Postpartum Care and Early Pediatrics

Now that you’ve had your baby, you can begin to plan the next steps of your journey.

Lactation and breastfeeding

Lactation is the process where a person’s breasts produce milk to feed their baby. Not every new parent is able to lactate. But, when possible, breastmilk is most often recommended over baby formula for its health benefits.   

The World Health Organization recommends that breastfeeding begin within the first hour of a baby’s life and continue for the first 6 months of life ― meaning no other foods or liquids are provided, including water.1 As your milk supply develops, breastfeeding may last 30‒45 minutes. In this time, your baby will also be developing its sucking and swallowing skills. Once your milk supply increases and your baby gets better at nursing, the duration of nursing may shorten. 
It has also been found that breast stimulation can speed your delivery by releasing oxytocin into your bloodstream.2 A breast pump can be used to stimulate your nipples, or it can be done manually with your own fingers or with help from a partner. 
If this is your first time breastfeeding, you may need help getting started. If you’ve decided to have your baby at the hospital, your nurses may teach you how to breastfeed and pump. If you’ve decided to use a midwife or doula, they will teach you to do both. 
When breastfeeding or nursing, your breasts continue to lactate. If your baby is not drinking the milk, your breasts can become sore and even leak. For leaking, nursing pads can be placed into your bra.  
To collect the excess milk, a breast pump can be purchased or rented. Your provider will know where you can find one.  

Coverage for breast pumps will vary according to your health plan. You can log in to your online member account and check yours under the section titled Durable Medical Equipment or DME.

Father and baby

Insuring your newborn

Depending on your health coverage, your insurance will cover all or a portion of the birth of your baby or babies. They should be added to your health plan within 30 days of when they were born.  
When your baby can be added will depend on your type of coverage. People who buy their own insurance can visit the Qualifying Life Events page to learn more. Those who get insurance though work, should contact their employer.

Baby’s first physical

As a new parent, you play a big role in your child’s health. Be sure they make it to all their appointments, starting at age zero.

Medical and vaccines
Routine exams help providers understand what is normal for your child, so that illnesses can be diagnosed more easily. They’re also where your baby will receive their first immunization shots, eye and hearing screenings, blood tests and more.

See exam schedule

Early checkups can help prevent tooth decay and teach your child the importance of developing good dental habits.

See checkup schedule

Your postpartum physical

Pregnancy can affect you both physically and emotionally. Conditions like vaginal soreness, contractions, discharge and hemorrhoids can continue to affect you long after the baby is born. 
For this reason, experts recommend scheduling ongoing postpartum checkups. The first should be within three weeks of your delivery and again 12 weeks later for a full postpartum evaluation. If your condition doesn’t get better, your health care provider may recommend continued follow-up care.

If you don’t have a provider, choose Find Care from your home page.

Woman communicating with mental health professional using tablet computer

Postpartum depression and mental health

Sometimes it can be hard to understand why you feel a certain way. We can help you better understand what you’re going through and offer the resources you may need to feel better.

Pregnancy prevention

If you’re not ready to start a family or have decided not to have more children, choosing the right birth control method can be hard. Talk to your provider about which might be right for you or your partner.  
You can find a provider by logging in to your online member portal and choosing the Find Care tab at the top of the page. 

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Pills, injections and IUDs

For those born with a uterus, birth control methods can range from the pill to injections and intrauterine devices or an IUD. Insurance coverage may be available for these types of birth control.

Morning-after pill

The morning-after pill is a type of emergency birth control used by those who were born female. Also known by the brand name Plan B One-Step®, this pill helps to prevent pregnancy for those who have already had unprotected sex or whose birth control method has failed. Note that this pill must be taken no more than 72 hours or three days after you’ve had sex. You can find this pill at most pharmacies without a prescription.

Condoms and vasectomies

For those born male, condoms or vasectomies — a minor surgery to block sperm from reaching an egg — are the most popular forms of birth control. Although not fully approved, a once daily men’s contraceptive pill, Dimethandrolone Undecanoate, has passed its first round of testing.

Having your tubes tied

Known as tubal ligation, having your tubes tied is an elective surgery where your fallopian tubes — which connect the ovaries to the uterus — are cut and sealed off to prevent sperm from reaching an egg. Tubal ligation is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.3

Insurance coverage

Some birth control methods are fully or partially covered by insurance. Check your health care benefits to see what yours covers.

Coverage and care

Log in to understand what your plan covers. You can also choose Find Care to browse participating providers in your area.

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1.  Effects of breast stimulation for spontaneous onset of labor on salivary  oxytocin levels in low-risk pregnant women: a feasibility study

2. Breastfeeding

3. Effectiveness of family planning methods 

The information contained on this webpage is for educational purposes only. Nothing on this webpage is intended to be, nor should be used as or relied upon as, professional medical advice. Nothing contained on this webpage is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. For medical advice, or to receive medical diagnosis or treatment, consult with your health care provider.