The birth of a child is a moment of intense happiness, shared by both the parents and the family. But in practical terms, you need to make sure that you take the time to get ready for the arrival of your new baby, and to take all the necessary steps.
Let’s have a look at some of the important things to remember.
Step 1: inform your employer
It is up to you to choose the right time to tell your employer that you are pregnant. You should inform your employer by recorded delivery letter with acknowledgement of receipt. Alternatively, you can deliver the letter by hand and make sure you keep a copy signed by your employer. In the letter you should indicate the anticipated date of the birth and the expected dates of your maternity leave. Enclose a pregnancy certificate from your doctor.
As soon as your employer receives your pregnancy certificate, you cannot be dismissed until 12 weeks after the birth. If you take parental leave, you will be protected for longer.
You are entitled to eight weeks’ prenatal maternity leave and eight weeks’ postnatal maternity leave. Postnatal maternity leave can be extended by four weeks if the baby is born prematurely (before the 37th week), in the event of a multiple birth or if breastfeeding. The employee concerned is prohibited from working during maternity leave. If the baby is born before the due date, unused prenatal leave days are carried forward to postnatal leave.
During your pregnancy, you must attend certain medical check-ups. You are allowed time off work to go to these if necessary.
During your pregnancy, you must attend five medical check-ups and one dental check-up. All pregnant women are allowed time off work to go to these check-ups if they can only be done during working hours. This time off is considered to be an integral part of your usual working hours and is paid as such.
Step 2: start planning for childcare
Childcare is frequently something of a minefield for parents. Finding a suitable childcare centre can take up a lot of time and energy, not to mention the cost. You need to start looking as soon as you can. Demand for infant care centres is greater than the supply available. For this reason we recommend that you start looking after the third month of your pregnancy. All of the information you need regarding government-registered and non-government registered childcare centres, parental assistants (Dageselteren) and after-school care centres is available on the website guichet.public.lu.
Cosy as it may be, your home could be full of dangers for your baby. Remember to baby-proof it!
A childminder can also look after your child until the age of six. Childminders usually work at the parents’ home, and can take over caring for your child for a few hours or for the whole day. Many childminders are independent and are paid directly by the parents. However, others may be employed by an organisation such as a crèche, or daycare centre. Rather than relying on your personal impression, use a registered childminder. If you can, try to get references from parents who have already used the services of the person concerned.
Step 3: prepare your home
There is more to getting your home ready for your baby than choosing a colour for his or her bedroom. Cosy as it may be, your home could be full of dangers for your baby. A baby may not move much in the first few weeks, but will soon be crawling left, right and centre. Remember to baby-proof your home! In particular, you should:
- Install a safety gate if you have stairs, so that you can let your baby explore the house without risking a fall. Make sure it closes firmly so that your child will not be able to just pull it open. Be sure to choose a gate that meets European safety standards;
- Fit electric socket covers. Children have a peculiar fascination for electric sockets and love poking their fingers and other objects into them. You must therefore buy vacuum or key-operated socket covers and remember to hide electric cables behind furniture;
- Make corners of tables and doors safe. Your child could get hurt by the corners of tables, cupboard doors and drawers. Fit protectors to the corners of your furniture so that your baby will not get hurt by bumping into them. For the same reason, fit cupboard and drawer locks.
- Keep small objects out of the reach of little hands. Children will happily put anything they lay their hands on in their mouths. Keep an eye on them and place objects that they could swallow out of reach.
This is of course just an example of some of the precautions to take and the list will keep growing!
Step 4: preparing a baby supply checklist
Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare a baby supply checklist. You really need plenty of time to think about and prepare a list of the most important things you will need for your baby and yourself. Ask friends for advice or make an appointment with specialist shops that offer a baby supply checklist service, preferably when the shop is not busy.
Do not hesitate to test the various products, to see how they compare in use. There is no point buying a top-of-the-range pram if you are unable to fold it up on your own. First make a list of the items you will need for the first few months after the birth. Invite friends and family who would enjoy helping you choose the items on your list.
To save money, remember to ask friends who already have children for help. Their attics are probably overflowing with unwanted items that would be of great use to you.
Step 5: prepare for your child’s future
The earlier you start saving for your child’s future, the better you will be able to provide for them when they really need it. So how do you go about this? We have made a list of several savings solutions for children that can help.
Now that you’ve sorted all of that out, it’s time to focus on you and your child. Don’t forget to breathe!