1) Activate paternity leave
“Your partner should notify his work as soon as you’re in labour and again when your baby arrives to let his employer know he’s starting his paternity leave,” says birth and postnatal doula Lucy Symons (www.lucysymons.squarespace.com). “The assumption is that he’ll take two consecutive weeks, however, there might be some flexibility so it’s best that he rings in to his employer as soon as your labour starts.”
2) Store your documents
“Shortly after the birth your health visitor will arrive to give you your baby’s little red book, which you must keep for the next five years,” explains Lucy. “It includes all the details of your baby’s birth, along with a record of growth charts and milestones, immunisations, contact information for your local hospital, etc. It can sometimes be required when your child starts school, so make sure it’s in a safe place at home.”
3) Register your baby
You have to officially register your baby’s birth within 42 days of the arrival. Ideally, you need to go to a register office in the district where your baby was born, but if you can’t get there you can go to another one and that office will send the information to the correct location. Most have an appointment system, so find the number for yours
at www.direct.gov.uk and book your slot. You’ll need the documentation given to you at the birth by your health visitor.
4) Join the doctors
“The hospital where you deliver your baby should notify your GP of the birth so your child is registered as a patient at your local practice,” explains Lucy. “However, some surgeries require you to hand deliver a written letter to tell them about her arrival, so double check with your health visitor after the birth if you need to do this.”
5) Get a passport
It’s a good idea to get your baby a passport as soon as you can after her birth so you’re ready for every eventuality. “You need to take a photo booth-style picture of your baby, as you would for an adult passport,” explains a spokesperson for the Identity and Passport Service. “Your baby needs to be on their own in the shot, without anything obscuring her face.” Sounds like a tall order? Go to a photo shop , where staff will be able to take an appropriate photo for you. And remember, you only need to do it once, when she’s a baby, as her first passport will last five years. Your local post office can give you the form for it and the passport costs £49.
“James went to register Evie after about three weeks. He took the paperwork we’d been given at the birth, but he still had to ring me a couple of times to confirm some details like checking how we were going to spell her name, my official job title and which year we got married in!”
Carys Drew, 31, from Aberystwyth, mum to Evie, 4 months