Hospital Stay | Adoption Network | Adoption Network

HOSPITAL STAY

When preparing for the delivery of your baby, it is a good idea to think ahead about your hospital stay. There are additional factors to consider when your birth plan includes adoption. Creating a plan that considers these issues helps everyone know what to expect.

BREASTFEEDING

After your baby is born, your body will produce milk. Women who intend to place their baby for adoption should think about whether or not they want to breastfeed. Some women worry breastfeeding will make it harder to place their child for adoption while others find the bond helpful in the healing process. This choice is personal to every mother, and only you can make the right choice for you.

You may wish to give your baby the health benefits of breast milk, or you may want to experience a closeness to your child during your time together in the hospital. If you choose to breastfeed, the hospital can connect you with a lactation consultant for help getting started.

If pumping milk is your choice, whether to share your milk with the Adoptive Family or to donate it to a local milk bank, the hospital may provide equipment and training

If you choose not to breastfeed or pump milk, tell your healthcare provider. He or she can give you advice on what to expect and how to relieve any discomfort.

SUPPORT

You may want to have someone with you at the hospital to provide emotional and practical support. Having a trusted friend or family member whose only concern is your well-being can improve the quality of your experience. Your support person should watch for signs of stress and step in if you’re feeling overwhelmed, upset or need some alone time with the baby. Some find it helpful to have a safe word signaling your support person to ask someone to leave the room.

You may even be interested in joining a Birth Mother support group prior to your hospital stay. Talking with others who chose adoption and listening to their hospital experience may give you insight into what to expect while you’re in the hospital. Your adoption professional can help you find the right support group for you.

TIME WITH YOUR BABY

When do you want the Adoptive Family to meet the baby? Do you want to change diapers, bathe and feed your baby, or do you want the Adoptive Parents to look after those things? Would you prefer to have the hospital nursery take care of the baby? These are things to consider as you create a plan for your hospital stay. Remember, the most important voice in planning the hospital stay is yours.

SUPPORT GROUPS

Talking to others who are making or have made an unplanned pregnancy decision may be helpful. You can learn how they considered their options, who helped them and how they are dealing with their decision. Once you’ve made your plan, they will be able to support you a way that your family and friends can’t. There are groups for pregnant girls and women, those in the process of adoption, those who have completed an adoption, as well as groups for teen parents and abortion recovery.

RELINQUISHMENT

The Birth Mother or the Birth Parents must voluntarily relinquish, or give up, their parental rights. Even when you know you’re making the right decision for your baby, relinquishment can be hard. Preparing in advance for this part of the adoption process can help relieve anxiety when the time comes to sign the papers. Often relinquishment papers may be signed in the hospital or at the agency after your release from the hospital. Read through the legal documents you will sign long before you go into labor to understand what you are agreeing to. Having someone present to provide emotional support when you sign the papers can also be very helpful. This could be your parents, a sibling or trusted friend, your social worker, or Adoption Advisor.

SPECIAL MEMENTO OR CEREMONY

You may wish to write a letter to your child. Any words from your heart will be a special treasure to read when he or she is older. Writing down your feelings and expressing your hopes and dreams for your child may bring you a sense of peace, as well. You can include pictures of yourself in this letter, a small gift or handmade keepsake. Giving this letter or memento to the Adoptive Family at the hospital to hold for your child is such a significant act.

Some Birth Mothers may be interested in having a special ceremony or celebration after you are discharged from the hospital. Gathering a small group of friends, family or the Adoptive Family at a restaurant or park to talk about reasons for choosing adoption and stating your hope for the future could be a wonderful way to celebrate your brave decision.

There is no one right way to do things after your baby is born and you leave the hospital. You may wish to simply go home without fanfare. As with every aspect of adoption, the choice is up to you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want at the hospital and upon discharge. Even if you made a hospital plan prior to the birth of your child, please know that you can change that plan once you are in the hospital. The best thing for everyone is for you to communicate your feelings.

*This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Seek answers from a medical provider.

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