If you have a baby on the way, congratulations! This is a period of great joy and anticipation, but also one of anxiety. Some intended parents worry about whether they’ll be able to properly bond with their baby once in their arms. Rest assured, bonding with your surrogate-born baby is not much different than bonding with a child you would carry yourself. Parents of surrogate-born children across the world provide affectionate and warm home environments that raise healthy, resilient children.
And remember, parents-to-be: you might just become one of the best parents in the world! You have waited this long. You know you are ready, and you want this child so much. You won’t take anything for granted when it comes to your new baby, and what better parent than that?
Bonding Before Baby Comes Home
Here are some of the most constructive ways to spend your time before welcoming your new baby into your home.
- Mourn the pregnancy you couldn’t have.
You’ve been through the ringer, mama. You have to mourn the pregnancy experience you wanted so much but couldn’t have. It’s important to talk to a psychologist and get all the social and mental support you need to overcome the pain from your experience. Take some time for yourself. Prioritize things that make you happy and feel good. Spend time with loved ones. It’s important to mentally prepare for the new baby on the way – make room by processing the grief you experienced in infertility and start getting excited for motherhood!
- Be there for the surrogate mother
If you can, involve yourself in the pregnancy! Go to doctor’s appointments, speak to the surrogate mother on a regular basis, and talk to the baby in the womb so the infant can come to know your voice.
If you’re not in the same state, province, or country as your surrogate, you can record your voice, the voice of other family members such as siblings and other parents, and even record some of your favorite music. Send the tape to the surrogate mother so she can play the sounds for the baby. This way, the baby will become familiar with the sounds of their new family and environment.
- Prepare your home for baby’s arrival
By preparing your home for the arrival of your child, you are also preparing your hearts. You can design the nursery so it will make you and baby feel peaceful and calm. You can safety-proof the house and ensure that you will have everything you need for when the special day comes. This way, you will feel psychically and mentally prepared for when your child comes home. There will be a safe, calming place for them, and you will feel ahead of the curve.
- Transition the baby with love and care
Trust us, we know you want to hug on your baby and bring her home! But first, it’s important to transition the baby with utmost affection and care. This step is utterly important for her health and development.
First, provide a transition item to the baby so they can have the scent of the surrogate mother. Perhaps it’s a stuffed bunny or a blanket that the surrogate mother can sleep with throughout the pregnancy. This will provide the baby with a sense of stability throughout the transition process.
When the baby is born, it’s important for the baby to first be held by the surrogate mother. By being placed on the surrogate mother’s chest, the baby can confirm what they’ve been sensing from the outside world. This is vital for development, as it confirms the smells, sounds, and other sensations from within the womb.
After that, the baby will finally be ready to join your family – the moment you’ve been waiting for!
Once Baby Comes Home
It’s the moment you’ve been anticipating for months! Bringing your new baby home is a day you will never forget. Here are some ways you can bond with your new son or daughter.
- Have frequent skin-to-skin contact with your baby
Infants who enjoy plenty of skin-to-skin contact with their parents after birth experience improvements in heart and lung function, stable body temperatures, and better regulation of blood sugar. Skin-to-skin contact helps the baby develop healthy bacteria and reduces crying. Babies who are held often enjoy enhanced communication with their parents, which boosts parent-child bonding. Skin-to-skin contact is essential for infant health, and it’s good for you, too.
A special message for moms: consider breastfeeding your surrogate-born baby. You’ll have to undergo some hormone shots to make your body think it’s pregnant, but beyond that, lactation will be the same. Breastfeeding helps boost that bond between mother and child through the close contact and feeding.
If you can’t breastfeed, don’t worry! Fathers and same-sex couples can take part in feeding, bathing, playing, and tummy time will help create that special bond.
- Don’t blame yourself when the baby is fussy.
Deep breath! All babies are fussy sometimes. It doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong. A fussy baby has nothing to do with surrogacy, so don’t beat yourself up over not being able to carry your own baby. Everything will be just fine, and your child will love you no matter what. All babies cry, so just rock them and cuddle with them until they feel better.
- Interact with your baby frequently.
All babies need to explore their surroundings with their parents. They need to play, make eye contact, and feel loved and safe by a parent. Smile at your baby, sing to them, read them books, and foster an environment of love and attention. This will do wonders for baby’s brain growth and development and will strengthen your bond with your little one.
- Be patient.
If you don’t feel that immediate attachment, don’t worry. Bonding takes time. Being a new parent can be overwhelming. New parents often feel stressed, tired, and unhappy during the first couple of weeks. It’s a huge life change, and it can be a lot to handle! Go easy on yourself. It’s natural to experience a lot of complex emotions. It doesn’t mean you love your baby less than you should. As long as you take care of your baby’s basic needs and give them the attention they need, they won’t suffer at all.
Many parents – even ones who were able to carry their own babies – can experience difficulties bonding with their babies at first. This is normal and will pass with time.
- Don’t be afraid to ask us questions!
Here at New Life Georgia, we’ve been helping grow families for years. We have helped thousands of couples navigate the journey to parenthood. There’s nothing we haven’t heard, and there’s nothing we can’t help you with or point you in the right direction for. We are here for you in this journey, so don’t hesitate to reach out! Our team of experts have the compassion and experience to help you become the best parents possible.