In the world of adoption, you never know when you’ll get “the call”. For us, with our first adoption, it was after our daughter was already born. Then, with our son, we knew months in advance. But, regardless of when you get the call, if you’re adopting an infant, you’ll want to have some must-haves ready to go.
Once your home study is approved and you’re officially on the list to have your profile shown, this is a great time to prepare a bag. Preparing the bag is actually a lot of fun and a part of “nesting”.
Start with a bag you really love. If you don’t know if you’re adopting a boy or girl, there are plenty of adorable neutral bags. I’d use the bag you plan to use as your diaper bag for this. But, you’ll most likely want another bag for more room to pack everything.
Now, the fun part! Packing it.
So, what do you actually need to pack in your bag? There is no definitive answer here but there are some things you’ll need and some that you will be so glad you packed.
A few outfits
My favorite thing here was picking out a cute homecoming outfit. If you’re local to where you’re adopting and will be traveling home in one day, you shouldn’t need too many. But, if you’re going to have a long trip home, or your baby won’t be coming home for a while, you’ll want to pack extras. Babies have this weird thing about getting clothes dirty, a lot! Who knew?!
Again, there are cute gender-neutral outfits you can get. But, if you find out the gender before the hospital trip you can always get some gender-specific ones. Just a little tip- wash them beforehand in a free and clear or baby detergent. Little babies can have sensitive skin so better to be safe here.
And, don’t forget some cute baby socks!
A package of newborn and/or size 1 diapers
The hospital will provide some but you’ll want to have your own as well. And, if you’re on the “crunchy” momma side, you might prefer your own natural or cloth diapers anyway. Just some advice, I personally wouldn’t start with cloth diapering until you get home because you’ll have enough on your plate. But, I never really got into cloth diapering so feel free to ignore this tidbit if it’s important to you. You do you 😊
It’s a basic but you’ll need them.
A few blankets
I’d suggest a couple muslin blankets for swaddling. Aside from that, new babies don’t need thick blankets and it’s a safety issue.
Formula or breastmilk
I’d suggest deciding what formula you plan to use and take some with you. I personally am not a fan of the ones that hospitals hand out, but I also understand formula is expensive. If you’re not feeling extremely picky, let them send you home with as much as they will. But, if you do your research and decide on one ahead of time or even decide to get milk from a milk bank, I’d suggest taking some with you. Also, some women choose to induce lactation so they can potentially breastfeed. But, that isn’t something I chose so I can’t really speak to it but if you’re interested do some research.
Bottles come in so many different types. Do a little research and bring some along with you that are ready to go.
A babywearing wrap or carrier
This can be excellent for bonding and it’s also very convenient. Again, there are so many choices so pick the one you think you’ll love and bring it along with you.
A white noise machine or baby sound machine
We still use a white noise machine and our kiddos are 2 & 3 years old. Also, if you’re accustomed to sleeping with a noise machine or fan, this could help while you’re in an unfamiliar place. I mean, don’t expect that much sleep with a new baby but every little trick helps!
It won’t fit in your bag, but you have to have this. They won’t let you take your kiddo home without it 😉
Do some research and find one you love. We really liked starting with the kind that pops out of the base and can be carried. It comes in handy when you have a sleeping baby that you don’t want to wake up. Safety note: Never leave a baby in a car seat unattended. Their head is too floppy and can flop down and potentially cut off their air supply.
Funny side note: When we were on our way home with our daughter, her head was so floppy in her car seat, we were convinced we were doing something wrong even though the nurse had helped us. So, we pulled over and called the hospital to ask.
New parents are new parents whether biological or adoptive.
A portable bassinet
This also won’t fit in your bag but can be great to have! If you’re adopting from out of state, and you’ll have to stay put for a while you will need a place for the baby to sleep once you’re discharged from the hospital. If you’re coming straight home, this likely isn’t an issue. But, adoption hospital visits can be unpredictable so if it’s something you think you’d use at some point anyway, I’d get one and take it with you.
BONUS: Essential oils and a diffuser
This might not be a fit for everyone, but I certainly recommend it. Never underestimate the power of a good lavender essential oil diffusing nearby for you and your baby!
For more adoption advise, check out my other posts at fortheloveofadoption.com