Issues with sleeping

(32 Posts)
MissFenella Tue 06-Nov-12 20:02:35

DD2 is 33 months and has been in care since 16 months.

I know FC co-slept (against SW instruction) and DD is obviously demanding the same level if comfort from us. It's just not practical for me to spend all night in DD room when I also have her sister to parent.

It's early days (week 2) and I just want to do what's best for both dds. It's not every night, only 2 occasions so far but I want to comfort her and assure her as well as having a solid routine and boundaries in place IYSWIM.

MissFenella Tue 06-Nov-12 20:03:54

Sorry, any advice please (I am tired)?

SoulTrain Tue 06-Nov-12 20:07:25

I haven't been through adoption but my instinct is to say just go with it for a while. She's been through a lot of upheaval and needs to learn you're there for her. I think it's great she is seeking that comfort and closeness from you. It's probably the quickest way for everyone to get the most sleep too at this point, you can always address it further down the line when she's found her feet. Good luck!

Also agree you should comfort her short term and work on it in time.

SoulTrain Tue 06-Nov-12 20:08:42

Sorry, just re-read your thread - can you not have her in your bed? Is it from bedtime she wants it? How about a cuddle in her bed until she falls asleep and then if she wakes in the night come in with you?

MissFenella Tue 06-Nov-12 20:21:49

It has been like this:I take DD to bed, we get her changed and she asks to go back downstairs. I explain its now sleepy time, big day tomorrow etc etc

Read story for 15 mins, DD snuggled down in bed eyes drooping.

I kiss goodnight and leave the room. She starts crying.
I go back in and re-itterate that its sleepy time but that mummy is in sisters room. DD then starts screaming. I ask what is the matter and she says she wants me.

I say I am just here and smooth her hair etc but it is sleepy time etc. I leave room and she starts screaming.

This carries on for 30 mins and eventually she does then calm down and sleep.

If I stay in the room she starts on about going downstairs etc so I am not wholly convinced its about attachment and more about pushing boundaries (ie can I stay up later with big sister).

Both Dh and I feel like crap and fear that however we handle it will be wrong sad

SW advise we need strict boundaries in these early weeks but, instinctively this feels a little mean. I am, however, a complete sucker!

Help!

cacm Tue 06-Nov-12 20:31:17

your doing the right thing just stick with it it will just take timex

SoulTrain Tue 06-Nov-12 20:34:55

Does she wake up in the night? What happens then? Has she got her own room? Is that a new thing for her? Could she be frightened? I think I would be inclined to think she needs the comfort, she may be trying to push boundaries but I think that's to be expected at this early stage. I would be even more inclined to give her the comfort too possibly even more of a sucker than you. How old is DD1? Can you involve her in the bedtime? Perhaps a story and cuddle all together in DD2 bed? What about new pj's, a special night light or going out to buy a really special new "companion" for night time? Big praise for anytime spent in the bed even if its not all night, and reassurance that anytime she needs you, you and DH will be right there. I also think gentle reminders in the lead up to bedtime will help, "we're going to have a bath, and then a cuddle up, and then it's night time." I may be talking shite, just ideas.

MissFenella Tue 06-Nov-12 20:40:07

Cannot involve DD1 as there are issues around 'mothering'.

If she wakes in the night its for a wee and she goes back to bed fine. She loves her room and has never said she is frightened (although I appreciate she may feel that and just not say it).

Following the comments here I think we will carry on with what we are doing - especially as no one has screamed 'Nooo that is completely wrong'. Feel a little better now.

Many thanks

SoulTrain Tue 06-Nov-12 20:46:18

You know what you're doing! Also, my niece is a similar age and she "tries it on" at bedtime with my sister in a similar way. Sounds all very normal to me. Hope all goes well.

Claifairy Tue 06-Nov-12 21:05:39

My little man is 3 and we adopted him in February. I struggle to get him to sleep too. At present he has a story read to him by Daddy and then I go in for a kiss and a cuddle before settling him down and sitting with him, holding his hand, till he falls asleep - this is getting better as it used to take upto 45 mins but is normally 10-15 mins now.

