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Knowing the necessary things to do after your baby is born is nearly impossible–until you’ve been there. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try and be prepared.
If you’ve finished all of the necessary tasks in the third trimester–you are probably close (ish) to ready.
I know for me–I wasn’t prepared for the IMMEDIATE things to do after baby is born. I honestly thought about before and after, but somehow the RIGHT after escaped me.
Luckily, I was surrounded by loving family and friends who weren’t quite as clueless as I was. Honestly, some of this stuff CAN’T be prepared for necessarily, but you can at least know what’s coming.
There are plenty of things to do after baby is born–so we have broken it down into sections for you. 🙂Quick Navigation
Forms to fill out
Things to do at the hospital
Financial things to do after baby is born
Self care after your baby is born
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THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR NEWBORN AFTER BIRTH
There are some things that need to be done after your baby is born that have to do directly with your BABY.
KNOW HOW TO BREASTFEED
I have to admit something. I always kind of felt a little weird about breastfeeding until I was actually doing it. It really is one of the most amazing bonding experiences you’ll get with your baby (at least until they get teeth!)
Take an online breastfeeding course (like this one!) so that you can (hopefully) feel a little more prepared for it. This course is taught by a certified lactation consultant that has been doing it for years, and the course is SUPER thorough and explains everything step by step.
With my first–I was totally clueless. I had read articles over at Kelly Mom about how to breastfeed. While she has a TON of in-depth blog posts, it was an overwhelm of information.
A good hospital has a lactation consultant (actually I think most hospitals do–but it’s worth checking). Although this is helpful, remember that you JUST gave birth.
Related: 5 Beginner Breastfeeding Tips
You’re exhausted, messy, and overcome with emotion. It’s not really an opportune time to learn a new skill. Instead of saving this lesson for a thing to do after baby is born, be prepared in advance.
I did NOT do a newborn shot with either of my babies after they were born–and I seriously regret it. Luckily, we got a lot of pictures in the hospital and the weeks following, but there’s nothing like a photo of your sleeping babe in a frog position.
Before your baby is born, take some time researching different newborn photographers in your area. It’s a good idea to find someone EXPERIENCED with newborn photography, as it CAN be dangerous if the photographer doesn’t know what they are doing.
You can try to DIY it, but again–be cautious as some positions could cause you to end up with a hurt baby.
A baby book is an amazing keepsake, and something your child will appreciate for years. The one my mother made for me is only partially filled out, but it’s still meaningful to me and will one day be for my kiddos.
It’s best to fill this out as soon as possible, as the details of your child’s birth will quickly fade from memory. Giving birth was probably one of the MOST amazing things I have ever done, and I’m sad to say I don’t remember a lot of it.
Even if you don’t buy a traditional baby book, just write it down or type it out. The point is to capture the memory.
GET AN EMAIL ADDRESS
Thousands of babies are born every day. That means every day, your baby’s chance of getting an email account with their name are less the longer you wait.
We have grabbed our children’s names and have an email account associated with them. Luckily the names we chose are not super common (anymore) so we were able to choose the ones we wanted.
One awesome idea (which I admit we haven’t been great at) is to write out emails to your child and send them to their future email address.
That way when you give them access to it when they’re older, they will have a stockpile of emails to read documenting their time growing up.
TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES
When my first daughter was born, I took pictures of her every day. I eventually tapered off on it (I seriously went a little crazy with it!) but looking back I am SO glad to have so many photos of her as a tiny baby.
For me, I created albums on Facebook documenting her life every week (later it turned into every month). I love scrolling through these pictures.
Even though many look the same (only so many positions for a newborn who can’t even sit up by herself), they brighten my day to scroll through.
WRITE DOWN QUESTIONS
Even if you have read your fair share of baby books, you’ll soon find questions you didn’t even know existed start to pop up.
For us, we didn’t know that babies randomly stop breathing for a few seconds while sleeping. We made a panicked call to the doctor’s office only to find out this was a normal newborn breathing pattern.
As long as you don’t perceive the thing you are questioning to be life-threatening, write it down. That way you can have a list of relevant questions to ask your doctor, without worrying about forgetting anything.
Related: Strange But Normal Newborn Behaviors
FORMS TO FILL OUT AFTER BABY IS BORN
There are plenty of essential forms that need to be filled out after your baby is born, so it’s important to keep this information in mind and organized.
GET YOUR BABY’S SOCIAL SECURITY CARD
Getting your child a social security number (as long as your baby was born in a hospital) is fairly painless. It was actually easier than getting the birth certificate, as we received the social security card in the mail a few weeks after my daughter’s birth.
