When adopting, many people wonder if they will feel attached to their child. Some say they fall instantly in love; while others feel like it takes months before they finally fall in love with their little baby.
What are some ways that you can increase your attachment to your child?
1. Educate yourself.
On parenting. On age appropriate developmental care and stages. Find an older mom and use her as a source of comfort and guidance. Realize that you will not know everything, no one does. And that not knowing does not mean you are not equipped to be a good parent. Questioning yourself and asking for help is what makes a good parent.
2. Feed with love.
If you choose to relactate or induce lactation, please do it! If you are unable to, or don’t want to breastfeed, you can still enjoy a closeness with your baby at feeding times. How? Follow your baby’s feeding cues. Encourage your child to eat when hungry and to stop when he or she is full. Snuggle your baby close if you breastfeed or bottle feed and make eye contact. Limit your other activities when it is feeding time to focus just on your child. Enjoy the quiet time.
3. Use touch.
Babies need physical contact. Do baby massages or skin-to-skin to provide closeness. Baby wearing is a great way to offer your baby security, contact and stimulation as your baby is right there involved in everything you are doing.
4. Sleep is important to your baby and to you!
Developing good sleep habits will last a lifetime. Some people choose to co-sleep while others may keep their baby in the room with them to be able to meet their needs at night without allowing their baby to become distressed. Knowing your baby’s cues will help you realize when he or she is getting sleepy and wants to be laid down, which allows your baby to learn to self-soothe and put themselves to sleep.
5. Provide loving care with positive discipline.
Try not to be reactive in your discipline; instead look for reasons for the behavior, encouraging communication of emotions and solutions together. “If-Then” statements work well. If I do this, then this happens. Allowing children to learn natural consequences without being punitive allows them to feel like they have some control over their environment. Offering choices allows them to exert that control and teach problem-solving skills. Watching your children try and fail is very difficult, but important in life. Allowing them to fail while you are there to gently guide them will give them confidence to try new things.
Attachment parenting is all about learning your child’s individual cues at each developmental level. It’s meeting them where they are on each day while providing them with a secure place of support. It is teaching them that they are loved not because of what they do, but because of innately who they are. It teaches that we all make mistakes, but that we can get up, shake it off, and try again.
Are you ready to pursue a domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with a compassionate, experienced adoption professional who can help get you started on the journey of a lifetime.