Tag Archives: bonding

Feel the Love: How to Bond with Your Adopted Child

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The best things in life are unseen, that’s why we close our eyes during a kiss, a laugh and a dream and bonding is no exception- you can’t see it, but you can feel it. Bonding with your child is important and becomes almost critical if the child was adopted. Although we know adoption isn’t a birth mothers rejection, oftentime’s to adoptee’s it can feel that way. Is it important to reassure your child that they can depend on you and are safe and loved. Bonding is a process that cannot be rushed. A deep meaningful relationship can only develop through shared experiences, trust, and time. It’s essential for children to feel accepted, cherished, and loved in the purest form- unconditional and true. Remember, a family isn’t made from blood, it’s made from love.

“A family isn’t made from blood, it’s made from love.”

The Science Behind Bonding

Attachment is a strong, affectionate bond we have with special people in our lives that lead us to experience pleasure when we interact with them. We often feel comforted by those we have an attachment to in the times of stress. The beginning stages of bonding starts earlier and simpler than many think. According to famous Psychologist Bowlby, babies are born equipped with behaviors like crying, babbling and smiling to ensure adult attention and adults are actually biologically programmed to respond to infant signals. When a parent performs small steps such as holding their children close, singing sweetly to them, comforting them and rocking them softly to sleep, their child knows that their parent is dependable which creates a secure base for the child to begin exploring the world and feel loved while doing so. These things along with keeping a calm voice, skin-to-skin contact, and carrying your child are the beginning steps to making your adoptive baby feel safe, secure, loved and cherished beyond belief.

Vera Falhberg, pediatrician and specialist in the field of adoption attachments, categorizes the following as long-term effects from positive attachment:

  • Helps a child to sort out perceptions of the world in which he lives
  • Encourages the development of logical thinking
  • Develops social emotions in a child
  • Cultivates the formation of a conscience
  • Helps an individual cope with stress, frustration, worries, and fears
  • Fashions an appropriate balance between dependence and independence
  • Sets the stage for the unfolding of healthy future relationshipsUntitled design

The Importance of Comfort

Making sure your child has comfort is a nurturing, everyday desire all parents have. Comfort increases productivity and boosts self-esteem in children and who doesn’t want that? Contact-Comfort takes it a step further and examines the relationship between physical and emotional comfort with love and security. For example, we’ve all seen the reaction that a crying baby can have due to being picked up by its mother; the child relaxes and stops crying. This is believed to be a result of its first feeling of safety and security derived from this close contact. A famous experiment that is a true testimony of the importance of comfort was conducted by Harry Harlow in 1959. The experiment focused around baby monkeys that were separated from their birth mothers and reared to two mother-like figures; one terry cloth covered doll and one wire meshed doll. The babies held on tightly to the terry cloth covered dolls for security and comfort despite the fact that the wire meshed doll had a bottle attached to it. This experiment demonstrated the importance of a warm and comfortable environment to help a child thrive rather than a cold, uncomforting one.

Building Comfort for your Child

We suggest having an age-appropriate crib or bed, warm sheets and blankets, a few pieces of child size furniture and some toys they might enjoy. You may feel the need to over-indulge with bold prints and glitter, but decorating with too many bright colors may be too overwhelming. Decorating with soft, warm colors will put your child at ease and displaying few attractive toys that are soft and fuzzy will calm your child and help them feel right at home. Another tip we suggest is carrying you child in the front of your body, closest to your heart. The Moby wrap can help you keep your child close and aid in bonding while also freeing your hands.

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Ready, Set, Bond!

True bonding is not measured by time spent together or the favors done for each other but by the comfort you find when you realize you have each other. Now that you have some background knowledge on the importance of bonding, let’s put our theories and science to work. Here are some tips we offer to help promote a healthy bond between you and your child.

Be Sensitive and Empathetic

Empathy is all about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with someone else’s heart, and seeing through someone else eyes. Be sensitive to the needs of your child and handle with care and compassion. If your infant is crying, take time to rock them gently and sing to them softly.

Sit and Play

Playfulness decreases any feelings of threat and harm. Sit alongside your child and follow their lead. Find activities that will interest your child and stimulate them emotionally and intellectually. “I see you” is a great game to play that promotes eye contact and helps the child become familiar with your facial features and laugh.

Be Predictable

Keeping rituals and routines help let the child let him know what’s expected of them as well as what they can expect from you. Try to keep feeding times the same; the earlier your child realizes that when they’re hungry you will feed them the better it is for all. As soon as your baby shows signs of hunger, sit in a cozy spot with a drink of water, a nursing pillow and soft music playing. If your baby is easily distracted when feeding, you might try going in a quiet room with the lights low, says Jim Sears, M.D., author of The Baby Book.

Skin-to-Skin Connection

Child or infant massages are a way for you to gently nurture and spend time with your baby. They promote parent – to child interact and are often soothing and calming to your child.

Relax and Enjoy It!

Bonding is not like instant glue which suddenly and irrevocable cements the parent-child relationship together forever. Bonding is a life-long process of parent-child interaction. Take a deep breath and enjoy bonding with you child; not only will this make you feel better, but also help your child relax.

What are some rituals your family does to promote healthy relationships?

 

Did You Know You Can Breastfeed Your Adoptive Baby?

Breastfeeding an Adoptive Baby

Some people might think that the word breastfeeding and adoption don’t belong in the same sentence nevertheless think that it’s a possibility.  Not only is it very possible, , but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends whenever possible that all babies be exclusively breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired. It is understandable that sometimes this is not possible however it is important for adoptive mothers to know the option exists even when she doesn’t give birth to her child.

