Most times adoptions take years… and then all of a sudden you find out you are going to be welcoming your much anticipated baby into your life. For us, we had less than 30 days from deciding to adopt to when the little one was born.
It was crazy and awesome and a whole mess of other emotions.
When I was pregnant with my two older daughters I was never able to set up a nursery or do much shopping or planning because I was either in the hospital or on strict bedrest… and it was right when online shopping started, plus we had the dreaded dial up so shopping for anything took days! So when I found out I was going to welcome a new baby I wanted to shop like I’ve never shopped before… I so enjoyed those days, but I also learned a few lessons that I’m sharing today.
Welcoming a baby born to you or via adoption is pretty much the same once they are in your arms, but there are a few things that we adoptive moms (and dads) need to do.
1. Do. Explain that hospital visits might not be possible to friends and family. Everyone wants to come to the hospital to meet the new baby. For most situations, even if it’s an open adoption, the baby is still legally the birth mother’s. It’s her time. Her time to be a mom. The baby and their mom need this time and it’s not the adoptive parents’ time to show off their new baby. Plus it’s the right thing to do. Respecting the birth mother and her time with her baby sets up a healthy relationship between you all for a lifetime.
2. Do. Plan a “meet the baby” party for after the baby’s birth. You will be antsy and restless and you will need something to take your mind off everything. Don’t send out invites, but plan it all out so that once the time is here you can just follow the steps you planned. Trust me, once your baby is here you won’t have the time or energy to plan it then.
3. Don’t. go overboard on baby stuff. It doesn’t matter how you are welcoming a new child to your family, adopted or biological, remember babies don’t need much. Wait till your baby is in your home till you buy beyond the basics. You’ll be surprised at how different each baby is and their needs.
4. Do. Enjoy every moment and take tons of pictures. The early days are some of the most special ones. Whether you are welcoming your new child at age 10 or right when they are born, these are your first days as a family and they are thrilling and challenging at the same time. Take more pictures than you can imagine is necessary. Each picture tells a story and you will cherish these.
5. Do. Consider getting a whooping cough vaccine. Pertussis aka whooping cough is a highly communicable disease that infects the lungs resulting in uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. People with pertussis often need to take deep breaths which result in a “whooping” sound. When you are pregnant you are advised to get the whooping cough vaccine in the 3rd trimester of each pregnancy to pass the protection to the baby. Pregnant moms may know about the importance of protecting your new baby from Pertussis, but adoptive parents don’t get the same pre-baby counselling. When we learned that the little one was on her way, making sure that we were all vaccinated to protect our new baby was at the top of our list. It made sense for our family to do this after speaking with our own doctors and the girls’ (and new baby’s soon to be) pediatrician. I remember during this time there was a shortage of vaccines and I called Walgreens, and they had just a few left. I explained the situation and they held them for us. For the first few years of the little one’s life the Pharmacist that gave us those vaccines was still at the same location and we stopped in all the time to see her just to show her how much her kindness means to us and our healthy daughter!
Grandparents and others that will be around your new baby should also consider getting vaccinated.
The focus on protecting infants from pertussis is because infants are at greatest risk of serious complications from whooping cough- even death, especially within the first 6 months of life. Most babies get infected by those around them including grandparents and about half of babies under age of 1 who have whooping cough must be hospitalized.
If getting a pertussis vaccine is the right decision for your family, Walgreens is a great place to get it. Walgreens offers whooping cough vaccines whenever the pharmacy is open with no appointment necessary.
Walgreens has partnered with the United Nation’s Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign to launch “Get a Shot. Give a Shot”*. When you get a whooping cough (or any other immunization (besides flu) at Walgreens, Walgreens will donate a life-saving vaccine to a child in need. (Walgreens.com/getashot).
What is your best new baby tip?
*Donation currently valid for non-flu vaccinations. Aggregate donation of up to $1 million. Vaccines subject to availability. State-, age- and health-related restrictions may apply.