Congratulations are in order! You have a new baby and are ready to come home. Whether it’s your first child or your fifth, there are a few things you’ll want to do when baby arrives at home. To help you get settled in and to highlight a few essential task reminders, here are three things to consider doing first.
Preparing the Rest of the Family
Introducing your new baby to the world first begins with a proper introduction to everyone at home and in the family. Prepare yourself and baby for family visits, lots of snuggles, and the newborn life at home.
Talking to Your Other Children
If you have other children in the family, you’ll want to have a special conversation with them about life with a new baby sibling. Depending on their ages and maturity levels, you may have to cater your discussion accordingly. Younger siblings might have trouble sharing the spotlight with someone new. Others might be eager to help. But don’t forget to check in on the other children to make sure they’re able to adjust to a new tiny person in the house.
Introducing Household Pets
For those families who have pets around the house, you may want to consider properly introducing them to your new baby. Felix and Fido may not react right away, but animals will sense the dynamic shift within the household. Allowing pets to gently sniff a car seat or blankets first can often be a great place to begin. Don’t leave the baby unattended with your furry family members until you’re confident there isn’t an issue.
Extended Friends and Family Boundaries
Introducing your newborn baby to friends and family may be tricky, especially right now. There are certain parts of the country still experiencing social distancing mandates and partial lockdowns. Now is the best time to reach out to your friends and family and set any boundaries you have about visits, holding the new baby, or other safety measures you deem necessary. You can always play it safe with video calls if you have health concerns. Just remember that newborns have delicate immune systems, and minor colds and touches of flu can present health issues.
Preparing Things for the Home Life with a New Baby
In addition to stocking up on lotions, hand sanitizer, sensitive skin baby wipes, and diapers, there are few other things to add to your to-do list to help prepare for life with your new baby. Consider tackling these yourself or having a family member help.
It’s Time to Do All the Laundry
Of all the household duties you despise the most, doing laundry may be in your top five. But when your new baby comes home, it’s probably best to wash everything. There are a host of sensitive skin and baby-friendly detergents that are designed to not irritate baby’s new skin. Blankets, bedding, bath towels, and washcloths that you have around the house may need to be rewashed with these sensitive detergents to avoid the baby having a reaction to any traditional laundry soaps you use.
Freezing Meals and Meal-Prepping for Yourself
Life at home with a newborn means sleeping for two or three hours at a time and not having much energy for anything else for a few weeks. But you don’t want to forget to eat, even if you don’t feel like preparing a meal. Instead, consider freezing meals or meal-prepping for quick dinners. And if you don’t have the time or energy to prepare, cooking and freezing portions of pasta, soups, and casseroles is something friends and family can certainly help do.
Keep the Phone and Camera Batteries Charged
These first few weeks and months with a new baby are priceless. And while you may be consumed with feeding, bathing, and changing diapers, don’t forget to take pictures. Have your camera batteries always charged, and take as many photos as you can. You often hear how quickly time flies within the first year of life. It’s true. Don’t miss a single coo, and don’t be afraid to video the crying. These moments will soon fade, and you’ll be glad to have memorialized as much as you could.
Getting Your New Baby’s Affairs in Order
In addition to the home life and sentimental steps to take in adjusting with a new baby, there is some official business you’ll need to attend to as well. Here are a few critical things you’ll want to do when you first get home with baby to help get his or her tiny affairs in order.
Prepare a Calendar of Pediatrician Appointments
Consider designating a baby calendar to document upcoming pediatrician appointments and growth metrics. Some doctors have varying schedules based on your new baby’s health at birth. However, in general, the American Academy of Pediatrics typically recommends checkups three to five days after delivery. Subsequent health screenings usually occur then at one, two, four, six, nine, 12, 18, and 24 months.
Baby Needs a Social Security Number
If your new baby was born at the hospital, you were probably asked if you wanted to apply for a social security number when you provided information for the birth certificate. But if you did not do so then, or have yet to do it, your new baby will need a number. A local social security administration office can help get the process started. It may take four to six weeks for your new baby’s card to arrive in the mail.
Adding Baby to Your Health Insurance Plan
Adding a newborn baby to the family is considered a qualifying life event and presents new parents an opportunity to opt for a new health insurance plan on the Marketplace. For those who are covered under an employer’s group plan, you will also need to add your baby to your existing coverage. There are usually time limits for these special enrollment periods, but making sure your new baby has health insurance might just be the most important step you should take first.
Bringing a new baby into the world is a life-changing and rewarding event like none you’ll ever experience. But don’t forget to take care of these few things when you first come home. And when you’re ready to re-evaluate your health insurance plans, browse with W3ll. We can help you calculate any premium tax credits for which your new family dynamic might be eligible, as well as navigate the available plans to uncover the best for you.