As I mentioned in last weeks post about 17 things you must do before you have your baby, there are certain things that you’ll need to do after your baby comes. I call it the New Mommy To-Do List. The items on this list will vary based on where you live and what your unique situation is, but here are some things that you may need to handle after your baby is born (and a printable checklist at the end of the post to make your life a little easier!):
- Social security and birth certificate paperwork- After your baby is born and you’re all settled in for your hospital stay, they will likely give you a big packet of paperwork to fill out. This usually includes paperwork for the birth certificate and social security number. Our hospital also requires every family to watch a video about baby safety, specifically shaken baby syndrome and then sign off that we’ve seen it. J handled all of this paperwork outside of the spots that required my signatures.
- Schedule first pediatrician appointments- Every practice is a bit different in terms of their policies for right after the baby is born. Some practices have the baby’s actual pediatrician come to check on the baby during your hospital stay, others have a pediatrician on site at the hospital and then you bring the baby in for their first appointment with your chosen pediatrician within a day or two of returning home from the hospital (this is how our practice handles it). Either way, know how your practice handles this time and plan accordingly. There will be more frequent appointments at the very beginning, so be prepared. These will likely be some of your first trips out of the house with the baby, so you might consider bringing someone with you.
- Schedule your follow up appointment with your OB/GYN if you haven’t already- For many practices, this will mean a six week appointment if you had a normal vaginal birth, or two weeks for a c-section. You’ll get a pap smear, discuss birth control options and (hopefully) get the go ahead to become physically and sexually active once again. Don’t forget to schedule this if you haven’t already.
- Talk to your partner and plan birth control or tubal/vasectomy- If you’re planning on taking either of these routes, it’s probably a good idea to have a game plan in place before your follow up appointment (or ideally before the baby comes) so that you can advocate for yourself and get what you need. And it’s always nice to at least know your options.
- Add your baby to your health insurance- Every plan and company is different but I’ve found that you have a certain period of time within which you can add them. If you can, give the insurance company a call before your baby arrives and find out exactly what steps you’ll need to take once the baby arrives.
- Call or file paperwork for maternity leave if you’re required to- If you’re not planning to work after the baby comes, then you can obviously disregard this. If you are taking a maternity leave, your company and/or state may have some requirements for you after the baby comes. Know what they are and get them done in a timely manner.
- Update beneficiaries- Beneficiaries are a very personal decision, but if you’re planning on listing your children as beneficiaries on insurance, investment accounts, etc. make sure you change these accounts and plans to reflect that as soon as possible. You never know what can happen and better safe than sorry.
- Set up life insurance- If you haven’t already. Anything can happen at any time and it’s always a good idea to have a plan set up in the event that the unthinkable happens. Some people also like to set up a small policy for their child. I know it seems morbid and it’s the last thing you want to ever think about, but unfortunately these things can happen. Another reason people consider a small policy for their children is because some policies have guarenteed buy-ups written into the contract, which would allow the child to renew the policy even if they were to develop and survive a condition which would normally render them uninsurable. Again, it sucks to have to think about these things, but setting up something small for them now (if it’s written correctly) could allow them the opportunity to be insured later under certain circumstances.
- Create a will and possibly a trust- While we’re on the topic of things that really suck to think about, this is seriously the best gift you can give your family. The less hassle surviving family members have when a loved one dies, the better.
- Set up 529 plan- Or at least savings account for the baby. You’re going to get so many gifts for your kids over the years and it’s nice to have another option if people ask. There will also be people who prefer to give cash. A 529 plan will serve as a great option to save for college. You might consider having someone close to you that you trust set up the 529 plan, as it’s my understanding that when you’re eventually handling all the FAFSA stuff when applying for college loans, a 529 plan can work against you and cause you to get less money in loans. Please note- do not construe this as financial advice. If you are looking for financial advice that is specific to your situation, I encourage you to find a financial adviser that is local to your area.
- Pay hospital bills or set up payment plan- Because you guys, it’s good to pay your bills on time. Seriously. It can be super expensive, but many hospitals will allow you to set up a payment plan. Do whatever you can but remember, it would really be awful to get behind and have one of the best days of your life adversely effect your credit.
- Order your breast pump- Some insurance companies allow you to purchase your pump prior to your child’s birth, but mine didn’t. I was required to wait until A was born and at that point I had a very short list of carriers that I could order through. If this is also the case with your policy and you want to pump, make sure you stay on top of this. And if you already have a pump, don’t forget to order new parts!
- Have newborn photos taken- Not everyone does this, but I am so glad we did. It was a little stretch on our budget but I really treasure those photos.
- Send out birth announcements- Once again, not for everyone. But if this is how you roll, get those puppies sent out while your newborn is still a newborn!
- Stay on top of thank you notes- Even if this isn’t your first kid, people can be so generous, especially when there’s a new baby. Try to get thank you notes out right away, so that you don’t forget. People remember not receiving a thank you note more than you think.
What is (or was) on your postpartum to-do list?
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