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After our baby is born, what lifestyle adjustments will my husband and I need to make?
Q: What sort of adjustments must my husband and I make in our lives when we add a new baby?
Tracie New Bedford
A: Becoming a family of three will result in some of the most encompassing and profound changes you will ever make in your lives. Almost every aspect of life will change, and you may characterise your life in terms of “life before” and “life after” the baby is born.

It can be hard to maintain an active social life as your infant grows. Going out on a date may turn into staying home and ordering take-out food and a video. (And you’re likely to fall asleep during the video.) If most of your friends are childless, you may find your interests drifting in different directions. While your friends discuss current events and good books, you may be more focused on baby supplies and developmental milestones. You will begin to make friends with other parents and plan child-centreed outings. And time as a couple will be forever interrupted by the needs of your child.

You will need to provide food, clothing, nappys and 24-hour-a-day care for your child which will require appropriate budgeting. If you both work, you will need to find reliable daycare, and come up with back-up plans for times when your child is ill.

You will be placed on 24-hour-a-day duty, attending to your child’s needs for food, cleanliness, rest and stimulation. Your days and nights will be tuned to your baby’s biorhythms. You will learn to function on less sleep than you have ever thought possible, which takes a physical and emotional toll. If you breastfeed, your body will be physically responsible for your baby’s nutrition, which places further energy demands upon you.

Although the demands of parenting can be overwhelming, you will feel a profound connection to this little being you’ve created, and may experience a depth of love you have never before known. You may also feel a new kind of love for each other as partners. Your baby will force you to slow down in life, and attend to the wonders of each mument. As your child gains awareness of the world around him/her, you may begin to share his/her fascination with the shapes, colours, textures and sounds around you, and find intense satisfaction in watching your child develop.

Nothing may ever seem easy again. Shopping for food, doing the laundry, going to work, taking a shower and resting all needs to done simultaneous with caring for your infant. Sometimes getting yourself dressed and fed by the end of the day feels like a major accomplishment. You may need to divide up household chores so that each of you can take turns caring for the baby, and life may feel like a relay race.

You’ll learn to multi-task, delegate, and become unbelievably organised as you cope with the simultaneous demands of parenthood and the rest of your lives. Your organizational skills will improve, you’ll learn to enjoy simple pleasures at home as a couple rather than an exciting night life, and you’ll learn to appreciate every aspect of human development. Eventually you will adapt to your new role as parents, and it may be hard to remember what life was like before your baby was born.
Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist