Bonding with your new baby: the first few weeks

Congratulations, you have a baby!

For parents whose babies are born through surrogacy, the road to parenthood can be a long one. If you’ve become a parent through surrogacy, you’ve been building the beginning of a bond with your little one on your side of the parent-child equation throughout the pregnancy, as you’ve picked out names, set up the nursery, and shared your excitement about your baby with friends and family. Now that Baby is here, though, it’s time to start a whole new phase of bonding – bonding with them as they start to more actively perceive and interact with the world around them.

Bonding physically

One of the biggest areas of parent-child bonding in these early weeks and months is the physical bonding that’s so important in early childhood development, before a baby is ready to communicate with through language. This kind of closeness can start with plenty of chances for skin-to-skin contact, or holding and cuddling the baby so their bare skin touches their parents’ skin.

Another way to make sure you and your baby are getting plenty of that physical closeness that’s so important in this early period of bonding with a baby is by baby-wearing, or wearing a baby in a sling. Baby-wearing can be used by any parent to keep a baby close, and share their experience of the world with their little one, but parents through surrogacy have had less of a chance for a physical connection during pregnancy, and may feel like they need to ‘catch up,’ which is where baby-wearing can be helpful.

During this time, try to remember to be patient with yourself, and with your baby – all babies are fussy sometimes, and all parents have a bit of a learning curve in figuring out what their babies need. But if you’re feeling insecure or nervous about your bond with your baby, it can be easy to think that fussiness means you’re doing something wrong, or not bonding with your baby as fast as you’d like. When your baby cries or fusses, you’ll figure out whether they have a physical need like hunger or a need for a diaper change, or whether they have an emotional need to be held or comforted. All babies have needs, and by identifying and filling these needs, you’re building that bond with your little one, and making it stronger.

Other ways of bonding

Physical touch is just one way of connecting with a new baby – your baby is a ways away from having an understanding of using expressive language to communicate with you, but they are paying close attention to the way language is used around them, and is learning from it every day. The more time you spend talking to them and interacting with them, the more they will learn – which means that your tones of voice and turns of phrase will be the first ones they can understand. Reading, singing and talking to your baby, making eye-contact – in doing these things, you’re creating the bond that will help to define your family

This moment, at the beginning of your family’s future as a unit, with Baby completely tied up in your family structure, is also a great time to start to establish the way you think and talk about your family. Recording milestones and putting together a baby book of important moments from this time is great a way of starting to build the narrative around your family’s history.

Finally, feeling secure and safe helps babies bond. Meeting up with your surrogate again some time in the first few weeks after birth, if that’s something both of your families are comfortable with, can be a great way to foster some of that sense of security. It may be helpful for your baby’s sense of well-being to have a sense of continuity with the person they came out of the womb the most familiar with.

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