Sunday, November 25, 2007

Explaining Attachment to Family Members

Courtesy of Rumor Queen
Wednesday, April 05, 2006

We did a lot of educating of family members while we were waiting last time. It was a long wait back then, too, so we had plenty of time.

I pointed out that family members may not understand some of the things we would need to do. That they would see us treating a one year old like an infant and this would seem wrong to them. I pointed out that they needed to understand that she may never have been treated the way an infant should be treated, and that she needed that stage with us, as her parents, so she could learn to trust us.

I told them that they would not be able to hold her for a while. Maybe two months, maybe six months - it would depend on how well we felt the attachment process was going. They were not pleased with this, and some of them needed to be pointed to web sites before they grudgingly said okay.

As it turned out, we started letting them hold her for short periods at about 6 weeks. She knew we were her parents by that point, and she wouldn't stay with them for long before she wanted to come back to us. Preparing them for two to six months made that six weeks a lot easier to get through.

We had some family members who were violently opposed to the family bed. I told them they were welcome to raise their family as they saw fit, and that their opinions were duly noted and they should not feel the need to repeat them. I was nice about it, but I got my point across.

Some who were opposed to the family bed "got it" when I said "she's been in an orphanage, it's likely that the last time that she was alone was when she was abandoned. Once arriving at the orphanage she slept in a room with twelve babies in it, there is no way we can put her in a room alone and expect her to just deal with it".

This time I am reminding them of some of what we taught them last time: No one will feed the new baby except us. No one will be holding her for a while.

And I'm going to make a possibly rude request this time as well. I don't expect anyone to bring anything for the new baby. But last time many people did bring a little outfit or toy when they came to see her for the first time. So, my request is that if someone wants to bring something for the new baby, that they not bring something for the new baby unless they also bring something for the big girl. I don't care if it's a coloring book from the dollar store - just something that is age appropriate.

Last time we did a lot of preparation so the dog would be okay with a new baby. He's now very used to his big girl (they are the best of friends), but I'm thinking we need to start thinking about moving food and water dishes now so he's used to it and doesn't associate the change with the new baby.

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