Although when you first think of fostering, you will probably imagine an older child – especially as the average age of a fostered child is around eight years old – the reality is that children of all ages need the help that a foster parent can give them. The difference, however, is that when it comes to babies, in the vast majority of cases, their mother will also need to be taken care of. This is known as a mother-baby placement, and it’s something that specialized foster parents often want to do.
When you take on the task of looking after a mother and a baby in your home, there are many different things you will need to do to ensure that both are as comfortable as possible and that you’re also happy with the arrangement. When you can help the mother, the baby will automatically be helped too, and this is a good way to think about things. Read on for some more tips about mother-baby placements to make a difficult situation much easier.
It Will Take Time
You can’t expect a mother and her baby to immediately settle into your home and your way of doing things. It might happen, of course, but it’s much more likely that there will be a potentially long period of adjustment. Knowing this can make the process a lot easier for all involved.
Everything is going to be new for everyone, and the mother herself will have gone through something difficult, whether that’s being in a difficult domestic situation, being homeless, or even going through a traumatic birth. Your foster agency, such as thefca.co.uk, will give you all the information you might need about that when you require it. Whatever the case, you need to know that just being there when she needs you is enough.
In most cases, when it comes to mother-baby placements, the mother will do all the work with the baby, and you’ll be there to guide and advise as necessary. You’ll offer them a place to live, food to eat, and help if they want it, but otherwise, they are there to become more confident, more empowered, and more capable before they head out by themselves. Therefore, you shouldn’t try to rush anything or insist on anything (apart from house rules, of course). It’s better to let things happen naturally, as this is the ideal way to learn.
Provide the Mother with Baby Items In The Home
Babies are always going to need a variety of different items to keep them safe, happy, and healthy. The mother may not have access to these things, so having them in your home means she can immediately start taking care of her child in the way she wants to. You can also set up a room with a crib and other items, as well as a bed for the mother, so she knows she has a safe place to go when she needs to.
Often luxuries like toys are great items to have in your home. However, don’t forget about the bare essentials like diapers, clothing, bottles, and bibs, as some mothers may not have any of these. Having a stroller or car seat on hand can also be useful.
Keep A Record
In a mother-baby placement, the foster parent’s main role is to guide the new parent into understanding how to take care of their child. However, another of their duties is to ensure that the social worker involved in the case is given plenty of feedback – positive and negative – about what is happening.
With this being the case, it’s wise to keep a record of anything, no matter how trivial, so you can pass that information on. In most cases, everyone is working together to keep the mother and baby together, so don’t feel as though you are telling tales or speaking out of turn. Watching what is happening is one of the main reasons for this kind of specific foster care, and it’s important that you are happy to do this. Otherwise, a mother-baby placement may not be the right option for you.
Make A Plan
As a new parent, it can be daunting, perhaps even overwhelming, to consider the number of things you need to learn and do. Add to this a difficult past or an uncertain future, and it’s clear why foster parents need to help as much as possible.
In this regard, the best thing you can do right at the start is to make a plan. Involve the mother and possibly her social worker, and create a plan that will see them through their placement with you. It might be a list of all the things you’d like them to learn, or perhaps a suggestion about how they can move forward. When this is in place, everything will feel much less worrying for everyone.