What Should We Take? Adoption Packing Lists

(I’m converting our domain, rmcsquared.net, into our professional web site and moving all personal content to this blog. Eventually, I’ll have to figure out what to do with it and how to organize it. Until then, I’m just creating a series of posts with the .net content.)

People often ask what they should pack for a trip to another state to pick up a baby to be born there. I was one of those people. When adopting out of state, wait times for the ICPC can be anywhere from three to ten days, usually meaning that the family must stay in a hotel during the first week or so of the baby’s life. Based on our experience, spending 18 days in Kansas City, MO, I created this page.

General Tips

  • Bring more clothes than you think you need, for everyone, including Mom and Dad.
  • Bring a pair of shorts, even in the winter. Hotel rooms and halls can be overheated.
  • Bring slippers to walk around in, so you don’t have to put on shoes to go down to breakfast.
  • Always buy at least 1 or 2 premie sized outfits, as well as 1 or 2 newborn outfits, before the baby is born. The labels lie, and sometimes babies become upset by the amount of room they have in their clothes.
  • Remember that it is best to wash clothing and towels before using them.
  • Remember that bottles, nipples, and rings need to be sterilized (boiled) before use.
  • Bring anything that you think you can’t live without. I brought my tea bag squeezer, for example.
  • Don’t bring a ton of books thinking you’ll have time to read. Three or four books, tops.
  • The hospital will send baby home with enough formula samples to last a few days. However, if you plan to use organic formula, bring some with you.
  • Ask the hospital for free samples and coupons.
  • If you’ll be flying, you may want to just buy what you need in the other location. Search target.com or other big store sites to see if they have a store near your hotel.
  • Stay at a hotel or corporate apartment that has at least 2 rooms and a kitchen.
  • Ship home whatever you buy there that you can’t carry.

To Pack

  • address book and cell phone
  • baby bath product travel size pack
  • blankets (at least 1 for each day you think you’ll be in the hotel)
  • reference book about babies
  • burp cloths – lots and lots (washcloths work well and are much cheaper)
  • camera (some people recommend buying more memory for a digital camera, or taking one or more disposable cameras in case the conditions aren’t good for digital photography)
  • carrier: sling, mei tai, Bjorn
  • diaper bag
  • gifts for birth parents/family (ask attorney first!)
  • hand sanitizer (Clean All is great!)
  • hats (2-3, climate dependent)
  • hooded towel (1-2)
  • journal (recommended by many, though I didn’t have time to journal too much)
  • laptop computer (get a hotel room with free Internet access to satisfy anxious friends and family)
  • nightgowns (2-3, then buy more if necessary)
  • onesies (at least 5)
  • pacifiers (2-3, newborn size)
  • pre-moistened baby wash cloths
  • sleepers (1 for each day. Bring 1-2, then buy more when you know what size to get)
  • socks & booties (1 pr. for each day you plan to venture out of the hotel)
  • toys (simple ones, like a rattle, keys, or mirror)
  • undershirts that snap up the side (at least 5)
  • wipes holder

To Buy

  • bottles (glass are best)
  • bottle brush (drying rack, optional)
  • car seat (some say rent one, but it may be cheaper to buy. Some hospitals provide car seats for a donation)
  • changing pad, or quilted multi-use pads
  • cloth inserts for baby’s head in the car seat, if needed (buy after baby is born, but before you take him “home”)
  • diapers
  • food for parents
  • formula
  • kitchen towels (to use specifically for drying bottles, 3)
  • laundry detergent
  • newspaper on the baby’s birthday
  • travel crib (some suggest renting from the hotel, but I think it’s important that a sleeping surface be clean)
  • wipes
  • Ziploc bags or wet bags (for dirty diapers, dirty outfits, or to keep clean outfits clean)

What We Packed (Jackson)

  • bibs (3)
  • blankets (5)
  • book about babies
  • booties (2 pr)
  • burp cloths (6)
  • diaper bag
  • grooming set (brush, comb, nail clippers, emery board)
  • hats (3)
  • hooded towels (2)
  • mei tai carrier
  • mylicon for baby gas
  • nightgowns (3-4)
  • onesies (5)
  • pacifiers (3)
  • pacifier clip (1)
  • rattle
  • sleepers (1)
  • Snugli carrier
  • socks (2-3 pr)
  • stuffed animals (5, including the 1 grandma sent)
  • washcloths (2-3)
  • wipe holder
  • we had a total of 6 sets of clothing

What We Bought (Jackson)

  • baby bath time travel set
  • bassinet sheets (2, which we returned because we really needed port-a-crib sheets)
  • bottles
  • bottle brushes
  • booties (1 pr)
  • car seat
  • cloth insert for purchased car seat (for Jackson’s head)
  • cotton balls
  • diapers
  • hat (1)
  • keys, plastic
  • kitchen towels (3)
  • laundry detergent (Dreft)
  • onesies (2)
  • pacifiers (2, newborn)
  • port-a-crib sheet (1)
  • pre-moistened wash cloths
  • travel crib
  • undershirts, side-snap (5)
  • Vaseline
  • wash cloths to use as burp cloths (5)
  • wipes
  • Ziploc bags

We Never Used (Jackson)

  • cotton balls
  • grooming set, except brush
  • mylicon
  • pacifiers we brought (they weren’t newborn)
  • port-a-crib sheet (we used blankets)
  • Snugli carrier (too difficult)
  • socks (he kept kicking them off his feet)
  • Vaseline

This page was inspired by threads at the Adoption.com Forums:

9 thoughts on “What Should We Take? Adoption Packing Lists

  1. This list is brilliant. Our baby is due in about 40 days and we’ve been freaking out thinking what to pack when we go and get her. This is going to make life easier!

  2. Pingback: Baby Care Resources for Adopting Parents | James and Kristen Adopt

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