When you're knee deep in the adoption process or your surrogacy journey, it can be surprisingly easy to lose sight of the fact that at the end of process you really will be adding a new baby to your family. Some pre-adoptive and expecting intended parents have experience with babies, but if you're a first-time parent, you will quickly realize that you have A LOT to learn, and they don't exactly come with instruction manuals.
While we were waiting to adopt our son, my husband and I took a baby care class organized by the woman who ran our pre-adoption support group and it was one of the most important things we did to prepare for bringing Keith home. A registered nurse gave us a 2-hour tutorial on basic care issues like feeding, burping, and bathing a baby. We got to practice swaddling and diapering on a doll -- with gentle critiques of our technique. She discussed how to care for the umbilical cord, and other general information about medical care. We also picked up pointers on dealing with cranky babies.
Most importantly for adoptive and intended parents, the class will address issues particular to your needs. Because a lot of adoptive and intended parents travel long distances to bring their children home, we went over the ins and outs of air travel with a little baby we received helpful lists of what you must have, and what you should plan on buying there. (Make sure you have a car seat and know how to install it, almost everything else can be purchased there.) We were also given tips on what to expect at the hospital, and advised on some etiquette for dealing with the doctors, hospital staff, and birth family.
The session flew by because it was very hands on -- there was little to no lecture. Everyone was able to ask lots of questions, which the nurse answered very patiently. We took copious notes and referred to them extensively in the first few months we had with Keith. Those notes were more valuable than most of the baby books we got.
I have recommended the IAC Center's baby care classes to countless people over the years and strongly encourage all of my clients to go to one. IAC Center's next session is February 8, 2014 and more information is available here: http://iaccenter.com/workshops/workshop-baby-care-Feb14.asp