Five Ways Adoptive Parents Can Bond With Their Newborn
Adoption is a beautiful way to expand your family and fill your life with joy. You are giving a child a bright future because of their caring birth mother’s decision. However, adoptive parents still have some very unique challenges.
One of the first they face is how to start bonding with their baby. Bonding with your adopted newborn takes work and dedication, not unlike many other aspects of parenting.
When you adopt a baby your life will change dramatically, so adjustments must be made. Here are 5 ways to bond with your newly-adopted baby:
- Stay Close to Baby
- Skin-to-Skin Contact
- Make Eye Contact
- Talk to Baby
- Infant Massage
Simply stay close to your baby during those first months of its life. All newborns are trying to adjust to their new environment outside the womb. They require some extra comforting and can feel alone. You may be feeling out of sorts as well. But that close bond you’ll form will quickly grow as you stay near your baby throughout the first year of life.
Make sure to hold, walk with, feed, and burp your baby. Many parents enjoy taking the baby out for a day of shopping. This can be done using a stroller, sling, or wrap. Your baby is safe and secure while mom and dad get some quality bonding time.
Try wearing your baby in front of you using a wrap or Ergo. Begin when you first bring your baby home, then even up to a year old. Your baby can join you as you cook, take walks, and clean, and your baby will love it.
This method comes with incredible benefits for newborns and new mothers alike. It works very well, yet it is effortless. Strip your baby down to a diaper, then remove your shirt or blouse and hold your baby next to your skin for a few moments. Mothers who breastfeed can easily practice skin-to-skin contact, but there’s no reason why the whole family can’t be involved. Babies feel calm and at peace when there’s a loving, nurturing human near them.
Good eye contact is essential, but it does take some thoughtful effort. Since newborn babies are nearsighted, they can only see objects up to 16 inches away. Infants would rather look at faces over another object, and your baby is building a memory of your face every time you exchange gazes. Hold your baby about 8 to 15 inches away from your face and then simply smile or speak in low tones.
Always speak calmly to your baby in a soft voice. Never shout or make sudden moves, since babies are sensitive to loud sounds. They can become alarmed if there’s a noisy commotion going on nearby. Make sure your speech is soft, gentle, and reassuring. Loud noises or shouting cause stress, but peaceful words of love help them feel accepted and nurtured.
Many pediatricians recommend infant massage, and it doesn’t require any special skills. Simply stroke your baby’s back, legs, and arms with very gentle movements. And don’t forget the fingers and toes. Regular infant massage can improve sleep patterns and digestion. These first interactions between the baby and its new family are important building blocks in her life. Some pediatricians believe that this also helps your baby to develop a kinder and loving personality.
Bath time is the best time for infant massage. Be sure to make eye contact and speak to your baby in low, gentle tones. All children need confirmation that they’re loved and accepted just the way they are.
Bonding Offers Lifelong Benefits
When we go off to work, many new parents feel like they’re losing touch with their new baby. So, take extra time to stay connected. These early efforts you and your spouse make to bond with your baby will pay off as your relationship with this new member of the family begins to blossom. Parents are creating memories that can last a lifetime. In addition, they’re helping the child grow into a confident individual who knows he or she is loved.
Research shows that you can pass on your temperament to your baby through your own behavior and childrearing style. This has nothing to do with genetics. We’re simply teaching our children by the way they see us behave. Kids will imitate the behavior of their parents and even siblings. That makes it all the more important for our children to grow up seeing us be kind, gentle, and forgiving.
Lifetime Adoption Supports families and encourages bonding early.
Mardie Caldwell, COAP
Adoptive Mother and Adoption professional
For more information about adoption, call 1-800-923-6784.
Lifetime Adoption, Inc.
is a Licensed Florida Child
Lifetime Adoption is registered with the State of California under the provisions of the Registry of California Adoption Facilitators. (CA Family Code Section 8632.5)