Sunday, September 23, 2007

Learning about BONDING

We went to an adoption class last weekend through our home study agency. It was specific to International Adoption. It was very informative and I thought I would share a few things we learned to help anyone else who is adopting. The most important thing for me to learn was about bonding with our new little one. The teacher explained that children living in orphanages see so many faces/caregivers in a given week, they do not associate one person as the one to meet their needs. Therefore, she recommended having you and your spouse be the ONLY two people to hold, feed, change, dress, bathe and put the child to bed for the first 3-6 months. No sitters yet. She said if you have family coming, let them help you with the housework, the other children, and preparing meals but that they should not care for the new child. Another adult may hold the child if they are going to be part of the child's DAILY life and parenting team.

It was suggested to hold and carry the new child as MUCH as possible. Skin to skin is best, especially when feeding a bottle. For the rare times he is not being held, have him in the same room with you. Sleep next to him for the first 2 weeks or so. (Bed sharing is not recommended due to accidental deaths.) Your face should be the last face he sees as he falls asleep as well as the first when he wakes up. She said if others comment that you are "spoiling" your child, then you know you are on the right track!! You have to make up for lost time and help him experience cause and effect. When he cries, pick him up, EVERY time. Be ecstatic when in a few months your child cries when you are out of sight. You will know he is bonding to you when he doesn't want to go to anyone else and shies away from others. Don't push him to be "friendly to everyone" for a while. (There is plenty of time to love others after he feels safe with you.)

Other suggestions included lots of singing, baby massages, rocking with him, eye-contact, and of course one-on-one play time. Be careful not to overstimulate your new child. For a few weeks think quiet, calm, gentle cocoon. We learned a lot of good information about parenting skills and travel too. It really was a great class. I hope some of the info helped others too. So, if you see me from January to June with a little cutie attached to me you can know that we are bonding. It is more involved than I originally thought but I can't wait to get to know and love on Max. Time just can't go fast enough.


liesel said...

This is VERY helpful. Thank you. Did they happen to talk about carriers? I want to find the right sling-type carrier for a big toddler not yet able to walk. The problem I'm having is finding one to keep her legs together (for the hip joints)

Meredith said...

What wonderful advice. Thank you! Our daughter is older (5 when she comes home) but I would bet that a lot of that would translate to older children as well!

Shawnie said...

Hi Charissa-
A good carrier to check out is the Baby Trekker. It holds older kids too. It doesn't look like the hips are spread too much. This is the one I am going to get. Google it and see what you think. Shawnie