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Tell me about the first few weeks...

(31 Posts)
Derbyshirelady Sun 12-Jun-16 16:43:10

We've been matched with an 8 month old baby boy who is coming home in a few weeks.

We've got spreadsheets about spreadsheets of the stuff we need to get, but would love to hear about the first few weeks when your little one comes home. Obviously we will be continuing the routine his foster carers have established, but how long was it until you introduced him to family etc? Any top tips much appreciated (already batch cooking - will be eating Bolognese for the next 3 months!).

Also tips on how to not burst into tears when buying baby stuff in shops welcome. It's been a long old journey to this point...for some reason a hooded towel set me off this weekend confused.

RatherBeIndoors Sun 12-Jun-16 17:26:57

Many congratulations! I don't have experience of LOs that young, so others might be better to advise on practicalities...for your sake as well as LO's I would keep your world small for as long as you can without going too stir crazy. And when very close family/friends do come, make sure you're the one doing all feeding/cuddling/kissing better/nappy changing. The adults visiting might need to be gently reminded they'd help most by helping/supporting you, rather than having too much direct interaction with LO. So when you're sick of bolognese, get some of them to make you something else grin

I can't honestly remember how long we kept things tight on visitors, but I think it was a month or so before grandparents and a very close aunt, and was almost six months before the other aunt and cousins (but that was partly geography). We still revert to funnelling when things are bumpy, and it's amazing how quickly I see the difference.

You're totally allowed to cry when buying stuff. I remember thinking I'd never get over the wonder of washing and hanging out these teeny tiny things. I did grin - that's when it was definitely real!

JustHappy3 Sun 12-Jun-16 19:46:00

I would make things very easy for yourself (i love the poster who told me to go stock up on M&S meals - valuable advice!)
Keep things small. Realise that although you will have explained funnelling and things taking a while to settle in - people will ignore it and also be surprised when you are STILL funnelling a whole week later.
I found the fc were very verbal - they talked us through the treasure box without warning that was it and we needed to remember everything (i need stuff written down - should not have let them go thru it without pen in hand.
Have you printed out child benefit form, passport form etc and filled in as much as you can - better to do this stuff when you are on the ball even if months before you need to utilise it.
Are you going to do "Announcing the arrival of or thank you cards"? I opted not to bother (first time in my life) but if you want to do then address labels, sufficient stamps etc.
Check your vase collection - if flowers delivered it can be easier to leave them in the packaging than reareange tbh.
Go out - nice restaurant.
Are you ready for them being ill? Calpol, snufflebabe, one of them squidgy things for snot. Decent thermometer. You always need that stuff at 2am.

Truffle87 Sun 12-Jun-16 21:36:07

Hi there,

LO was 4 months when they came home. The first couple of weeks were quiet-ish at home with visits only from SW and HV. We didn't really venture out of the house. DH had a couple of weeks off after intros so we mostly spent it being led by LO in terms of naps, feeding, play etc. We cuddled LO constantly, slept on us for all naps, fed on demand, lots of skin to skin, took lots of photos and just enjoyed that time before anyone else landed on us to see the new addition to the family. Be prepared to fend people off. We had to turn down a couple of events/visits much to people's disappointment in the first few months and it's still not forgotten even now I don't think.

In terms of family visitors our parents visited after two weeks. Stayed for a short time while LO was asleep and briefly after they woke up (snuggled up on me for the whole visit). No holding or cuddling and instructions really to keep a safe distance so as not to overwhelm. With everyone else it was a good six weeks or so before we had any other visitors in the house outside of my mum and SW/HV. We only went out to 'safe' places where we were highly unlikely to get caught by people who didn't know about LO. We got caught out once but it was fine!

You just need to be prepared to be very responsive, LO will be all over the place. The first few nights were hard because although the day seemed ok, as soon as it got dark it was almost like we could see LO looking around thinking 'where have my family gone'. It was heartbreaking but after a couple of weeks things were much more settled and relaxed.

Buy lots of food! Nice food ..... it was great not having to worry about popping out to get shopping. I'd second lots of calpol, ibuprofen, thermometer, baby olbas oil, muslins - a bogey sucker!!!! etc.