There was a little box on the birth certificate form that you could check to request a social security number. You are already providing the necessary information, so that’s all it takes.
If you have a home birth, it is a little more work. In that case, you need to fill out an SS-5 and provide two documents that prove your baby’s age, identity, and citizenship status.
Both parents also need to add their Social Security numbers to the form, as well as send in 2 forms of ID.
FILL OUT THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE
Once your baby is born, a hospital staff member will bring you a birth certificate to fill out and sign.
The worksheet usually includes your baby’s name, your legal name and maiden name (if you have one), date and place of birth, and Social Security number. You will also need your baby’s father’s full name, date and place of birth, and Social Security number.
Keep in mind that it is difficult and costly to make changes to your baby’s birth certificate, so you definitely don’t want to get it wrong.
Most parents finish this form while they are still in the hospital, but you usually have up to five days to get the paperwork turned in.
Remember that filling out this form DOES NOT mean you are getting a copy of the birth certificate. That (at least in my state) requires going in to the health department.
REPORT THE BIRTH TO YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
Reporting the birth to your insurance is SUPER important (that is, if you don’t wanna have to pay for it in full!) We were definitely worried about this, so we made the call while we were still in the hospital.
Turns out, most insurances just require this within the first thirty days of life (so don’t feel like you have to rush it). It could be different with your insurance so it’s worth a quick phone call.
CREATE A WILL
Now really your will should be completed before your baby is born, but if you haven’t, after the birth is the right time to do it.
Decide who you would want to be the legal guardians of your baby should something happen to you and your partner. Also include the list of assets your child will receive, who will make that happen, an executor to handle the paperwork, and funeral arrangements.
Communicate your wants with the person you want to take guardianship so that you make sure you’re on the same page.
GET LIFE INSURANCE
If you don’t already have a life insurance policy, it’s definitely an important thing to do after your baby is born.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of life insurance policies that will not begin to cover you while you are pregnant, so if you don’t have a policy now you MAY not be able to get one.
Getting a life insurance policy on your baby is not a bad idea either.
None of us want to think of the implications of something happening to our baby, but things can happen–and sadly, funerals are expensive. It’s always best to be prepared for the worst (I don’t think that’s pessimism?)
KEEP A FILE
Keep a file that you keep all important documents in. Birth certificate, social security card, doctor visits and immunization records are all things that you will want to keep track of.
We purchased one of these to keep all of our important paperwork in. We keep all ours and our pet information in it as well. I am generally a SUPER disorganized person, but this file has been a lifesaver.
THINGS TO DO AT THE HOSPITAL AFTER BABY IS BORN
There are a few crucial things to do after baby is born while you are still in the hospital recovering. This is where I dropped the ball the most I think.
RANSACK YOUR HOSPITAL ROOM
Most hospitals make sure to keep your room fully stocked of meshed undies, pads, and Dermoplast (these are some of the most important postpartum necessities).
Before leaving the hospital, make sure that all of these supplies get packed out with you. I frankly told the nurses that I was planning to do this after my second daughter’s birth, and so they brought me even more stuff to take with me.
You may think you have enough supplies at home, or perhaps you don’t think you will need some of the supplies they have. All I can say is I definitely underestimated how quickly I would go through my postpartum supplies.
Don’t feel guilty about letting the nurses take your little bundle of love away while you rest.
This is definitely a personal preference, as some new moms just don’t feel comfortable being separated from their newborn. Personally, I think you should get some rest.
You are going to spend the next few months with little sleep, and this COULD be your last chance. Not to mention having babies is totally and completely exhausting.
You need the time to rest. Remember, you can’t take care of someone else when you aren’t taking care of you.
COMMUNICATE WITH YOU AND YOUR BABY’S DOCTOR
Make sure when talking to your doctor (and baby’s doctor) that you understand when they want to see you again.
Typically, a woman who had a normal vaginal birth is seen six weeks after delivery–however this varies depending on your situation.
The AAP recommends having your baby seen within 3-5 days after birth. The doctor appointments for your little one will be very close together at first, but they become less frequent rather quickly.
SEE A LACTATION CONSULTANT
Most hospitals have a lactation consultant on hand in the hospital. It’s really nice to get one-on-one coaching, even if you’ve taken a breastfeeding course.
FINANCIAL THINGS TO DO AFTER HAVING A BABY
Taking care of the financial stuff is going to be much easier if you do it BEFORE your baby is born, but it’s easy to overlook.
