All the waiting is well worth it to finally bring home your newest family member. You have made it this far, and now your focus shifts to learning how to bond with your baby. If you are feeling apprehensive about how to start the process, you are not alone. This is a concern that plagues the minds of many adoptive parents. Here are a few tips to help you learn to bond with your adopted baby.
Just because your child did not learn your body in utero does not mean they cannot develop a deep connection with it post-adoption. Babies bond heavily through skin-to-skin contact. Lay your baby on your bare chest and let him or her learn your smell and memorize the way your skin feels. Your child will find peace feeling the warmth of your body and learning the sound of your heartbeat. In the early months, carrying your child around in a wrap or sling as much as possible will help give your baby additional time against your body while also allowing you to have your hands free to get other things done.
2. Building Trust
Some parenting campaigns advocate allowing children to cry prior to responding to their needs. A young infant is only able to express their needs through crying and a parent’s response to their “cry for help” is essential in building trust. It is suggested that you respond to your child’s cry either physically or verbally within 15–30 seconds. As you build trust and your baby gets older, you will be able to scale back how quickly you respond to their cries.
3. Focus on Your Baby
Babies thrive on eye contact. Your little one will enjoy every moment that his or her parents gaze into their eyes. Keep in mind that in early infancy, babies can typically see best from 8–15 inches away from their face. Most parents have a hard time taking their eyes off their little miracle, so this way of bonding usually takes little effort.
4. Take Advantage of Feedings
Feeding time is an excellent time to bond with your baby. Babies associate food with survival, so as you feed them, hold them close to your body and look into their eyes. Considering it as a bonding time may also take some of the exhaustion out of those 3am feedings.
Bonding with an adopted baby is not much different from how parents bond with their biological babies. Though your bonding process will not begin until after your child is born, you still have many of the same strategies and will very likely find it much more natural and easy than you thought it would be.