The Ultimate How-to Guide for Dads-to-Be

by | Sep 8, 2016 | Adoptive Families Blog


It’s a good idea to get all the info on how to be a dad that you can before you bring your baby home. The skills needed to be a parent might not come easy, and some tasks aren’t that obvious either.  Read on to learn the skills you’ll need to develop as a dad. Think of this as your chance to get ahead of the game! Before you bring your baby home through adoption, learn:

What to pack in a diaper bag. Important items to have in your baby’s diaper bag include bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, at least one change of clothing, and a burp rag. Also consider packing a wet bag for soiled and wet diapers and other items. Other helpful items may be hand sanitizer, a changing pad, a pacifier, and baby toys or books.

How much a newborn baby should drink. A newborn’s stomach is very tiny, so the amount they need at each feeding is pretty small. By three days old, your baby’s stomach is about the size of a ping pong ball, and can hold about one ounce. At ten days old, his or her stomach grows to the size of an egg and can hold about two ounces. If your baby is fussy after a feeding, try burping them and offering the bottle again.

How to install a car seat. Install your baby’s car seat as soon as you’re in an adoption match with a birth mother. That way, when you travel for the adoption, it’ll be one less thing to worry about. If the instructions are too confusing, try looking for video tutorials. And, visit your local Child Car Seat Inspection Station. You can locate one near you by visiting  You’ll probably want to get two bases for the infant car seat, one for each of your cars. 

How to swaddle your baby. At the hospital, ask the nurse how to swaddle a blanket around a baby. It’s essentially like a baby burrito using a blanket. Swaddling mimics the coziness of being in the womb, so it’ll help your baby sleep.

Where your baby should sleep. Having newborn babies sleep in their parent’s room is what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. It could be in a bassinet, crib, or pack and play. This will make the frequent night feedings that you baby needs much easier! And, while we’re on the subject of sleep, try to catch some zzz’s when your baby sleeps. You’ll be marveling over the miracle of this little being coming into your lives through adoption, so it’ll be hard not to want to watch his/her angelic face while sleeping. But, you need sleep too; try taking a nap if when your baby is napping.

How to change your baby’s diaper. Open up a new clean diaper and put it under your baby. The part with tabs on either side should go under his back. Undo the tabs on his dirty diaper, and pull down the front half. Lift your baby’s bottom off the table and fold the dirty diaper under your baby, with the clean side up. With baby wipes, cloth, or gauze, clean your baby’s front, remembering always to wipe from front to back. Pull the front half of the new diaper up to your baby’s belly. Until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off, avoid covering it with a diaper by folding down the diaper more in front. They also sell special disposable diapers that have a notch cut out for the stump. Finish the diaper change by fastening his diaper at both sides with the tabs.

How to have patience. Babies have a limited way of communicating because they can’t talk. So, how they’ll try to communicate with you is by crying, screaming, smiling, whining, and cooing. Sometimes you won’t understand what they’re trying to tell you right away. That’s normal…be calm and hang in there.

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).

Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.

“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!

Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.

I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.

It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”

Read More About Mardie Caldwell

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