About 2 hours later he wakes up crying and come looking for me and if I'm not in my bed, which I am usually not, he screams till he finds me or I get to him. You can see the terror in his face till I cuddle him. He goes straight back to sleep for a couple more hours before waking up crying again and he then comes into my room and sleeps like a baby for the rest of the night.

I have tried putting him back into his bed but he managed to cry for nearly 2 hours till he came back into my room and then went straight to sleep!

My attitude is that he needs something from me and at the moment it is the confidence that I am always there for him. When he comes into my room to sleep the first thing he does is stroke my arm and kiss me before falling asleep always touching me.

If we went to bed at the same time and he came into my room from the start he would sleep all night!

I do try, occasionally, to establish a new routine but it is obvious he is not ready for it at the moment.

I have no real answers but just wanted to say you are not alone!

Kewcumber Tue 06-Nov-12 21:55:16

DS's biggest issue has always been sleep but as he was adopted younger than your DD - I took custody when he was about 13 months and I co-slept for the first month or two and tbh I wish I had continued it for longer now. I hadn't appreciated how much separation anxiety he had.

Initially if he woke up or even before he dozed off to sleep he used to pat the bed next to him to make sure I was there. After a few traumas (I was taken into hospital as an emergency when he was 3) his sleeping deteriorated again and we started co-sleeping again.

tbh I'm going to disagree with most people (except Claifairy) and say that if she wants you then you should give her "you". Not attention but just presence. Buy a battery operated tiny book light and take a book , sit in the dark bedroom near her bed and don't engage at all.

Tell her you will stay until she falls asleep if she is quiet.

She doesn't need to fall asleep on her own, she needs to learn to trust that you will put her first, she needs to learn that you are a source of comfort and that you will always be there for her.

You can wean her off needing you to stay as soon as she trusts that you'll stay if she needs you.

How a 33 month old feels after moving families is totally beyond the ability of a child that age to articulate. "Scared" may not be the right emotion, its probably a great deal more complex than that.

I have sat for many hours holding DS's hand until he falls asleep if necessary and at nearly 7 he still wakes up in the middle of the night and gets in with me. And if I'm honest when that part of my job is done and he doesn't need to anymore then a part of me with miss it!

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 06-Nov-12 22:10:30

Kew's advice, as ever is spot on, I think. Funnily, it's not my adopted child who needs me at bedtime (she is the best ever at dropping off to sleep), but my birth child has always been terrible at settling, and between 2 and 3 years old I spent hours and hours and hours sitting my his bed, first reading to him, then singing, then just being there. No idea why he needed that reassurance, but he definitely did. (Eventually we have replaced me with a lamp, story CDs and books for him to read to himself)

What time does DD1 go to bed? I found juggling bedtimes one of the toughest bits of going from one to two children. Could she go to bed a little later so that you can be with DD2 a little longer in the evening?

MissFenella you have my sympathy. I know some of how it feels. I really hope this will not sadden you in this exciting time with your family.

Kew you are spot on, I think! I am not yet a mum to a child who I have adopted (never sure what the correct PC term is! - apologies) . However, I am mum to a birth dd who is pretty emotional and has always had issues with getting to sleep. I spent ages lying next to her on the bed and although at times it felt hard I did not regret it. She is now 8 and now she gets herself to sleep.

Although DD does still come into our bed at night she is so much more happy to go to bed in her own room and feels comfortable at night.

Anyway, now that she does not need me so much I do kind of miss it, so I really see where you are coming from Kew.

MissFenella Wed 07-Nov-12 09:02:54

Dd seems fine today but is getting lots of assurance from mummy and daddy and cuddles!

snail1973 Wed 07-Nov-12 14:22:57

we had awful problems getting DD off to sleep when she first moved in with us. It went on for hours and hours every night. Moving families is so difficult for them to process and night time seems to bring out all the insecurities that arent apparent in the daytime.

