Birth Certs, SSNs, and Insurance, Oh My!
The baby that you have been trying to picture in your mind for months is now lying on your chest. They don’t call it the Golden Hour for nothing. The first moments between you, your partner, and your baby are some of the most precious minutes you’ll ever know. Baby will warm up from your own body heat and will likely want to nurse. After the excitement and exhaustion of delivery clears, there are a few details and chores you’ll need to complete to integrate your new human into the big, wide world.
Fill out baby’s birth certificate.
Don’t panic if you don’t have a name right away, and remember you can always edit it later. But it is important while in the hospital, birthing center, or with your midwife, to fill out a form with baby’s birth information. Most hospitals, birthing centers, or midwives will have this form on hand – all you need to do is fill it out.
Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN).
After filling out the birth certificate, you can fill out additional paperwork to apply for a SSN for your baby. You will need this number in order to add your little one to your insurance or for them to get a bank account or driver’s license someday. If you had a homebirth and your midwife wasn’t able to provide this paperwork, you can visit your local Social Security Administration to apply on behalf of your baby.
Add your baby to your insurance.
This is not something you need to do right away in the hospital, in fact you may need to wait to receive baby’s birth certificate or SSN in the mail. However, you will want to make sure your baby is covered under your policy quickly, at least within the first month.
Contact your employer.
If applicable, be sure to let your boss and human resources office know that baby has arrived. They can then give you any further instructions if necessary for your maternity leave or short-term disability.
Apply for WIC if needed.
If you need extra assistance meeting your nutritional needs, consider applying for WIC (women, infant, children) assistance. Remember that breastfeeding mothers need significantly more nutritious daily calories in order to successfully feed their babies (about 500 calories per day). For eligibility requirements or more information visit michigan.gov/wic.
Schedule follow-up appointments.
Both your health care professional and your baby’s will want to follow-up in the weeks and months following your delivery. Be sure to schedule these first check-ups as soon as possible to make sure that both you and baby are healthy.
Schedule a home visit with your Healthy Futures nurse.
Healthy Futures offers free in-home visits for new moms and babies. Whether this is your first baby or you are an experienced parent, remember that every baby is different. Your Healthy Futures nurse can answer questions and offer practical advice.
Stock up baby’s medicine cabinet.
Be sure you have the essentials on-hand such as Infant Tylenol, diaper rash ointment, Vaseline, and baby lotion. For more information on handling baby’s health in the months and years to come, sign up for Healthy Futures.
Safety check your car seat.
Here is something that you can do in advance, but will have to do before you can take baby home from hospital. Install an infant car seat in a rear seat in your vehicle. After, you can have it checked by a professional. Many hospitals have people on staff trained to check your car seat and ensure that it is correctly installed. Learn more about car seat safety.
Newborn photos and announcements.
It goes without saying that you will likely tell everyone you love that baby has made his or her big appearance. And while it is not an essential, you may want to consider scheduling baby’s newborn photos in the first few days following baby’s birth day, so you can get on your photographer’s date book relatively soon. You can also do your own photos! Babies are extra sleepy those first couple of weeks, which may make for a slightly easier (and even more adorable) photo session.
The number one thing you can do for your little one now that he or she has joined you in the real world is to take the time to bond. Let the housework go, let someone else cook, and focus on enjoying the first hours, days, and weeks of your new snuggle buddy. It is the healthiest decision you can make for both you and for baby!