Question: My friends who are pregnant are doing all kinds of prep for baby: childbirth classes, visiting the labor & delivery ward at the hospital, and choosing pediatricians.
Where should my husband and I start in our baby preparations? I’m not sure what to do first, since we don’t know when we’ll bring our baby home.”
Answer: For adoptive couples, the waiting period for their baby usually isn’t a predictable nine months, as is the case for other expectant parents. Some adoptive families find that the big day arrives suddenly, (for example in a “drop-in-the-lap” situation), and feel that they don’t have enough time for arrangements to be made. Others who have been matched with a birth mother for months are able to use that time for pre-baby preparations.
Here are some tips that you can follow to make getting ready for your baby smoother:
- Stock up on baby supplies
You can start shopping around for items such as the crib, stroller, layette, and so on in advance. Get everything picked out (including brand, style numbers, and sizes) and compile a list. An easy way to do this is by creating an Amazon wish list or online baby registry. That way, once you know of your adoption date, you can click to order right away. Many stores will let you put in your order, and then hold delivery until you call. Buying baby items ahead of time is much better than shopping after baby arrives, when you’re busy getting adjusted to life with a newborn.
- Hear from parents who’ve already adopted
Listen to couples who’ve already adopted babies to find out what their concerns, problems, and solutions were. A perfect place to do this is by listening to Lifetime’s free adoption webinars. We have many webinars of adoptive couples sharing the in’s and out’s of adoptive parenting.
- Educate yourselves on newborn care
Get info online and in books about baby care and childbirth. Take a parenting class, to get instruction on basics like changing diapers, bathing, feeding, and carrying a baby. Or, you can hire a baby nurse or doula to teach you baby care one-on-one.
- Visit babies
So that a newborn won’t seem so unfamiliar to you, visit friends or colleagues with young babies. Or, you can stop in a hospital nursery at visiting time.
- Choose a pediatrician
It’s important that you have a pediatrician selected in advance. Schedule a pre-baby visit to the pediatirican’s office; it will allow you to ask questions and share concerns about adopting or becoming a parent.
- Consider adoptive breastfeeding
Some adoptive mothers are able to breastfeed their babies. If you’re interested, we suggest consulting with your gynecologist.
As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.