somewhat divisive and therefore should be talked about!

Who will be in the room when I’m giving birth?

I didn’t even consider that people invite loads more people than just their spouse or partner to be in the room when they give birth. Why would I want an audience? We agreed that it would be just us in the room when the baby came out.

But I’ve heard from some people that it’s exciting to have parents and siblings around when the baby is first born in the hospital. It’s up to you, and it 100% has to be a conversation before you go into labor.

Are we going to allow any visitors in the hospital?

I also felt strongly that my time in the hospital was for rest, not for visitors or partying. I was right: my gut feeling proved absolutely perfect. I used my time in the hospital to be completely exhausted and rest up.

Some mothers, though, like visitors, who bring flowers, cards, things for the baby or food (sushi!). I just wanted my hospital time to be over. Talk about it with your partner!

Bringing baby home from the hospital

I hadn’t even thought of questions to ask about how we should do things when the baby came home. Here are some ideas that might be worth a chat with your partner.

Where will the baby sleep at first?

In the weeks leading up to our baby’s birth, we got a lot of opinions on this so we could learn about the pros and cons of where a newborn should sleep in the first few months. Luckily, we agreed that we’d try to have our baby in our bedroom first.

Turns out we both slept awfully, and came up with a system to take shifts with our newborn’s nights in the first few weeks and months. That worked for us.

If you have strong opinions about this topic, talk to your partner to lay out some expectations and then put it into practice when baby comes home.

How will we allow family to help out?

With my family being close by, it felt natural that my parents could come over and help with house chores, letting me rest and holding or feeding our baby. It’s not this simple for everyone, though.

Many couples have bigger things to talk through, like having parents or family come visit or a week or a month when the new baby arrives. Make sure you talk through ground rules, expectations and where family will stay when they come to visit, as you juggle the chaos of a newborn and learning the ropes.

Upbringing and education

I had good visions for my child’s upbringing, and over time, conversations came up where I was able to discuss my opinions with my partner.

Do we agree on “screen time?”

This is constantly on our minds, as we watch lots of children be brought up with screnes in front of their faces. From the beginning, we agreed that we would not use screens as entertainment for our baby, and we wouldn’t be buying anything like an iPad for our child as a toddler.

But some families want to encourage screens for getting babies or toddlers occupied during long frequent car rides, or flights. Discuss with your partner what you think is best. (To see more on how we wound up achieving this, head to my tips for raising a screen-free child. %)

How will we include religion in our child’s upbringing?

This is a question for couples who identify with different religions, or couples of the same religion with one more “observant” than the other, or for couples in which one parent is religious and the other is atheist or un-religious.

Talk about the example you want to set for your child, or if you wish to do a religious upbringing or if you want a child to decide on their own what to do about religion. This is one of the most open-box topics to talk about when you are expecting a baby.

What are our future plans for the child’s education?

This is basically a conversation about public school vs private school, but it’s also a conversation about if one parent has always dreamed of sending a child to a religious day school, or a certain type of special school like a Montessori academy for a unique style of teaching.

Wow, there is so much to talk about! With us, we were both relaxed and figured we’d prioritize moving to a place with excellent public schools so that it was a no-brainer.

How much monthly budget do we have for the baby’s needs?

Previously, I answered the question, “How much do babies really cost?” and the answer might surprise you. I suggest sitting down to talk with your spouse, or having weekly or biweekly meetings to look at your finances and determine how much you can spend on your baby and how much you can’t.


Finances are, of course, one of the hottest conversation topics for new parents. Both when you’re family planning and when you have a newborn in your arms, finances are a never-ending thing to discuss.

Do we have enough money to have a baby?

You’ll see all the time that no matter how much money people have, parents at both ends of the spectrum, rich and poor, are having kids. It almost feels like you can never have enough money, when planning to welcome a baby, and family planning is a two-way convo regarding if you have enough in the bank to support a child (or a few).

For whenever you feel like you don’t have enough, check out these smart ways to save when you have a baby.

How will we save toward our baby’s future after they are born?

Right away, we chose to figure out ways to invest for our baby’s future so that she had a bank account on the day she was born (or close to it). There are lots of creative ways to do this, so talk to your partner about how much of your monthly take-home pays you can dedicate to your child’s savings and investments.

Do we need to change our insurance?

We changed our insurance when our child was born, after doing a lot of research. This was a big topic for us, and it’s an even bigger one for couples who were each on their own health insurance plans through work.

There are a lot of pros and cons about getting the whole family on one plan, or having your child on your spouse’s plan, or yours. And of course, not everyone has insurance. It’ll be very worthwhile to chat about your visions.

Our jobs and careers

As we found out when we had a baby, the world changes completely when you have a new person in the family. You are no longer just “you,” and work becomes harder.

Do we need to search for new jobs that allow more flexibility?

If you both have demanding jobs that require frequent travel, long days at the office or long commutes, you may decide to chat through options that would allow one spouse to be more available when there’s a baby at home.

It is hard to picture, but babies require a lot of attention, work, cleaning and time. Many couples choose to alter their jobs in some capacity to have more flexibility after becoming parents.

Sharing our news

Will we share the baby’s gender with friends and family?

We chose to share our baby’s gender. I have some friends who kept it a secret until the birth, however. See what your partner has in mind and if it aligns with your ideas.

When will we share that we’re expecting, with friends and family?

I never knew that when I announced my pregnancy would be so significant to me, but it was! Some people share only when they have to, and some couples share as soon as that famous 12-week mark hits.

Will we disclose the baby’s name before they are born?

We both felt strongly to keep our baby’s name a surprise until the day she was born, but I had colleagues and friends who went public with their future child’s name while they were still in utero. Some people have strong opinions on this matter.

Will the child be named after someone?

Luckily, we were aligned with giving our child names that would keep her great-grandparents’ memories alive. And some families name their children after the living, or after a special person like a godparent. There’s so much to keep in mind, and to decide on with your partner.

Our relationship

How will we keep hobbies in our lives when we have a baby?

What a loaded question: we had visions of how we’d keep our love of hobbies alive when we had a baby, and slowly but surely, we made it work. If there are things you love, like hiking, marathons, cooking or traveling, talk about how a baby can be worked in and if there are any short-term goals you can agree on.

How will we divide the responsibilities required with a baby?

One of the toughest things for couples to nail within the first year is “who does what” around the house, especially when it comes to your new chores (cleaning bottles, emptying the diaper pail, changing baby’s crib sheets, preparing baby’s food and milk).

A lot of this is figured out in practice, rather than in theory, BUT it helps to either have an early set of divisions of labor, or a general mantra about keeping the peace when tensions arise about house chores.

Other questions to discuss (Family planning)

What would we do if we found out early on that our baby had genetic complications?

Talk about what you would do if you found out that the baby tested positive for genetic abnormalities. This is a tough one.

What is our backup plan for if we can’t conceive?

For couples who can’t conceive after months of trying, talk about alternate methods of having a child (surrogacy, IVF, adoption) and which would be the first one to try if natural conception didn’t work out.

How soon do we want more children?

Well, you want more kids? It may help to chat sometimes or openly about your grand plans for what your perfect family would look like. Is one child enough? Would three or four feel right?

What we’ve done is decide on a time frame by when I don’t want to be pregnant again after a certain age, if I can help it. We also have to look at finances when it comes time to do that, regarding adding more kids to our family.