Sunday, November 6, 2011

“When To…” Suggestions after you first come home

Some suggestions about when after arriving home you might address a few of the common situations for new parents with a child adopted internationally.

After you first come home, when to:

See the pediatrician:
  • Within the first week after coming home, for routine physical
  • Sooner, at any time, if you have any concerns you feel can’t wait or might be an emergency.
Take your child out to stores or other public places:
  • If possible, limit this in number and in time spent out. Your child can become easily over-stimulated and overwhelmed.
  • Avoid taking your child out if he or she is running a fever has a cold or running nose or with other health issues. (Check with your pediatrician if you are concerned.)
Hold a welcome home party or baby shower at home:
  • If it’s adults only, with the baby asleep, go ahead and schedule it for a time when you’re over jet lag.
  • If your child will be included, wait several weeks until your child feels more familiar with you and the new environment.
Get a sitter
  • Try for at least one parent to stay close to home with your child for the first few weeks, if at all possible.
  • But do find ways to take time out and time away: taking turns with your spouse for childcare; having a person familiar to your child come after he or she is tucked in for the night; saving naptime as time you spend just for yourself, not chores or work.
  • When you do have a sitter, introduce this person and have the person sitting spend some time with your child before the day will need the sitter. Take it gradually.
Have a get-together somewhere outside your home:
  • If possible, delay this until at least two weeks after you return to recover from travel fatigue. This may be too soon for your child.
  • If you will leave your child with a sitter, some parents find it’s helpful to schedule this after your child’s bedtime and with a person your child has become familiar with over many days of interaction. Delay until after the first two weeks, if possible, since you will all be recovering
  • If your child is included, wait until after the first month, longer if your child needs more time to be comfortable with strangers, new places, crowds.
Be concerned that your child prefers one of you more than the other
  • Some children seem to resent new moms for replacing their previous caretakers, others latch onto to new mothers for dear life and ignore Dads; many children who have never seen men (or only a few) can react with suspicion or rejection or think Dads are a wonderful new novelty. 
Attachment and International Adoption. From Choices and Challenges in International Adoption by Joan McNamara ©2009

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