Your baby today
This week is something of a landmark in your baby's development. Although a baby born at this stage would still need help with breathing, the lungs have matured to an extent that survival chances outside the uterus are significantly better than earlier in the pregnancy.
It's never too early to start thinking about the financial implications of maternity leave, and whether to return to work.
When you're on maternity leave, it may be the first occasion that you haven't worked for a long time. This change can be quite daunting, even though you know you'll soon be busy taking care of a baby. Depending on your employer, you'll be entitled to varying amounts of pay during your maternity leave. Every company has a different maternity leave policy. You may get paid or unpaid leave for a specific number of weeks or you may be able to use sick days or vacation days. Ask a human resources representative about your options. Depending on your partner's employer, he may be eligible for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which means he could get 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Some companies are more generous than others, offering a percentage of your salary during your maternity leave. Going on maternity leave may cause a significant drop in your income. You should talk to your partner about how much money will be coming in and going out and how you will manage a change in your finances.
Even though it's a long way in the future, you might also start thinking about plans for working after the baby is born. You may think that you have no real option financially and have to return full time, but explore the possibilities of working more flexibly, or working part time, or from home one or two days a week. You may also want to start thinking about your child-care options (see You are 32 Weeks and 6 Days).
Should you opt for disposables (use once, then throw away) or cloth (wash, dry, and use again)?
- Disposable diapers are slim fitting, super absorbent, and will keep your baby dry, even overnight. However, they cost more (by some estimates, up to $1,000 per child by the time you start potty training) and there's the landfill factor to consider. Eco-friendly diapers, however, are now available – they use no polluting bleaching agents and fewer chemicals are used to produce them.
- Cloth costs less – although the initial investment is greater. They also provide a softer landing for toddlers who topple over. However, all that soaking, washing, and drying could get you down (plus this has an environmental impact). You may opt to use a diaper-laundering service each week (at a cost). Cloth diapers need changing more often than disposables. They are slightly more difficult to put on and take off, but modern cloth diapers are fastened with Velcro, not pins.
- Using a combination of reusable and disposable diapers can work well: buy the occasional package of disposables for when you're out and about or for if you leave your baby with a babysitter, but opt for cloth the rest of the time.
Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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