Adoptive Families Blog

The Ultimate How-to Guide for Dads-to-Be

Posted by Lifetime Adoption on September 8, 2016


It’s a good idea to get all the info on how to be a dad that you can before you bring your baby home. The skills needed to be a parent might not come easy, and some tasks aren’t that obvious either.  Read on to learn the skills you’ll need to develop as a dad. Think of this as your chance to get ahead of the game! Before you bring your baby home through adoption, learn:

What to pack in a diaper bag. Important items to have in your baby’s diaper bag include bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, at least one change of clothing, and a burp rag. Also consider packing a wet bag for soiled and wet diapers and other items. Other helpful items may be hand sanitizer, a changing pad, a pacifier, and baby toys or books.

How much a newborn baby should drink. A newborn’s stomach is very tiny, so the amount they need at each feeding is pretty small. By three days old, your baby’s stomach is about the size of a ping pong ball, and can hold about one ounce. At ten days old, his or her stomach grows to the size of an egg and can hold about two ounces. If your baby is fussy after a feeding, try burping them and offering the bottle again.

How to install a car seat. Install your baby’s car seat as soon as you’re in an adoption match with a birth mother. That way, when you travel for the adoption, it’ll be one less thing to worry about. If the instructions are too confusing, try looking for video tutorials. And, visit your local Child Car Seat Inspection Station. You can locate one near you by visiting  You’ll probably want to get two bases for the infant car seat, one for each of your cars. 

How to swaddle your baby. At the hospital, ask the nurse how to swaddle a blanket around a baby. It’s essentially like a baby burrito using a blanket. Swaddling mimics the coziness of being in the womb, so it’ll help your baby sleep.

Where your baby should sleep. Having newborn babies sleep in their parent’s room is what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. It could be in a bassinet, crib, or pack and play. This will make the frequent night feedings that you baby needs much easier! And, while we’re on the subject of sleep, try to catch some zzz’s when your baby sleeps. You’ll be marveling over the miracle of this little being coming into your lives through adoption, so it’ll be hard not to want to watch his/her angelic face while sleeping. But, you need sleep too; try taking a nap if when your baby is napping.

How to change your baby’s diaper. Open up a new clean diaper and put it under your baby. The part with tabs on either side should go under his back. Undo the tabs on his dirty diaper, and pull down the front half. Lift your baby’s bottom off the table and fold the dirty diaper under your baby, with the clean side up. With baby wipes, cloth, or gauze, clean your baby's front, remembering always to wipe from front to back. Pull the front half of the new diaper up to your baby's belly. Until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off, avoid covering it with a diaper by folding down the diaper more in front. They also sell special disposable diapers that have a notch cut out for the stump. Finish the diaper change by fastening his diaper at both sides with the tabs.

How to have patience. Babies have a limited way of communicating because they can't talk. So, how they’ll try to communicate with you is by crying, screaming, smiling, whining, and cooing. Sometimes you won’t understand what they’re trying to tell you right away. That’s normal…be calm and hang in there.

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Topics: Infant adoption, adoption readiness, adoptive fathers