I have been mulling over all that I have learned from my son in the quick time frame from match to 30 days old… and I cameup with twelve practical things because, hey, it’s a steep learning curve. I also realize that they will likely change. Perhaps if we want a baker’s dozen: be flexible and never say never.
Top things I have learned so far as a new [adoptive mom] – aka Baby Bee’s real mom.
- Stirred not shaken – shaking up a bottle of formula works but generates foam. Stirring or swirling gets the job done sans bubbles. We started mixing formula in a liquid measuring cup and now swirl in a liter Nalgene. Both make drawing a bottle easy. Do I shake sometimes? yes, like a salt shaker [cue baby crying].
- Cold and neat – I know some babies love warm milk but we opted to start out room temp or refrigerated. Should the wee dire morning come when only a warm bottle will suffice, we can play that card. Be sure to get your MIL on board.
- BUD – Beyond Use Dating. The pharmacist in me must reinforce that proper dating is the date and time it expires, not when you made it – per Joint Commission. We use a dry erase marker and piece of duct tape on a tray that sits in the fridge.
- Kirkland formula is made in the same factory as Similac. We can always try the others, if baby doesn’t tolerate. I did my research on this, also organic formula and you should too. Also, use common sense when presented with fancy variations.
- Snaps beat zippers – it just is so much easier to sneak in and change a diaper with snaps.
- My favorite baby app so far – Sleep Pillow Sounds. Great variety of white noise, which I am now more convinced is for parents not the baby. Favorite – windshield wipers (so Seattle). Who knew sleeping babies were so noisy – like little truffle pigs! also, that phrase “sleep like a baby” will forever infuriate you. You will never utter it again, unless in sarcasm or in factually describing your baby’s sleep habits.
- Peepee Teepee – these are real, you can buy them on Amazon, or sew them. Like party hats… but a washcloth works just fine and when the pee is spouting in your face, baby’s face – you need a quick response and more surface area. Having them at your changing station is handy for other uses too… like wiping off excess diaper cream, although I just do that inside the clean diaper now.
- Ruffles out – I don’t know if this is a real thing beyond our house, but with newborn diapers, we kept having leaks until my brother asked if we had ‘the ruffles out’. We didn’t. Life changing.
- Cloth diapers make great mess cleaner uppers – nobody lies about that. However, you have to WASH them to get them to look like the amazing burp rags. I returned at least a package or two because they were so flat and couldn’t possibly be the right ones. Ha! (add lesson 14 – laugh at yourself)
- If you nap when they nap you will be napping all the time, and sometimes that is amazing and other times, ain’t nobody got time for that. Just be sure to snuggle plenty. And get a nice eye cream.
- Do not be offended by people who ask about your child’s “real mom” or why “she gave him up”. This might include your family, close friends or acquaintances. Most are not informed about the importances of the words we choose surrounding adoption – I know I wasn’t. Let it go, but answer the questions and reframe with your preferred phrase. If strangers comment on how fabulous you look for having a brand new baby, just say thank you (and you do look abfab, you know that right).
- Babies have a non-nutritive need to suckle. So use a pacifier when they want it, if that is your thing, thumbs work too, but reliably locating them is an advance infant maneuver apparently. Meet Giraffey aka G-Unit : always there in a pinch. We have a secret back up. Also, if in UK forums (see above), they call pacifiers dummies.
There are so many more, but I will spare you unless you ask. I certainly have learned more about myself, my marriage, the heart’s capacity, people, adoption in general through the whole process, but those thoughts are still incubating. Stay tuned but ask if curious.
Disclaimer – no one paid me to include the brands, they are just our experience. The flashcards in a few photos were a stocking stuffer that I found/find humorous, both in what we have encountered (witching hour) and what is to come (poo finger)