Benefits of Breastfeeding Your Adoptive Baby 

Before making a decision to induce lactation or deciding it isn’t the right path for you, it is important to consider all the benefits linked to breastfeeding. Just like with biological mothers, the process can be tiring and frustrating.  Along the way you might want to give up, it may just be because it is too time consuming, you are having latching problems or it could be that you feel like you simply are just not producing enough milk for your baby. Just know that a lot of other mothers are going through the same struggles as you are, and whether you decide to continue breastfeeding or you choose a different route, you are not a bad mother.  Even though there are a lot of studies that show a multitude of benefits that come from breastfeeding, it may not be the path or even an option for your family and that’s ok too.

The Benefits That Your Child Gets From BREASTFEEDING

Below are just some compelling, research based facts about the importance of breastfeeding for the child in case you do decide to choose this path.

  • Immunizations: Human milk boosts a baby’s immune system big time—helping baby fight viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections.
  • SIDS: The AAP says breastfeeding plays a role in the prevention of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). The meta-analysis found that breastfeeding was associated with a 36 percent reduction in the risk of SIDS compared to not breastfeeding.
  • Eczema: In families with a history of atopy, exclusive breastfeeding for at least 3 months was found to have a 42 percent reduction in atopic dermatitis compared with breastfeeding for less.
  • Asthma: Breastfeeding for at least 3 months was associated with a 27 percent reduction in the risk of asthma for those without a family history of asthma and a 40 percent reduction for those with a family history of asthma.

The Benefits that the Adoptive Mother Gains from Breastfeeding

As beneficial as breastfeeding is for your baby, it will also benefit you as their mother as well. Here are just a few scientifically proven facts about how breastfeeding benefits mothers too.

  • Breast cancer: The longer women breastfeed, the more they’re protected against breast and ovarian cancer. For breast cancer, nursing for at least a year appears to have the most protective effect.
  • Positive Mood: Research has shown breastfeeding to have positive psychological effect for mothers. Researchers suggest that the higher levels of the oxytocin released by breastfeeding contributed to the positive mood.
  • Bonding: Bonding is a crucial aspect of adoption, and the hormones released during breastfeeding can facilitate the process. Breastfeeding places you and your baby in skin-to-skin contact, which is important both to your baby’s developments and the attachments between you and your baby.Breastfeeding creates a connection of bonding

 Preparing Yourself Ahead of Time

Even if you have never been pregnant or reached menopause, it is possible to breastfeed an adopted baby. The process of breastfeeding an adopted baby is called induced lactation. It is possible to gain the benefits of breastfeeding little to no preparation at all, however if you have advanced notice that you will have a baby joining you’re family, you can have a head start on the process.  It is suggested that you start a few weeks before your baby is arriving. To prepare you can stimulate you’re breasts by hand or by pump.  The pumping massage will induce prolactine which switches on the milk glands in the breasts.  Just know that you will produce little to no milk during these pumping sessions. Don’t get frustrated, it can take a month or more of regular pumping to trigger milk production. The main purpose of pumping before the baby is born is to start the changes in your breast so that you will produce milk, it is not to start your storage supply!

Inducing lactation after your baby arrives

If you are a hopeful adoptive mother and are fortunate enough to be present at the hospital when your baby is born, speak with your social worker about your plans to nurse and use their guidance to see if you would be able to begin nursing while at the hospital. Keep in mind; it might not be possible to nurse while in the hospital so turn to your social worker for direction. Getting the baby to latch might be the hardest part but there will be a lactation consultant at the hospital to help you through the process. A good latch means the baby will get more of your milk and will create a lot LESS painful feeding sessions! Just always keep in mind that there more to breastfeeding than the amount of breast milk being delivered to the baby. Think of the intimate relationship you are forming with your new baby, the closeness and the attachment that many mothers are looking for.

Conclusion

If you decide to take the breast feeding route, please share with us and others your tips of the trade! If you want additional information or just want to read another’s persons opinion about this topic, check out our breastfeeding blog that we wrote back in 2010.

Are you having problems breastfeeding as an adoptive mother?? Let’s try and help each other jump this hurdle together!

To learn more about newborn bonding check out our other past blogs that all relate to each other.

https://afth.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/newborn-bonding/

https://afth.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/bonding-with-your-adopted-child/

Children Conceived by 3rd Party Reproduction are Psychologically Okay

A study conducted in 2008 suggests that children born to a surrogate mother or conceived through donated sperm or a donated egg do just as well psychologically as counterparts who are naturally conceived.

This study is the widest yet into concerns that the rising numbers of children born through assisted reproduction may suffer lower self-esteem or be treated less positively by parents, siblings and schoolmates.

Scientists from the Centre for Family Research at Britain’s Cambridge University carried out interviews and psychology tests among 39 surrogacy families, 43 donor insemination families and 46 egg donation families.

For comparison, they made the same investigation among 70 families where the children had been conceived naturally. They also asked the children’s teachers, in order to get an independent assessment of the child’s wellbeing.

The found that the family types did not differ in the overall quality of the relationship between mothers and their children and fathers and their children.  Mothers who had had their child through surrogacy and egg donation tended to be more sensitive to their child’s worries and anxieties compared with donor insemination mothers and natural conception mothers, but the difference was minor.

As for the child’s view of family relationships, children of all backgrounds felt that their mother and father were their closest relationship.  There was no significant difference between family types when it came to self-esteem.

When it came to telling children about their conception and birth they found a majority of parents of children born through assisted reproduction delayed telling the child about how he or she was conceived.By the time of the child’s seventh birthday, only 39 percent of egg-donation parents, 29 percent of donor-insemination parents and 89 percent of surrogacy parents had told their children about the nature of their conception.

These figures contrast markedly with what the parents said they would do when they were questioned at the child’s first birthday. The reasons for not informing the children were stated as ” numerous and complex,” including a desire to protect an infertile father and the fear that a child may feel less love for the non-genetic parent.