A Checklist for the Parents of a Newborn

Becoming a parent is an exciting yet also stressful time. There is so much to do and think about before and after the arrival of your bundle of joy. This helpful guide will remind you what you need to know before your newborn and also after the baby is born.

Before Your Newborn

Before you go rushing off to the hospital to have your baby you want to be well prepared. It’s a good idea to get everything in place beforehand. When you pack your overnight bag, include both your and your partner’s birth records. You will need them when filling out the application for your baby’s birth certificate. The hospital will supply you with the application after delivery. You can also order your baby’s social security number at the same time.

When you get to the hospital before checking in, you will need some additional paperwork with you. You will need a valid driver’s license or photo ID, your insurance card, and your medical records if you haven’t had your prenatal care where you are delivering. If you have a typewritten birth plan, bring that as well and give it to the check-in nurse.

Depending on your insurance plan you may end up with a hefty deductible to pay after the birth of your child. Even if everything goes smoothly, you still have to factor in insurance costs. Hopefully, you and your spouse will have saved it so you can pay it off quickly. Contact your insurance company and find out exactly what they cover and how much is your responsibility.

Before you give birth, you may want to shop around for a pediatrician in your area. Pre-cook some meals and freeze them for when you get home from the hospital. Catch up on house cleaning or laundry before you go in, so you don’t come home to a pile of work. You may want to have family or friends who plan on coming to stay with you for a few days to help out taking care of the baby and with household chores.

Along with the expense of insurance, you need to plan for ongoing baby expenses. They can impact your life significantly if you are not prepared. Consider daycare, doctor’s visits, medicine, diapers, formula, baby food, clothing, special equipment like breast pumps and strollers as well as toys and other living expenses. As the child grows, there will be additional expenses such as buying a new crib. The bottom line is having a baby is not cheap, and you must be prepared to spend some extra money.


After the Baby is Born

Now that your baby is born and you and baby are recouping well, when can you go home? It usually depends on a few factors such as the weight and health of the baby. Did you go full term or was the baby premature? If everything went as planned, you can generally take your baby home within 1-2 days. Most hospitals like to monitor the baby overnight before sending him/her home with the parents. They usually have a checklist of health items they require the baby to pass before sending them back. If there are any concerns they will keep your baby for a few days to make sure nothing is wrong.

Another thing you now need to be aware of is child road safety. Not only do you need to be a super careful driver, but you also need a certified safety seat for your baby and then a child-safety seat when they get older. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing to ensure the safety of your baby.

You should also childproof your house to make cabinets and stairs safe for babies. Wash your carpets frequently as they can hold germs and other contaminants and your baby will be crawling around on your floors soon enough. Store knives and dangerous items up high or in locked cabinets that your child cannot open.

Install door stops on all doors to prevent pinched fingers. Don’t forget safety plugs in all the power outlets. Be sure to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and CO detectors at least once a year. Test them to be sure they work too. Keep a close eye on babies when they are sleeping or are near water. Babies are naturally curious, and anything that looks fun will draw their attention.

If you are well prepared beforehand, you can embrace parenthood knowing you have done all you can to keep your baby healthy and happy.