No matter how a child is adopted into your family, there will always be trauma. From infant adoptions to foster care adoptions to international adoptions, there is always trauma involved. A common misconception is that your child can avoid trauma if adopted at birth, but that simply isn’t true. Trauma happens in every form of adoption. This is why attachment and bonding for both you and your child are so vital.
Here are some common ways to help with this process:
- Be skin-to-skin with your baby in the hospital.
This helps the baby regulate their heartbeat and get familiar with your smells and rhythms. It also helps you start the bonding process with your child because you didn’t have the advantage of carrying the child through pregnancy, which is where bonding starts. You’re now doing what we call instant family.
- Baby wearing.
Be sure to buy the carriers where you can carry the baby on your person. Baby wearing is vital to attachment and bonding because you can talk directly to the baby and make eye contact, which is extremely important.
- Day-to-day care of your baby.
This is yet another important way to bond with your child as you’ll be able to talk and make eye contact with them, as stated before, they’ll look to you as the primary caregiver. In the first week or two, your child is getting to know who you are, so it helps to do these little day-to-day activities with them, such as feeding, changing, bathing, and rocking them to sleep. Be sure that you and your partner, if any, are the primary people who do this in the first several weeks. If others are visiting, grandparents included, ensure they understand that you’re still bonding with the baby. They’re allowed to hold the new bundle of joy, but feedings, changings, and other bonding activities are reserved for the parents for now. If they’d like to help, offer other chores for them to do like laundry or cooking.
- Keep the baby close to you while sleeping.
Bassinets are what we recommend since the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages parents from co-sleeping with the baby in the same bed. Having the baby close to you, either beside your bed or in the same room, should do just fine. Some may find this is not a good option for them, specifically for people who are light sleepers like myself, and that’s okay. It’s just another suggestion for bonding with your child and developing that attachment with them.
- Relax and enjoy the process.
Parenting can be so hard, and getting a lack of sleep makes things difficult. You’ve waited so long for this moment, so do your best to relax and enjoy it because this time goes by fast!
When looking at adoption, just remember, you gotta start somewhere.
If you haven’t already, take the first step and learn about adoption and all that comes with it by taking the All About Adoption 101 course.
Check out my YouTube channel for more amazing tips and adoption advice.