Whether you only have one kid or you have several, sometimes baby fever comes knocking and you start to wonder if you should have another baby. You think about those sweet little fingers and toes, teeny tiny baby clothes, and that oh-so-wonderful newborn smell. While all those things are great, there are a lot of other things to think about before deciding to bring another life into the world and into your family.
If you or your spouse have got babies on the mind, here are some things to consider before deciding to add another member to your family:
Your Financial Situation
As much as it would be nice if love could take care of everything, it can’t take care of the bills. Just by having your previous children, you know that having a baby is costly, from the pregnancy care appointments, hospital costs, and setting up house — and those are just the “one time” costs. Recurring costs include diapers, formula (if you decided not to breastfeed, or breastfeeding doesn’t work out), possible daycare, and more depending on your family’s situation. And this is just the first year of life; you need to account for how much more per year you’re going to need to increase your budget to accommodate your increased family size.
If you had a baby in the last few years, you likely still have a lot of the big-ticket baby items in your home. Hanging on to these items if you’re thinking about adding to your family will save you a lot of money, and that can be reflected in your budget assessment. Items like cribs, non-expired car seats, strollers, toys, and even clothes are all great items to hold on to if you are still considering having more children.
You also need to be financially prepared for unexpected and possibly serious health costs. Everyone hopes to have a healthy baby and that their children continue to be healthy throughout their lives, but unfortunately that is not always the case. You need to ensure that you have significant emergency savings and an excellent family health insurance plan to guarantee that if something (God forbid) serious happens, you will not be caught unprepared.
It’s an unfortunate truth that with each passing year we all get older … and a little more worn out. That second part is especially true with each extra kid you have. We love them, but kids are exhausting! You might be thinking about all those sweet sleepy and calm times, but also think about all the cholicy times, the week-long flu times, and the “I’m throwing a giant fit because my chicken nugget is touching my mac and cheese” times. You need to decide if you are up for all those times again, especially with multiple kids about.
Also, think about if you are up for the nine-month hormonal body rollercoaster again. Morning sickness, extreme mood swings, wacky cravings, chronic back aches, peeing 20 times a day, semi-permanent exhaustion, among countless other things are all on the table again. The older we get, the harder pregnancy is on our bodies, and taking all this into account is important to your decision-making process.
Whether or not you’ll breast feed is another stamina-based decision. There are several benefits to breastfeeding for both the baby and you, such as important immunity and vitamin benefits for the baby, decreased risk of breast cancer for you, and a great bonding experience for both of you — and frankly it’s cheaper! Some downsides include the pain that often comes with breastfeeding, the time commitment, diet restrictions, decreased schedule flexibility without regularly pumping, and the fact that it can be downright exhausting. Factor all of this into your overall decision on adding to your family.
Parenthood is a wonderful endeavor, and raising children to be good, successful humans is an important goal and focus for parents to have. But you also likely have goals of your own that you would like to work on that you perhaps have put on hold, or at least reduced focus on while you raise your kids. As your kids get older and become increasingly self-sufficient, you have a little more freedom to do things for yourself, like go back to school, take on a job, advance a current career, travel, among many other things.
Adding a new baby to your family means at least five more years of undivided focus before they are old enough to go to school and 18 years of legal responsibility. While your gut reaction might be saying this sounds cold and selfish, thinking about your future is not selfish. As long you are doing your best to put your children first now, thinking about your future goals as they grow and become more independent is very natural and healthy! You just need to decide if you mind putting those on hold for a little longer, or if you are able to juggling everything efficiently.
Baby fever might be hitting hard, but before you add a new member to your family, think about where you are financially and personally. Once you and your spouse have evaluated the pros and cons and assessed whether or not you’re prepared for a new addition to the family, you can feel confident in your decision. With pre-planning and discussion, you can even try to time your pregnancy based off of when you’re the most prepared to expect a child. With each new family member comes new challenges, and if you feel you’re ready to take them on and grow your family, you can do it with confidence.
Mila Sanchez is a very involved aunt to 4 kiddos and a writer living in beautiful Boise, Idaho. Her ambitions include traveling the world, studying languages, and taking pictures of her dog, Baymax. Connect with her on Twitter and Instagram!