There are SO many things to do in the months leading up to giving birth, it’s easy to have the baby and really want to slow WAY down and get to know the new tiny human living in your house. But, life goes on, even when there’s a newborn around. Here are the 17 things you must do after you have a baby – a postpartum checklist:
Enroll baby in insurance
Medical bills start from the moment baby is delivered so the getting him or her added to insurance quickly is something that will (hopefully) save you some headaches down the road.
Apply for a birth certificate
Make it official – most hospitals send the paperwork for you, but keep this on your list to make sure you actually receive baby’s birth certificate. Equally important: store it somewhere safe. Or you’ll find yourself ordering an emergency copy to use as proof of age for a flight days before your kid’s 2nd birthday. Not that I would know or anything ;).
Get baby added to your will or other legal docs
This is something no one likes to think about but your child needs to be part of your legal documents, even as a young baby.
Contact Work for FMLA/Short Term Disability
This is going to be different for everyone but if you’re working, definitely connect with your office after giving birth to make sure all your ducks are in a row for getting any maternity leave benefits you’re entitled to.
Send birth announcements
Spread the good news! Minted gifted us with our birth announcements and they were gorgeous, per usual. The quality is amazing, the design was perfect, and I LOVE that the envelopes arrived pre-addressed, saving me a ton of time. There were so many cute choices but this is the design we went with:
Write thank you notes
If you’re lucky enough to be blessed with lots of friends and family spoiling you with gifts for baby, tuck in a thank you note with the birth announcements. I’m a thank you note writer and it’s a gesture that doesn’t go unnoticed 🙂
This is totally a matter of preference, but I always started pumping once a day from the beginning. It really helped me build a freezer stash of breastmilk for when I went back to work.
Try Tummy time
Even the tiniest of babes are supposed to have some tummy time (time spent on their bellies to develop neck and back muscles, among other benefits). Get started by having baby lay on your chest and try to lift his or her head to look at you.
Shop for Postpartum Clothes
By the time I deliver, I’m always SO tired of the same old maternity clothes but certainly not back into my skinny jeans, either. Find some great transitional pieces in whatever size you are and spend the money to have a couple things to wear that make you feel confident and comfortable in the postpartum phase. Two weeks postpartum:
I’m never in the mood to jump right back into crazy workouts but walking is something that really helps my body and my mood adjust back to (my new) “normal”.
This one is SO hard for me postpartum… I’m always starving from breastfeeding and all the unhealthy, eat-with-one-hand foods are constantly calling my name. But eating lots of fruits and veggies and mostly unpackaged food always makes me feel so much better.
Drink a Ton of Water
There’s still a lot going on inside your body postpartum, so drinking tons of water is helpful to keep things steady. I get hungrier and more tired when I’m dehydrated, and nursing and postpartum hormone changes (I’m looking at you, night sweats) can easily dehydrate you. Get a great water bottle and carry it constantly.
Get Prepped – & Pivot
Despite all the pre-baby prep, there are going to be things you find you need to buy, move, or keep more accessible after baby comes. I always add diapers to the car, the stroller, my bag, the downstairs living room, our bedroom, the kids’ bathroom, and, of course, the nursery. I remember buying an emergency swaddle at 3am with my first baby after she had a blowout on the only swaddle that would keep her asleep. Desperate times call for desperate measures – and a little flexibility 😉
Get Out Once a day
Even if it’s just a stroll around the block, getting some fresh air makes a world of difference. Yes, going to Target counts, too.
Use Your Village
If you need help, get it! There is NO shame in needing your mom, a friend, a neighbor, or anyone you can find with a pulse to come over and help you do dishes, laundry, cook you a meal, or hold your baby while you take a nap or a shower. Hundreds of years ago, women lived together and were able to help each other – the so-called “village” was much more literal even 50 years ago.
Get Help If You Need It
If you’re really down or blue, talk to your doctor. Getting help, talking to a counselor, or getting on medication to treat postpartum anxiety or depression ARE NOT something to be ashamed of. Postpartum mood disorders are a result of hormonal changes and don’t mean you’re weak, crazy, or a bad mom.
Get to know your babe
This is the most important… try to enjoy your time with your newborn. It’s exhausting, frustrating, confusing, challenging… but so temporary and so special. Try to laugh when you’re wearing a spitup stained shirt for the 2nd day in a row, go ahead and cry when you have a “what the hell am I doing” moment, and inhale that beautiful baby smell as long as you can. It’s a cliche, but they say babies don’t keep and it’s true. No one enjoys every moment but do your best to find some good in each day.