Many people believe that bonding with your newly adopted baby should happen instantly and magically. But the reality is that bonding takes dedication and time.
The good news is that you can bond with your newly adopted baby, with intention. Here are 4 practical techniques to bond with your adopted child:
Baby-wearing keeps your baby close to you, allowing him or her to get used to your heartbeat, your scent, and the sound of your voice. Plus, it promotes eye contact. Finally, baby-wearing helps protect your baby from germs. His or her face is on your chest, and their hands are tucked away in the carrier. This makes it difficult for people to just reach out and touch your baby.
As you can see, baby-wearing comes with many benefits, and it's also practical. You're able to keep your baby close to you while doing chores around the house, working, cleaning, walking, or going on errands.
2. Adoptive Breastfeeding
Nursing is possible for adoptive moms, and it comes with many options like using a supplemental nursing system, inducing lactation, and comfort/dry nursing. Some adoptive parents choose bottle-nursing, where the baby is fed with a bottle while his or her cheek rests against a parent’s bare skin. Guide to Adoptive Breastfeeding explains the many options that new parents have with nursing their new addition.
3. A Leave of Absence
A great way to encourage bonding is to create time for it! If finances allow, consider taking a leave-of-absence from work. The time off will give you many more opportunities to practice skin-to-skin contact, as well as bathing and feeding. Parent and baby can always remain within close vicinity to one another.
Though taking a leave isn’t possible for everyone, it’s smart to consider your options before your baby arrives. Get to know your employer’s guidelines and mesh out your financial situation ahead of time.
4. Taking Breaks
You might be wondering what taking breaks has to do with bonding. As any experienced parent will tell you, there's such a thing as being “touched out.” Being a parent to a newborn can lead to desperately needing a break: the sleepless nights, fussiness, diaper changes, and round-the-clock feedings can add up to exhaustion.
Too much touch can lead to frustration, anxiety, and irritability. Try going on errands alone, meeting a friend for coffee, or working out; it can make a world of difference. Then, you'll be able to return to your baby feeling renewed and motivated to continue bonding. You might consider creating a schedule that gives each parent a few breaks.