Are you planning to have a baby? Have you started your new baby checklist list or sometimes called a baby preparation list? 10 key baby planning tips to consider before your baby arrives: select the right pediatrician, maternity coverage, health insurance, life insurance, maternity leave, your will, preparing your home, a detailed budget, identity documents and preparing for daycare.
Your baby checklist will have many things you need to do for a smooth transition into parenthood. In this post we are going to focus on the 10 key baby planning tips mentioned above.
The decisions you make today will affect you and your baby’s future. You need to start planning right now.
Here are 10 key steps you need to complete before your bundle of joy arrives:
Maternity coverage is vital, and often ignored, when you are planning to get pregnant. The good news is that health insurance plans cover maternity care. But most plans do have varying levels of coverage and benefits. So it is important that you understand upfront what expenses are not covered.
Health insurance for pregnant women became mandatory under the Affordable Care Act in 2014 and most things are covered under the umbrella such as, checkups during pregnancy, labor, delivery and newborn care, etc.
If you don’t have insurance now, be sure to get signed up as soon as possible so you are eligible for pre and post-natal healthcare services for you and your child.
It is never too early to start preparing a budget when you are expecting or planning to have a child. Assess your financial situation and start saving today. You can even set aside some money and reserve it for baby expenses such as clothes, toys and other baby essentials (diapers, bottles, baby monitor, stroller, etc).
Write down a list of items you’ll need for the baby. Research online and even ask your friends or siblings who have had babies so they can guide you on what and where to buy. This will give you a good idea on how much you will need to save. Some parents even open a separate account dedicated for baby expenses so they can better manage their new baby budget.
Check with your company’s HR department or management to verify how your company handles maternity/paternity leave. This is highly important because the arrival of a newborn will definitely effect your work schedule for quite some time which may negatively impact your income and budget. Find out if your company offers paid leave? If not, one idea is to alternate time off with your partner after childbirth which will keep some income coming in. Make sure you factor this into your budget so you can plan accordingly.
If possible, select an in-network pediatrician during your pregnancy. Typically you will pay less with an in-network provider.
“In-network health care providers have contracted with your insurance company to accept certain negotiated (i.e., discounted) rates. Out-of-network providers have not agreed to discounted rates.”
Check with your insurance plan and see which pediatricians are in network.
If you are planning to have a baby, before your baby arrives make sure you know how to add your baby to your existing health insurance plan. With most policies you have to add your new baby within the first month after childbirth. Timing is really important, so you don’t have any coverage gaps. Verify the exact timing with your HR department or management.
Every parent should have life insurance to protect their partner and children. It’s probably best to list all of your children as beneficiaries and not just list on your policy “my children’. When you have a new baby you should update your policy accordingly. Don’t wait, this is to ensure that if something happens to you, your partner and child/children are taken care of as you wish. Always consider speaking to an attorney to make sure your policy is documented correctly.
Plan on updating your will. Consult an attorney before your baby arrives. It is very important to keep your will current so if anything happens to you, all of your assets will be distributed as you wish. You should also name the guardians or God parents in the will as well.
Now the fun part! Read, watch videos, whatever you can find about being a new parent. Attend group meetings or events related to being a new parent so that you are as prepared as possible. Enjoy the whole learning process! Start preparing your baby’s room and preparing everything you’ll need at home when your baby arrives. Getting all the essentials taken care of beforehand will eliminate a lot of stress.
Day care, one of the toughest things for parents to do is leave their baby with someone when they have go back to work. If you plan to go back to work you must start making day care plans early. Qualified day care facilities fill up fast, you need to make reservations months in advance. Some people decide not to go back to work while others have no choice and must opt for day care. Do your homework, first you have to make sure the day care is safe for your child and then figure out how you can make it work with your budget. Planning early will help work through this stressful decision.
Before your baby arrives make sure you know how and where to get his/her birth certificate and social security card. A birth certificate is your baby’s first ever official document that will remain important throughout his/her life. Make sure and ask the hospital. In most cases all you need to do is fill out a form provided by the hospital. After that, the hospital will send the details to the Department of Public Health to register your baby and send you the birth certificate. The birth registration form that you fill out will also include an option for application for a social security card if you live in the United States.
Completing all the steps on your new baby checklist list might seem intimidating at first. But trust the fact that once you have completed these 10 key steps, you are better prepared than most and can start focusing on enjoying your new amazing gift of life!