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.
BREASTFEEDINGAfter birth of your baby, the sudden drop in hormones triggers milk production. It is important to decide if you want to stop milk production, breastfeed, or pump during your hospital stay.
If you do not breastfeed or pump, your milk will dry up naturally within a week or so. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about your decision. Ask questions about what to expect and how to relieve any discomfort.
You may wish to give your baby the health benefits of breastmilk or feel a warm closeness during your time together. Whatever your reasons, choosing to breastfeed is a personal decision and yours to make. Some Birth Mothers breastfeed while in the hospital and then allow their milk to dry up afterwards. Some continue to pump breastmilk for the Adoptive Family if they live in close proximity. Others pump after placement and donate it to a local milk bank.
If you choose to breastfeed, the hospital can connect you with a lactation consultant for help getting started. If pumping is your choice, the hospital will provide equipment and training. Hospital grade pumps are available for rent after you leave the hospital.
Some worry breastfeeding will make it harder to relinquish their child when the time comes. Others find the bond helpful in healing. Placement will be difficult either way. Consider whether breastfeeding will make it harder or help you heal. Whatever you decide is best for you and your baby should be supported.
SUPPORTConsider having someone with you to provide emotional and practical support during your hospital stay. Having a trusted friend or family member who’s 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. Be honest about what you need and want. Your support person is there to back you up.
TIME WITH YOUR BABYWhen do you want the Adoptive Parents 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. Whatever you decide, remember you have a voice. This is your opportunity to create memories and prepare for placement.
SUPPORT GROUPSTalking 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.
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RELINQUISHMENTThe 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.
Do you want to give the baby a gift or letter? Some Birth Parents will write a letter for the child to keep, explaining their decision and expressing their hopes and dreams for the child. They may choose to include pictures of themselves as babies or current photos. Others make handmade keepsakes or give other special mementos to the child.
Do you want to have a placement ceremony or celebration? A placement ceremony can be a small gathering to talk about reasons for choosing adoption or stating intentions. Some choose an informal celebration at a restaurant or park to get to know the Adoptive Family or exchange gifts.
Some Birth Mothers just want to place their baby and then go home. Think about what you feel comfortable with. Decide what works best for you and the Adoptive Family.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Let the people around you know if you change your mind about anything in the plan.
*This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Seek answers from a medical provider.