The essential things to do and not to be forgotten after giving birth in France
Obviously, after our baby is born, your life will change completely and just before you can start enjoying being a parent and spending time with your little baby, there are so many important things you need to know and do as soon as possible after your baby is born. Let me try to present the list of those essential things and help you out to get organised after the arrival of your baby. Let me present you with my comprehensive Checklist of things to do in France after the baby is born.
- Declare the birth of your baby. You have 3 days after delivery to declare the baby’s birth at the local marie. The birth certificate is written immediately by an official known as the officier d’état civil. A child whose birth is not registered could find it difficult to access health or education services, and its parents risk a prison sentence of six months and a fine of €3,750. Whoever registers the birth will need the certificate issued by the doctor or midwife, a declaration of name choice (if they’ve made this), proof of the act of recognition (if it was made before the birth in France or if the parents are unmarried), and parents’ identity cards or passports. Registration is free for any birth in France. You can also request a copy of the birth certificate online through the French public service website. It is recommended that non-French citizens also register their baby’s birth at their home consulate after giving birth in France. You also need to declare the birth to the Securité Sociale on ameli.fr. Go to “Mes Démarches” then “Déclarer la naissance de mon enfant.
- Organise the help after childbirth. In some situations, some mothers may also be provided with home help after giving birth in France, usually in cases of medical, social or financial difficulties. To apply for further assistance, you should visit the following websites: Social Action Community Centre (CCAS) or Services of Child Social Assistance (ASE). On top of that, each women who came back home within 5 days after the give birth, are entitiled to the visits of sage femme who will help her out. It also works much easier than it sounds. If you have already got your individual sage femme, she will follow up with you once yougave a birth. You just need to give her a call and invite to your place. Otherwise, your hospital of delivery will assist you in this. When you leave the hospital, they will give you the telephone number of the sagefemme on your area. She’ll be an invaluable resource, you can turn to her with any questions or concerns.
- Get excited about the financial help after childbirth. The French government came up with the PAJE (Prestations d’accueil de jeune enfant) which is essentially a set of benefits that simplifies the lives of new parents in France by helping with the cost of a new child in the family. The prime à la naissance is a means-tested allowance paid at birth, which is €941.67. It is meant to be used to cover the expenses related to the birth (or adoption) of a child. In order to receive it, you cannot earn more than certain amounts. For example, if you are living in a couple and have just one child, you will only receive the prime à la naissance if you earn less than €41,425. Don’t forget that if you have a mutuelle, it often pays out a lump sum when your child is born. You’ll need to contact them to find out the details. More information on childcare benefits in France is available on the family allowance office’s website.
- Try to understand and follow the postnatal care in France. Caisse d’assurance maladie entitles the mother to a postnatal examination within 8 weeks of giving birth and, if needed, sessions with a physiotherapist. For the baby, you will be issued with a health record booklet (carnet de naissance de l’enfant) by your doctor. From then onwards, every time you take your child to the doctors you must take the booklet so that a medical record can be kept for your child. Mother and baby can also take advantage of Protection Maternelle et Infantile (PMI) at local clinics. The staff can provide postnatal checks, offer health and nutritional advice and even perform vaccinations. The services are usually covered by the State. After childbirth, there are many compulsory medical examinations of children carried out on a regular basis. The first is within eight days of giving birth in France, another is held in the ninth or 10th month and finally during the 24th or 25th month.
- Don’t miss any vaccines for children when in France. Children growing up in France are administered 11 mandatory vaccines, as of 2018. The first 10 injections should be performed over a period of two years. Schools and recreation centers have been tasked to monitor that. Interesting fact: If a child is not up to date with his or her vaccinations, they will be denied entry to community centers – although schools and nurseries will be able to admit them on a provisional basis for three months, while the vaccines are administered. In case of persistent refusal, the head teacher is entitled to exclude the child.
- Get registered at the nurseries or find the assistant maternel in France. You are probably already a bit late…It is recommended to pre-register with nurseries when you are in her second or third trimester. This involves contacting several nurseries and forwarding a registration form – so start well in advance of having a baby in France. However, registration can cover 4 nurseries at once. Nurseries will typically ask for the birth certificate (after the child is born) and may also request additional documentation. It is advisable to make a decision and register with a nursery before giving birth in France as there can sometimes be long wait times for free spaces.
- Decide on breastfeeding or not. breastfeeds her babies for only about 17 weeks, according to a 2015 study of 18,000 mothers. This is partly due to a lack of education about breastfeeding. In recent years, several groups have been formed to help new moms, providing help and support as needed. Some associations are: La Leche League, Solidarilait, The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, Information For Breastfeeding.
Interesting fact: There are also lactariums that collect, store and redistribute breast milk for babies who need it. They are supplied principally by donations. Another interesting fact: pharmacies let you hire the pums with a prescription from your doctor. Social security will cover the cost for an entire year.
- Not one but more nationalities. new born baby. Usually, it will require the translation of the original birth certificate and handle it to the appropriate service in a chosen country. You need to check with the embassy for details as I guess it will vary in terms of requirements and deadlines.
BONUS: Non-residents, tourists and visitors giving birth in France
Tourists and visitors on holiday in France are required to have medical insurance covering any health eventuality. If you’re pregnant and think there’s a chance you may need to deliver while on holiday, check with your insurer to see if you’re covered. European citizens who are having a baby in France while on holiday can benefit from the reciprocal privileges provided by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
Uff, quite a long list and if you imagine, this is just the essential things you need to do once the baby is born in France. Obviously, there are many more. But let this not spoil the joy of being finally with your little one…enjoy every moment of it. Apparently, they grow so quickly!