For many parents-to-be, working with a surrogate mother is a safe and wonderful option. The process is as emotional as a normal pregnancy, but often comes with its own unique challenges. One of the fears many new parents have is the emotional transfer from the surrogate to the parents. However, there are steps you can take to help ensure that your baby knows you even before you meet them.

Let the Baby Hear Your Voice

Infants in the womb are surprisingly aware. At 18 weeks, an infant starts to hear their first sounds—and at 25 weeks, they may even start responding to voices they recognize.

During a normal pregnancy, infants become accustomed to the sound of their parent’s voices, and may recognize them after birth. There are multiple ways you can work with your surrogate to make sure your baby is familiar with your voices; the most obvious is to spend plenty of time around the surrogate. For even more exposure, consider making a recording of both parents speaking to the baby. Your surrogate mother can play this recording frequently to make sure that your voices are a normal part of your baby’s pre-delivery life.

Give the Surrogate Mother Transitional Items

Transitional items are things that will be in your child’s life both before and after the pregnancy. Try giving your surrogate mother, for example, some of your favorite music to play for them, so the baby will be accustomed to your home’s environment. You can also try giving your surrogate an item to use that will go home with the baby, like a pillow, stuffed animal, or blanket.

Stay Involved in the Pregnancy

Your involvement in the pregnancy is important for both you and your baby to develop an emotional bond. Try to make every doctor’s appointment alongside the surrogate mother. Depending on the relationship you have, you may also spend extra time with your surrogate over the nine months; the important thing is not frequency, but your ability to remain attached and excited for your new child.

Hold a Baby Shower

You might not experience the pregnancy yourself, but you should most certainly celebrate the birth of your new family member. Make sure to throw a baby shower so your family and friends can help you prepare to welcome your baby into the world. Don’t forget to include a few gifts for the surrogate mother, too; she’s done a lot of work to help your infant be happy and healthy.

The surrogacy process is magical, but it can also be a lot of work. Remember to stay in touch with both medical and legal professionals; a law firm that specializes in surrogacy law will help you keep the process on track. The day your baby comes home will be emotional for everyone involved, but if you’re prepared, you may be surprised at how natural it feels.