Spreading the News
With relevant addresses and websites at hand, you can share the good news as soon as possible!
Alma mater: Most alumni magazines post directions online about where and how to submit news of a baby's birth. Collect this information before your baby is born; I saved the Web links in a computer file so that I didn't have to think about it. Alternately, you can ask a friend to send in the announcement for you so that it appears as soon as possible.
Announcements: It's easy to finish everything except the details on birth announcements before the baby comes. Decide on a design online or at a local stationery store and then add the information after birth. Some online services will even address and send the envelopes for you. Also make a list of email addresses for a first, informal announcement, often sent out a day or two after the baby is born.
Making It Legal
You may laugh when your 19-inch baby gets a nine-digit Social Security number, but you'll end up using it frequently.
Social Security: Your hospital will usually give you a form to obtain a Social Security number for your infant, so you don't need to think about this ahead of time. As soon as you get the number in the mail (and marvel that your child's name looks so official), memorize it for all the forms you'll need over the next 18 years.
Birth certificate: Find out how to get a copy of the birth certificate once you arrive home. Often you will have to go to a local office yourself or pay a fee by mail. Afterward, consider this one of your first excursions with your baby and see if you can find a convenient ice cream shop in the neighborhood!
College planning: With the Social Security number, you can set up a college savings account. Read as much as you can about the different 529 college savings plans offered by states and private colleges, as well as other methods of savings that are not limited to educational use. And don't forget to balance the baby's college needs with your own projections for retirement.