Choose some box sets. LO still naps a lot and was napping a few hrs a day at 8 months so you will have lots of time sat on the sofa unable to move until your arm is dead or you are bursting for a wee because you don't want to wake them!

In terms of routine, we found LO changed quite quickly. Maybe because of the massive change they had just been through but also because of their age. 8 months is huge in terms of their development. I think the key thing is to be as responsive as possible.

One thing to tackle as soon as they are home is registering with a GP and making sure they know that if you go to the surgery that LO is called under your name. They will be registered as birth name on system but you don't want them announcing that over the speakers when they call you. They will put a note on the system. We had a few problems with this and I had to constantly remind them. As first time parents to a young baby we were at the Drs a lot in the early days ....we worried about everything!

I have to say though, our first few weeks were quite wonderful in that our life just seemed complete. LO was perfect and settled reasonably well. We were very firm with people that they weren't to visit without strict permission and rules when they eventually did come round so we weren't bothered by anyone at all. That time on our own we will never get again and it was fantastic.

As for crying when buying stuff. I'm afraid that only gets worse once they come home. I cry at EVERYTHING now because we are just so lucky and it's just so lovely buying things I never thought we would be able to. I remember buying very gendered clothes (I know, I know!) from one shop when we were preparing for LO arrival and the shop assistant saying 'I bet I can guess what you've got' grin then asking all about LO. LO wasn't home by that point as we were a few weeks off intros but it was so strange talking about my child, it was very surreal but wonderful.

Our intros seem like they were yesterday but a million year ago all at the same time.

Congratulations!!!! Being a mum is amazing smile

Truffle87 Sun 12-Jun-16 21:38:57

Oh and metanium nappy rash cream!! It's brilliant stuff, maybe some teething powder or anbersol for teething too.

MypocketsarelikeNarnia Sun 12-Jun-16 22:00:59

You need an (ergo) sling. It's summer so lots of opps for skin to skin. Don't underestimate skin to skin it's absolutely crucial to bonding. Let lo sleep in sling when you can and feel free to undo your/their clothes a bit so you're touching.

This sounds like mad hippy shit I know, it's not. And you've got a baby on you in a sling so as far as the world is concerned you're a mad hippy anyway. smile

Derbyshirelady Sun 12-Jun-16 22:22:32

This is all great info, thank you! Can't believe the crying is going to get worse.

Bogey sucker is going on the spreadsheet. As is nice food.

Funnelling has never been mentioned during any of our prep! Off to look it up...

Cleo1303 Sun 12-Jun-16 23:43:58

Congratulations! I remember going to John Lewis two weeks before DD arrived and it was so exciting!

On the practical side, my mother said Drapolene was better than anything else for nappy rash, and DD never had it. I'm sure other people will swear by their favourite cream too.

DD was the same age. I have photographs almost every day for the first month or so and we can almost see what she is thinking for the first week.

Day 1 she was confused, okay until bedtime, but then cried until 2.00 am. Day 2 she was sad and confused until bedtime and cried until about midnight. (Day 2 was the worst day.) Day 3 she was tired and confused but went down at about 9.00 p.m. Day 4 she started taking notice of her surroundings and by that evening she was giggling and laughing. Days 5 and 6 she was cheerful and laughing.

She met my mother on Day 7 and loads of friends visited over the next few weeks. Most people had a cuddle and DD was fine. She was and is very sociable which I thank her foster mother for.

I didn't think her diet was adventurous enough and I thought she was having too many bottles a day so changed that almost immediately. She loved all her new food and has always been a 'foodie'.

I had never heard of funnelling either so I've just looked it up too. I think it must be new. I didn't do any of that. TBH I always treated DD as though she were my natural baby, even if she had arrived at eight months. All babies are different but what I did was best for us. Trust your instinct.

Truffle87 Mon 13-Jun-16 07:48:21

Funnelling I think is about only you and your other half having any physical contact with your LO, period. It wasn't discussed with us during prep either and I think it is very full on but SW were very firm that we needed to keep people at bay for as long as possible and no one else gave a bottle/did nappy/bath/dress etc. basic care.

