The decision to adopt a baby is often a long and difficult one. It can be an overwhelming and joyous experience. Many adoptive parents become concerned about how they will be able to bond with their new baby once the adoption process has been completed. It can be completely normal for new parents of adopted babies to wonder how well that baby will fit into their family or if they will ever truly feel the way a parent should about them.
Bonding with an adopted baby is a journey that should not be rushed. To help with the process, below are some great tips to help you bond with your newly adopted baby to become the family you desire in no time.
1: Don’t Hurry the Bonding Process
The process of bonding with your adopted baby should never be rushed. The time it takes to bond will largely depend on the age of the baby. Babies who are less than six months old have not come into their personalities yet and may fuss more than you are ready for. Do not take this as a sign they are not bonding with you and keep pushing forward.
2: Affection and Cuddling
Showing your adopted child affection and cuddling them often is a great way to create a long-lasting bond. The more you cuddle them, the more they will trust you and the quicker your relationship will form. Consider wearing your baby in a sling for constant contact in the beginning. Gentle rubdowns with a calming lotion can also be a great way to show affection before you lay them down to sleep.
3: Take Co-Sleeping into Consideration
Allowing your adopted baby to sleep in the same room as you can make it easier for you to give them the love and attention they need and want. The ability to offer your baby quick reassurance and comfort when they are crying or not feeling well can reinforce that you will always be there for them. It can also help to reinforce your parenting instincts that often come with being a biological parent. Keep in mind, however, that allowing your baby to sleep in your bed can increase the risk of SIDS. To co-sleep properly, add a co-sleeper bed attachment to the side of your bed to allow your baby to sleep next to you safely.
4: Kangaroo Care
When it comes to bonding with your adopted baby, skin-to-skin contact is a must. Many people refer to this physical interaction as kangaroo care. This type of skin-to-skin therapy is often used in hospitals to help newborn babies thrive. The same principles can be applied at home with an adopted baby. Consider wearing your baby in a sling for more skin-to-skin contact or lay them on your chest after bath time to relax.
5: Start Family Traditions
Because bonding is formed over time, consider keeping a scrapbook of all your first memories together to show them as they get older. If you adopt a new baby from another country, pick an important holiday from their country of origin to celebrate each year. This shows you love them and care about where they are from.
6: Family Support
They say it takes a village to raise a baby. Most people have lots of friends and family ready and waiting to meet your new addition. Don’t be in a rush to invite everyone over so soon. The first few days and weeks after bringing your baby home are important and you don’t want anyone coming in and interrupting the fragile connection you have started to create. If your family wants to support you, allow them to come in and help take care of household chores to give you more time and energy to bond with your newly adopted baby.
7: Take Care of Yourself
When you adopt a baby, it can be easy to put their needs before any of your own. Most people have heard of postpartum depression for parents of newborn babies. Another mental issue is called post-adoption depression and can affect you in similar ways. Be sure to make time for yourself and seek out help if you feel you are having signs of depression or negative feelings toward your adopted baby.
Even though your adopted baby cannot speak, it is important for bonding to constantly communicate with them. Babies learn language from the people around them. Help your baby get accustomed to the sound of your voice by explaining many of the things you are doing with them such as giving them a bath, changing their diaper and other activities you do together each day. Getting an adopted baby used to your voice can help them form a positive association with you and create a stronger bond.
9: Eye Contact
As with communication, constant eye contact is another way to promote bonding with your adopted baby. You can facilitate eye contact in a number of ways including during feedings, making funny faces and playing a game of peek-a-boo. Babies thrive with these types of interactions and they can be fun and rewarding for both of you.
10: Simply Relax
Creating a bond with your adopted baby is going to take time. The most important tip is to try and stay relaxed while the bond forms naturally. In time, your baby will learn to care about you naturally.
About the author: Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for Youth Villages.She often produces content for a variety of adoption blogs.