Getting Ready for Baby

Health Care Access (Insurance)

Every baby needs their own doctor as soon as they are born. Find out about your health insurance options and try to choose a doctor for your baby before you give birth. Your baby’s healthcare provider may be a doctor, nurse practitioner (NP), or a physician’s assistant (PA).

In California, every child under the age of 19 is eligible to apply for Medi-Cal insurance. If you do not have health insurance for your baby, you can apply for Medi-Cal.

All women need to plan a doctor visit a few weeks after giving birth. If your doctor noticed any problems during your pregnancy, labor, or after the birth, you’ll need to plan for additional visits with your doctor.

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Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. It can help protect your baby from infections and diseases. It also improves brain growth for your baby! Breastfeeding also helps with postpartum weight loss and reduces your risk of breast cancer.

While you are pregnant, learn as much as you can about breastfeeding. Share the information you are learning about breastfeeding with the people who will be helping you when your baby is born. If you are planning to breastfeed, feeding your baby only breast milk for the first 4-6 weeks will help you establish a good milk supply. Experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for baby’s first 6 months and continued breastfeeding until at least 12 months.

Establish a breastfeeding plan prior to your delivery and share your plan to breastfeed with your doctor. Most women can start breastfeeding soon after their baby is born. Breastfeeding may be challenging for some mothers. With practice, patience, and help from nursing staff, you should feel comfortable and confident with breastfeeding before you leave the hospital.

Talk to your provider about obtaining an electric breast pump before delivery to support your breastfeeding goals. That way you can have breast milk available for your baby even when it’s not convenient to breastfeed.

Home Safety

Make your home safe for your baby. Take action by checking the safety of where your baby will sleep. Keep emergency numbers near phones.

Check that you have the basics to care for your baby. Many products may overwhelm you. Remember that your baby really only needs food, shelter and you.

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Car Seats

It is important to make sure any child riding in a car is securely buckled in before any trip. California law requires infants and children under 2 years of age to ride in a rear-facing car seat until the child weighs 40 or more pounds OR is 40 or more inches tall. In addition, children under age 8 must be secured in a car seat or a booster seat in the back seat.

Before your baby arrives, you will need to get a car seat and be able to install it properly. You’ll need a rear-facing car seat to bring your baby home safely from the hospital.

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Safe Sleep Environment

You can reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, and other sleep-related causes of infant death by creating a safe sleep environment for your baby. Babies should always sleep on their backs, alone (in a crib, bassinet, or play yard) with no blankets, pillows or other objects.

Keep your baby’s bed close to yours during the night, but don’t share your adult bed with your baby. Check to make sure the baby’s crib or bassinet meets current safety standards (purchased after 2011) and is not subject to a recall.

Newborns usually sleep for 3-4 hours at a time, for about 16 hours a day, waking up every few hours to eat. Talk with your baby’s doctor if you have concerns about your baby’s sleep.

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