We funnelled to an extent. No-one else held LO for the first month or so that they were home, only us. Even now the only other person who has changed a nappy or given any kind of 'care' is my mother by necessity when we have left LO with her (we are a year in now and built that relationship up between LO and mum very carefully). We have relaxed more now. We have to, I'll be back at work next week so LO is going to a CM. I also think for our LO it's been healthy for them to have firm boundaries of who family are, extended family who we hardly see don't get cuddles but to be honest at 8 months old, if you funnell for the first few months or limit contact to only those who DS will see most then your DS will make it clear who he will and wont tolerate anyway, a baby is easy enough to look at and go 'oh you want mummy don't you' and pick up and wander off or my favorite if people got a bit close was 'eeewwww can you smell that! Best go check your bum.....' walk off......and telling people that 'no, sorry but LO is sooooo clingy at the moment, he WILL cry if anyone else dares come close'. People question it much less with a baby because babies can be fickle at the best of times, adopted or not!

I think the first 3/4 months are key in building that relationship. You can't say 'we wont do this, that or the other' it's impossible to judge how those first few months will go, Cleo is right, you have to trust your instinct.

I'd also second a sling, we had a stretchy sling and it meant I could get out and about with LO tucked safely away sleeping, head on my chest as I would just wear a vest top underneath.

mineallmine Mon 13-Jun-16 17:11:15

The exhaustion is something I wasn't prepared for. Our dad was adopted abroad and by the time we arrived home, we were exhausted. Dd kept it together until we got home and was ok during the day but at night, she howled for several weeks and wouldn't take comfort from me.

Definitely keep people away as much as you can. Start with one of you doing everything, baby needs to bond with one person at a time. Nobody but you and dh does anything nurturing for at least the first few months. Nobody picks up, feeds, washes, changes nappies, lifts up.
Keep the house as quiet as you can, pas few visitors as possible. We stayed pretty much in one room for about a month. My dd stayed on my lap for at least a week and after that ventured a little farther every day.

Congtratulations, wonderful news!

Cleo1303 Mon 13-Jun-16 19:31:15

Just do what you feel is right for you and your baby. You'll work that out when they arrive.

As I had to work DD really had to get used to other people quite quickly and honestly she was fine. There really wasn't any choice as I'm a single mum. In the first few weeks my mother covered about five or six hours a day four days a week and I was around all day on the other three. I always got DD up and put her to bed. She was quite clear that I was Mummy!

Then disaster struck and my mother dislocated her arm and couldn't get to me so I had to recruit a friend with three children to be DD's nanny when I needed to go to work and obviously I did as much work from home as I could. Sometimes I would take her into the office for a couple of hours if I really had to and that was fine too.

We visited friends and friends visited us because they wanted to meet DD. I also went out in the pushchair immediately and she really enjoyed it all. She loved dogs, but hated pigeons.

She also quite incredibly knew who was a friend if I bumped into one - they got a smile - and a total stranger who tried to speak to her/us in the supermarket - they would just get a cold stare!

It all depends on your baby, and all babies are different. I adopted almost 12 years ago and the advice then was that if you adopted a child under one year who had attached to their foster mother then he/she would probably have few if any attachment problems.

JustHappy3 Tue 14-Jun-16 11:30:45

I felt like a blunt instrument in the first few weeks. Here was a child that i didn't know - having to learn about them and their personality. It's exhausting and you can get it wrong. But you keep plugging away at it and you do get to know within a few months whether they're crying cos tired or hungry or bored or wanting a cuddle or bitten their own finger or got spooked by a noise etc etc. You become a much more finely tuned instrument and your confidence grows.
Remember to celebrate when (even at this age) they stop being "good" and start regressing and refusing food and being more tricky sleepers.
If you spot any attachment problems (you've had the ambivalent/avoidant training haven't you?) then DEMAND input from a professional immediately. Our county council sent us a clinical psychologist in the second week (not all foster carers promote strong attachments) who was incredibly helpful.
Skin to skin is brilliant. Long baths with little one (you or partner) also good.

mineallmine Tue 14-Jun-16 11:46:36

Yes yes to skin to skin, I forgot that. Baths, showers and cuddles skin to skin.

