Bringing a new baby home is an exciting experience, but you need to ensure that you’re prepared for the first year with a new child at home. This is a year that’s full of firsts for you to share with the baby, so taking the time to get ready now can be beneficial.
There won’t be many differences for you from a person who’s bringing a biological child home instead of an adopted one. Here are 13 things you can do that will help you throughout the first year of having your baby home:
- Contact your medical insurance to find out how to add the baby to your plan. Knowing this now can help you ensure you do what is necessary when the time comes. You can also ask for a list of pediatricians so you can get to work on that.
- Find a pediatrician for the baby. Contacting them ahead of time gives you a chance to interview the doctor and find out about office policies. Discuss how long it will take to get an appointment for the newborn once you bring him or her home. Ideally, you will be able to get an appointment within two weeks of the baby’s birth.
- Set up the baby’s room. You need a bassinet or crib with appropriate bedding. Get clothing and diapers. Other items, including a swing, changing table and rocking chair, are optional but might be beneficial.
- Choose an appropriate car seat. Many parents opt for the infant carrier-style car seat. Research these based on the safety record of each one. Get the safest one you can find to protect your new bundle of joy. It’s best to buy new so you know it hasn’t been in a crash.
- Decide how you are going to handle childcare if both parents are going to work. There’s a chance you’ll qualify for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This is limited to 12 weeks and only applies if you meet certain conditions. If you’re taking this, decide what’s going to happen when you go back to work so you can find suitable childcare. Some daycare providers require advance enrollment, and many desirable caregivers have waiting lists.
- Start making freezer meals so you can focus on the baby when you first come home. In lieu of this, you might opt to see if a close friend or family member will start a daily meal delivery for you.
- Plan a welcome home party, but wait a few months before you have it. Even though people will want to welcome the new baby, it’s best to cocoon for a while. This gives you time to bond with your baby and lets your baby get used to your home.
- Try to limit your baby’s exposure to guests and overstimulation. While it’s fine to have close family members drop by, don’t encourage visitors to stop in for the first month or two. The transition into parenting a newborn is challenging. This time provides you and your baby a chance to settle into a routine.
- Focus on the baby. Your life will become a constant flow of feeding, diaper changes and naps. Enjoy these times since babies grow out of them so quickly. This is a good time to build trust with the baby. You can do this by caring for the little one’s needs quickly and getting all the snuggles you can.
- Take time to relax. You need to keep things calm around you. Having undue stress or trying to ensure everything gets taken care of right away can wear you out. There are going to be times when you’ll only be able to care for the baby. You might not even get a shower of your own right away. Focus on what has to be done, such as feeding yourself and the baby, and let the rest go for now.
- Get help if you need it. Don’t be afraid to take people up on their offers to help you out. Let them know what you need. Maybe your mother or mother-in-law can snuggle the baby so you can get a bath, or maybe a friend can grab groceries for you. You may also have the availability of grocery delivery or restaurant deliveries in your area.
- Create a calendar with your appointments. You’ll have a lot of appointments in that first year. Put all of these on a single calendar. Whether you use a paper one or an app, having them all in one place will make it easier for you to see what needs to be done. It will also be more efficient when you need to try to schedule new appointments for various things.
- Take pictures of the special firsts, but don’t forget to enjoy the moments. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the camera and forget about the action going on in front of you. Experience the fun with your new baby. Pictures are great ways to remember these moments, but the memories are priceless.
If you’re ready to embark upon the journey of adopting a baby, contact Gulf Coast Adoptions. We’re here to help you learn more and walk you through the entire process, and we’re ready to help you today.