Posted by: texidortraining | January 31, 2011

Welcome to Conscious Parenting!

I want to invite all foster and adoptive parents to become active in this new blog that will focus on the struggles and challenges that parents experience while providing support and guidance to children with attachment issues. I will keep parents informed of the latest news, debates, and/or points of view regarding how to become a better parent while dealing with very challenging children. I am expecting parents to add to the blog their own ideas, strategies, and tools that have helped them become better parents while dealing with such a challenging population.

For our first post I would like to address adoptive parents of newborn babies who are having problems( frequent crying, sleeping problems, difficulties with soothing, ect.) with their new baby, and after a few visits to the pediatrician, without any medical reasons for the baby’s behaviors, are feeling stressed and somewhat confused.  Newborn babies spend nine months very close to their biological mother to the point of learning to differentiate tone of voice, heartbeat, and the smell of their mother’s breast milk a few days after they are born. These babies are bonded to their biological mothers in utero, and at birth, when they get separated from their biological mothers, they go into shock. Recent research found that 15 to 18 months old babies, who were separated from their biological mothers for fifteen minutes, not only developed an increase in cortisol levels ( a stress hormone), but these levels stayed abnormally elevated for more than six hours after they became re-united with their biological mothers. This stress response will create much restlessness, sleep dysregulation, difficulties with soothing, and much irritability. Parents of newborn babies need to be aware of such difficulties and avoid letting the baby cry without parental soothing and/or contact.

In addition, to avoid further confusion, newborn babies need to be with their adoptive mothers as much as possible, avoid family reunions, frequent visitors, or changes in setting, for at least the first six months to a year. During this time adoptive parents need to work on a positive interaction with the baby avoiding any yelling and or stressful situations between parents to avoid triggering the baby’s stress-response. Parents need to be aware that their emotional state will be perceived by baby and as a result will impact the babies emotional state. The more the family withdraws from outside interactions and/or distractions, the more time parents will have to attach and bond with the new baby.  Adoptive parents need to avoid leaving their adopted newborn in a child care facility that have a high rate of caretaker changes, if possible, child care facilities should be avoided for the first six to twelve months to allow the baby to adjust to his/her new mother and become reassured that he is safe within his home environment and mother. The more the baby goes from one caretaker to another, the more the baby will experience separation anxiety and the more his/her stress response will be triggered. A better solution for working parents is to find a person that can stay with the baby at the baby’s home for the time the mother is at work. This will minimize any anxious demeanor triggered by changes in setting and caregivers during the early developmental months. My recommendation is to plan and save enough money to be able to stay with the adopted baby for the first twelve to twenty-four months.

I hope that the above information was helpful for all of you venturing into the newborn adoptive challenges.