There’s something special about the bond between a parent and a child. Newborn babies rely on their parents for everything—and as they grow, the bond only becomes stronger. It ensures you’ll be there to protect your baby during infanthood, and continue to be there for them even when they aren’t quite as cute. (Teenagers, anyone?) Surrogate parents often worry about bonding with their babies. However, you don’t need to carry a child, in order to care for that child.
“Surrogacy may not be a traditional path to parenthood, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bond with your baby in traditional ways,” says Mindy Berkson, Surrogacy Consultant at Newborn Advantage.
As an intended parent, you already have everything you need to bond with your baby: a desire to be a parent, the means to care for a child, and most importantly, unconditional love. At Newborn Advantage, we have seen many intended parents build loving families with happy, healthy children. Here are seven ways intended parents can establish a bond with babies born through surrogacy:
- Celebrate and Anticipate Your Baby’s Arrival
Simply thinking about your child can create and reinforce feelings of love and protection. If you’re having a baby shower, register for the items you might need online, and enjoy this time getting ready for your baby. Spend time decorating the nursery and baby-proofing your house.
- Talk to Your Baby
Babies love hearing the sounds of their parents’ voices. During the pregnancy, you might want to send recordings of your voice to your surrogate, to play for the baby. You can read books, sing songs, or simply talk to your baby. Even though your baby won’t understand the words, hearing your voice will help to build familiarity with you early.
- Sing or Play Music
Lullabies and music are classic ways to soothe and bond with babies. Sing to your baby at bedtime, or any time. (It’s OK if you don’t have an amazing voice.) You might also ask your surrogate what type of music she listened to during the pregnancy, and play the same music at home, to help ease the transition.
- Wear or Carry Your Baby
Babies love to be carried and held—and today, it’s easier than ever. A variety of comfortable carriers are available to ease the strain on your back and arms, while making it easy to carry your baby throughout your daily activities. Whether you are cooking, grocery shopping, going for a walk, or working, wearing your baby in an infant carrier is a great way to bond while keeping your hands free for other tasks.
- Try Skin-to-Skin Contact
It’s been proven that skin-to-skin contact is good for babies’ emotional development. While your baby is wearing a diaper, you can hold them against your chest, so they can hear and feel your heart beat. The skin-to-skin contact will help your baby feel warm, loved, and closer to you.
- Make Eye Contact
Babies seek out faces, and enjoy eye contact—especially if you occasionally make a funny face or stick out your tongue. Feeding and bathing your baby are great opportunities to look at your baby, smile, and connect with them.
- Reinforce the Bond with your Partner.
Your partner was by your side as you embarked on your surrogacy journey, and they will need your support after the baby’s arrival, as much as you will need theirs. Rely on one another to arrange schedules and childcare, share household chores, and provide emotional support. It’s also a good idea to hire a sitter every now and then, so you can enjoy an evening together. Reinforcing the bond with each other is good for you both—and your baby.