For some, surrogacy is often the first step in the long and rewarding journey of parenthood. After a baby is born, the birth mother gives custody and guardianship to the intended parents. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it’s finally time to take your child home.
Intended parents often require some parental guidance and counselling on how to deal with the rigours that accompany the care of a newborn baby. This is necessary because the period of birth is a significant transition that is marked by a change in the relationship between intended parents and surrogate mothers. Also, caring for the baby must be among the top priorities.
Counseling is vital when it comes to helping parents care for infants. It usually involves:
- Keeping up with feeding schedules.
- Medical care.
- Hygiene is the central element of the upcoming experience.
This counselling ought to be a continuous process that begins before birth and persists for some time afterward to help parents cope.
Related: What Can Be Expected After Birth?
Healthcare experts have found that the mental well-being of parents has significant effects on the baby’s brain development. Mental health also affects the bond formed with the baby and is likely to have a lasting impact on the growth and development of the baby.
Safety is critical
Handling a newborn baby is an experience characterized by safety. This begins the moment you hold your baby and extends to many other things; for example, you should ensure that your car seats have child seat anchors and that the base is installed before it’s time to take the baby home.
You will also want to make sure that your general surroundings are ‘baby-proof’, which includes removing dirt and small stuff from your seats, beds, floors, and other surfaces. This is important considering that babies come into close contact with floors a great deal of time.
Cleanliness is key because germs and bacteria can affect babies more than they do adults. Remember that toddlers will likely put anything in their mouths! Therefore, ensure that small items are not lying around and that items you have within reach of your baby do not cause choking hazards.
Childcare professionals recommend a secluded and dedicated area of the home for playing and hanging around with your baby. You may find it useful to have a roll-out carpet in this area, that way your baby has a soft surface to play on.
Remember that babies get sick easier than adults do, therefore, you should try to keep your baby away from anyone who has cold or flu symptoms. Pair this with washing/disinfecting your hands before you touch your baby. This will ensure that your baby is not exposed to whatever germs you may come in contact with. Ask others to do the same when they are around your baby.
If upon leaving the hospital, you feel that something isn’t right, you should have a certified child healthcare provider check your baby within 48 to 72 hours. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to achieving positive long-term health and well-being.
If you do not have prior arrangements with a child healthcare provider, ensure that you obtain all the relevant information (including the post-natal care schedule) before leaving the hospital. Remember, don’t rush. Take it slow, that way you don’t forget to ask questions regarding things that might not be clear to you. Also, and this probably goes without saying, but don’t be afraid to ask your questions.
Healthcare experts note that babies are often overdressed for their first trip home and during their first few days at home. They recommend putting yourself in the baby’s shoes and dressing the baby as you would yourself. After all, wouldn’t you be rather hot if someone dressed you in a warm knitted hat and blanket during the summer?
Implement an after-birth plan
Having a plan ready to be implemented can be quite helpful. This will usually include having the basic items ready in advance, so you’re not all over the place trying to get things ready once the baby is home. Also, this will help you feel prepared and allow you to familiarize yourself with most of the things you will use when the baby arrives. The best way to do this is to prepare a checklist that you can frequently refer to.
A parent-child bond is something that all new parents worry about. Difficulties experienced in the bonding process do not point to parenting itself, rather it translates to an adjustment period that varies from parent to parent.
Despite not having carried the baby to term yourself, there are many ways to bond with your new baby. Try to be patient – don’t be too hard on yourself. Also, you can always reach out to specialists. They will be more than happy to provide a few handy tips on bonding.
In addition to the existing home
Introducing your baby to your home surroundings and the people in it can be challenging. If you have other children at home, remember to spend some quality time with each of them. Introduce them to their new sibling and teach them about their role in each other’s lives.
Prepare Emotionally and Psychologically
Being a parent is one of the most challenging jobs known to man. When you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and lost, remember that you are not alone. Countless others have walked the path before you – most of them have succeeded in becoming amazing parents.
Engage with resources and people that boost your psychological welfare. Find the necessary help to ensure that you can cope with the rigours of parenting. If you’re still struggling with the experience, reach out to an experienced specialist or community to find additional assistance.
There is a lot to remember for this part of the journey of parenthood. Arguably, the major concerns are preparation, prioritizing health, and wellness, and reaching out for the necessary support when you need it. Remember, if you believe in yourself, you will be the best parent your child could ever have.