Also, while you will love this child in a protective way at first, it's not the deep down kill a bear love that develops and this (imo) makes it that bit harder when there are tough times. Now, if dd has a few sleepless nights and I'm up with her and then working the next day, all I feel is sorry for my little girl. But in the early days when dd was very unsettled at night, I used to feel cross with her for not settling. I wish I had been more prepared for this because I felt huge guilt at the time for being cross with her. Fake it till you make it is really good advice that I got from here.

Italiangreyhound Tue 14-Jun-16 17:14:15

Derbyshirelady good luck. Enjoy. Before baby comes home DE-CLUTTER, it will help. Plus rest and enjoy your last bit of 'freedom'.

Congratulations and crying is fine, absolutely fine, mine are 11 and 5 and still make me cry (for all kinds of reasons!).

Derbyshirelady Fri 17-Jun-16 07:07:01

Thanks so much for the great info! Have not been back for a couple of days as have basically been getting rid of our stuff and filling our house with BABY STUFF! So much of it! I have got major anxiety about not having the right stuff, or enough stuff.

Meeting the little dude today! star flowers

JustHappy3 Fri 17-Jun-16 18:42:14

Hope it all went well

Truffle87 Thu 23-Jun-16 14:13:06

How's it going Derby?!

MrsChrisPratt Thu 23-Jun-16 16:48:38

Hope all went well today Derby

Derbyshirelady Sat 25-Jun-16 18:59:00

Intros starting 4th July so we've got just over a week to make sense of a. parenting and b. the ergo carrier!

When we met him it was so strange. Weird being at FC house, frightened to do anything, even though she is lovely. He was a little angel and chuckled away the whole time, we gave him his lunch and observed a nappy change! smile, and the mass of emotion I was expecting to feel was replaced by practical mummy mode. I realise it will be like that for a while.

Feeling calm now. Ask me again next weekend!

OlennasWimple Sun 26-Jun-16 02:57:15

flowers

OlennasWimple Sun 26-Jun-16 03:01:35

Practice putting your pram / buggy together and manouevering it around

Develop a thick skin - people will look at you and wonder why you are so clueless with your crying child, as surely you've had months to figure it out? I had to work really hard on not just apologizing and saying we were adopting and only X weeks in, as once you put that information out there you can't get it back

Italiangreyhound Sun 26-Jun-16 03:43:03

Derbyshirelady that sounds brilliant.

OlennasWimple makes a great point, do not tell people unless you want them to know. Sounds obvious but you really cannot take it back, although people may forget!

Due to having a birth child already at the school and adopting a three, almost four, year old people did know. But we do not tell new people now, because for Cassius (not his real name!) it is his story and he needs to know that his peers are accepting him for himself and we felt that him not standing out might help. If he was a different heritage to us we would not, of course, had the choice for this.

Good luck. thanks

user1467183835 Fri 01-Jul-16 08:30:19

Hi, first of all many many congratulations to you. After trying for years to get pregnant then finally adopting our daughter I appreciate what you may have been through. Our daughter was just 1 when she came home. Most important thing ever was to keep up their routine but apart from that it was as if she'd always been with us. We had no worries about introducing her to family very quickly, they were her family too straight away. For the first few weeks I was so strict with her routine then we slowly got into our own. Relax and enjoy xxxx

Cleo1303 Fri 01-Jul-16 10:35:01

OlennasWimple is right. You have no need to tell perfect strangers your baby is adopted. I didn't even tell DD's school when she started. She told some of her friends when she was about seven but clearly some of the children had no idea even in Year 6. It wasn't a secret and some of the other mothers got to know, but I just thought it was her decision to tell people, not mine. By the time she did tell them she had been there three years and had loads of friends and it was no big deal.

With regard to a different heritage I don't even think it's always necessary to mention adoption if you are with your child on your own. If you have a blonde couple with two Indian children it is pretty obvious, but a single friend of mine announced to everyone she ever met (total strangers in the park) that her daughter was adopted - "It's obvious - I'm blonde and she is so dark" - and that child did have a lot of problems.

I have a friend who is Indian and very dark but her birth child takes after her father and has light auburn hair and the whitest skin you can imagine. No-one has ever asked if that child is adopted when she is out with her mum!

Scousegeordie Tue 05-Jul-16 21:28:17

We are waiting to get matched and I can't wait for that first cuddle! Good luck derby!

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