Something I found when I was preparing for his arrival was that I couldn’t find many real-life examples of what people did to help their older infants (6-12 months) adjust and start connecting. It’s my hope that someday the following list may be helpful for someone. With that said here are some of the things that have worked well for us these past few week (I hope to come back and focus on each one eventually).
- Limiting visitors.
- Limiting leaving the house
- Always telling him when we leave the room “mommy will be right back”.
- Always greeting him upon entering the room “mommy came back, mommy always come back”
- Explaining what is happening (ie, daddy goes to work and then comes home at night, mommy stays home all day”)
- Telling him who will be there when he wakes up from night/nap “mommy will be here when you wake up, you just call for her and I’ll be here”
- Helping him self soothe. In the first week especially he had a few self-soothing things he did. I started saying “mommy will help you with that” and doing it with him/for him. This calmed him down immensely and he no longer does them with the same frequency.
- Talking about “the big change” and explaining that all the changes are over now.
- Telling him his story, from HIS perspective.
- Giving voice to his feelings “I know this is all strange and that nothing smells or looks the same.” “I know you miss ____” (foster mother’s name.)
- Telling him what mommy and daddy do “mommy makes baby’s bottle”
- Holding the bottle for him.
- Lots of skin on skin time.
- Taking things super slow.
- Listening when he talks/cries and responding: “I’m sorry baby, I know you’re sad, I would be sad too if everything was new and scary”.