Preparing for a new baby is always exciting. When you add in the emotions that adoption can evoke it can feel overwhelming. It is said that it is a good thing that pregnancy lasts 9 months because then new parents have time to adjust. The not knowing ‘when’ your child will be coming is the first hurdle when you become parents through adoption. Plans change a lot during the adoption process so there is never a ‘definite,’ but there are things any expectant parent can do to help prepare for a new baby in the home.
Newborn Clothes & Diapers
You really don’t need many newborn sizes! Stocking up on these adorable tiny items is tempting, but even tiny babies grow quick. And forget the super cute pants and sweater combos. They never lay right and are uncomfortable for parents and babies. Look for zip up sleepers (which can be hard to find), but in the middle of the night those tiny buttons become a needle in a haystack when you are trying not to wake a sleepy baby!
Also, don’t fall for the Baby Detergent racket. Unless you start washing ALL of your clothes in it your baby will still be held against you and therefore whatever you wash your clothes in. Any ‘free and clear’ detergent will work. And if you do happen to wash something with regular Tide, chances are that will be ok too.
Nursery & Home Preparation
There are gazillions of baby products out there that tout themselves as ‘must haves.’ And most are worthless. Sure a wipe warmer sounds nice and cozy. Until your wipes all dry out early, or you have to change your baby in public with room temp wipes and they then scream like a banshee because they feel different.
Babies need a safe place to sleep. And cute doesn’t always mean safe. A firm mattress with no blankets, bumpers or toys is the safest. It is so tempting to get those adorable nursery sets, but 90% of the items will just wind up in your closet unused. And the diaper hanger, it is like wrestling an alligator at 2 AM in the dark.
Newborns can’t move around, but it won’t be long before your little one is mobile and after they have dumped something all over the floor is too late. My advice is Tot locks, Tot Locks, Tot locks!
The old ‘cabinet latch’ locks are childs play for kids who start using an Ipad at a few months. Tot locks require a magnet to open. You literally cannot open a door without it (don’t worry, they sell replacement magnets) and is the only way to keep kids out of dangerous cabinets.
Toilet locks. Who locks a toilet? This is a cruel joke to play on visitors. And if you have other children or elderly in the home it can cause a lot of embarrassing accidents. Invest in door knob cover or a baby gate to keep little ones safe.
And that brings us to baby gates. No parent likes them, but when your find your child half way up the stairs, they become a safety necessity. They are also valuable to keep pets out of baby’s areas. Invest in the nice metal ones that work with your décor and offer a walk through gate because you will have them up for a while. It is tempting to get the cheap pressure mounted ones, but they don’t can be a pain to keep mounted and to climb over.
Aside from that put yourself on your child level and see what you can get into. Strap any tippable furniture to the wall and move any dangerous items. Many parents ‘try out’ parenting with a dog. If your puppy got into it, your child will too!
Pets & Siblings
Getting pets and older kids prepared for a new baby is always stressful for new parents. Having baby items that will be used a lot out in the open for kids and pets to explore before the baby comes make them less interesting once the baby is actually using them.
If your pet is your constant companion before the baby, then either start gating them out of the room you plan to use for the baby’s daily activities prior to their arrival, or start spending time in that are so your pet gets used to the previously unused space.
Sibling usually love helping with the new baby, so have your little ones practice things they can help with when the new baby arrives. Stressing how important their ‘job’ is can help ease some of the jealousy of the new baby.
You spend so much time getting ready for the baby, but take a minute to get things ready for yourselves. Purchasing gift cards to take out restaurants and making some freezer meals ahead of time can be a lifesaver. Also stock up on your basic essentials. Last thing you want after being up all night with a baby is to have to drag the baby out for toilet paper!
When a baby joins your family via adoption people tend to forget how hard having a new baby is since you didn’t have to ‘suffer’ through labor. Which makes accepting help even harder for new parents when it is offered. Finding a support group, either in real life or online, of other adoptive parents before your child arrives can provide a place to vent to others who have been in the same boat.