MAKE A BUDGET
Making and keeping a budget after a new baby can be difficult. The hardest part is KNOWING what to budget for. You’ll find that there are a ton of unanticipated costs that come up.
The BEST thing you can do regarding making a budget after your baby is born is to leave yourself LOTS of wiggle room. Have at least a few hundred extra dollars a month for things you may not have anticipated.
Don’t forget to add things like diapers, wipes, clothing, and formula (if you are not breastfeeding full time).
START SAVING FOR COLLEGE
Yes, I know it’s a little early–but you will be surprised how quickly the time will go. Not to mention, many banks offer special rates for children’s accounts.
Our bank gave our children their own piggy bank and gave them an amazing interest rate for their savings account. We didn’t start out with a lot of money, but we add a little to it when we can.
I imagine once we turn the bank account over to them, they will have earned a fair chunk of change. That’s the hope anyway.
BACK TO WORK & BREASTFEEDING
If you have to go back to work eventually, it’s worth investing in a back to work PUMPING course. This is another course from a lactation consultant.
She gives you step by step instructions on the proper way to store milk, your legal rights as a breastfeeding mother, and instruction on introducing a bottle to your littles.
PLAN FOR DAYCARE
If you have to go back to work, it’s a good idea to start saving for childcare costs. It can get SUPER expensive very quickly, so make sure that you are including this in your budget.
When I was working full time, I only netted about 50-100 dollars a day after childcare costs. We decided it was better for me to quit working my current job and start working from home.
Related: Signs of a Bad Daycare Provider
SELF CARE AFTER YOUR BABY IS BORN
Practicing self care is an ESSENTIAL thing to do after baby is born. If you end up in rough shape,
TAKE CARE OF YOUR NIPPLES
I personally liked this nipple balm, but honestly most brands will work pretty similarly.
If you’re breastfeeding, expect for those nipples to get chapped. Unfortunately, it tends to kind of sneak up on you. One feeding they feel fine, and the next you are bleeding and crying.
It’s no fun.
Most hospitals will give you some of this proactively. If they don’t–ask for it!
Related: Postpartum Essentials for New Moms
MAKE A CHORE CHART
If you are anything like me–you may struggle with communicating your needs when you feel like you are putting someone else out by doing so.
Create a chore chart on a whiteboard. When well-wishers come to see you and ask how they can help, let them pick something from your list of things to do.
That way you are allowing others to feel good about helping you, but you don’t feel like you are asking them to do anything they don’t want to do. It’s a win-win situation.
EAT ALL THE THINGS
Do you miss eating a bloody steak (ew!) or your favorite sushi? Now is the time to indulge and enjoy those things again!
Keep in mind, things like coffee and alcohol CAN be okay in moderation..but it’s something you should discuss with your doctor.
It’s likely that your house will be in massive disarray for the first few months. Truthfully–it doesn’t get a whole lot better. I have two toddlers and my house constantly looks like a tornado struck.
Decide what rooms you plan to spend time in–and keep a few necessities in them. Purchase a few cute storage baskets that you like.
Our storage baskets included diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, hand sanitizer, a change of baby clothes, a blanket, and a book. We ended up having three throughout our house.
It’s SO helpful to not have to run around looking for a diaper after a nasty blowout.
ASK FOR HELP
Nobody likes to ask for help, but we all need it.
You don’t have to limit asking for help with things like the chore chart, or bringing you a meal (although you SHOULD do these things too!)
Related: Postpartum Freezer Meals
Ask a family member to come sit with the baby so you can sleep for a half hour. Or take a bath.
Simple adult interaction can be incredibly stress-relieving, so ask a friend to come and sit with you. Your friends and family love you, and they want to support you.
Everyone is going to tell you how important self care for new moms is. I also know HOW impossible this feels sometimes.
Remember, self care doesn’t have to be an extravagant trip to the spa. Taking a bath by yourself at candlelight is theraputic. Read a book you like, have your partner get up with the baby, and be intentional with your time.
Related: 50 Self Care Activities for New Moms
It’s little things that will help you keep going during this period with a new baby. Well, that and support from others.
WRAPPING UP THINGS TO DO AFTER YOUR BABY IS BORN
You can’t be totally prepared to bring your new little love home. Do what you can to get ready, but also accept that little hiccups along the way are okay.
The most important thing is to make sure you are doing what you can to take care of yourself and your new baby. Be patient, stay present, and enjoy.
The early days of life with a newborn will seem to go by so quickly when you look back at it. Good luck mama!
Did I forget anything? I would love for you to add any additional things to do after your baby is born below!