Dont listen to everything the SWs say. You have to do what feels right for your family. She sounds like she needs you, shes not necessarily 'trying it on' but may be testing you to see if you give her as much time as DD1?

Any idea why FCs were co sleeping? Not sure what yours were like, but many FCs are very experienced and professional and if they are co sleeping it may have been because they felt there was a genuine need to do so to help the child.

It will get better. My DD (now 6 yrs) is a fab sleeper these days

On phone, pls ignore typos. Totally agree with CF, Kew etc. she needs you and imo you should give her what she needs for at least a couple of months.She's used to cosleeping so to be on her own is probably very scary for her. My dd, adopted last dec at 14 months has coslspt from the start. Her sleep for the first 3 months or so was a bit shite but now she's brilliant. We lie beside her til she falls asleep, takes about 10 mins. I just hild her hand and read my book, very relaxing for us both. Don't mind the sw, you're her mother now and you know what she needs. In our house, we all need sleep to function and for as long as dd wants to cosleep we will. As Kew said, I missed ds when he stopped creeping into my bed at night. Don't let the sw's advice about boundries guide you too much now. She needs to learn tou'll always be there for her. Best of luck. If it helps, I found those first few weeks soooo exhausting. It gets easier, much easier. Congrats on your nrw family.

cedar12 Wed 07-Nov-12 15:04:25

I agree with kew.When ds was first with us I stayed with him until he fell asleep. Then slowly moved closer to the door. After a week or so he was happy to drop off on his own. Good luck tonight, i hope you all get a good nights sleep.

Lovesoftplay Wed 07-Nov-12 19:41:37

Completely agree, she needs you. I had to stay in DS room for about 6 months before he was confident to go to sleep without me. Even now he gets up in the night to check we are still there.

Kewcumber Wed 07-Nov-12 21:39:26

I am absolutely convinced in DS's case its about checking I am still there.

Moomoomie Thu 08-Nov-12 09:35:12

Kew, yet again has hit the nail on the head. We can not imagine the separation anxiety these children are going through.
We co slept with our children progressing to them sleeping in their own beds with one of us sitting with them until they go to sleep.
Our five year old still wakes up at night and creeps into our bed, no problem. As Kew says, when she stops doing it I will miss it too.
All three of our girls have very firm attachment to us. I put a lot of that down to the co sleeping and sitting with them. It is exhausting, but so worth it in the long run.
I agree with sitting quietly in the room..... Thank goodness for my iPad.
Try and keep to the same routine. Dd3 favourite song for me to sing to her is away in a manger, because she came home just before Christmas and I sang it to her then.
Interestingly, all five of us sleep so much better when we go away on holiday in our Motor Home. I think it is because we are in one space together.

KristinaM Thu 08-Nov-12 19:01:55

What kew and others have said

Your SW is an idiot. " establishing boundaries" is not the most Importamt thing ( TMIT) with a newly placed child. It's building attachment. Anything else is secondary and, if it gets in the way of attachment, may have to go.

Because if they becoem properly attached to you, you can deal with almost everything else later. Going to school, learning to read, weaning off a bottle /dummy, fixing their poor diet, toilet training etc etc.

if your child has severe attachment issues, they and you will have a terrible life. So it won't matter if their teeth don't stick out ( because you got stopped them sucking their thumb) or they are only one year and not two behind in school ( because you sent them to school within a few weeks of being placed) .You are in this for the long term and you need to focus on TMIT long term.

Remember these will be your children long aftre the Sw has moved onto another job.you only need to keep her happy enough so that she writes the report for court.

If I'd been kidnapped by aliens I woudl be scared at night too sad

shockers Thu 08-Nov-12 19:07:59

Absolutely spot on KristinaM.

Moomoomie Thu 08-Nov-12 19:10:12

That is so true. Kristina. I remember going totally against my SW when our first two girls were placed with us. She told me to get the oldest off her bottle of milk straight away and to chuck the babies dummies away.
I remember thinking at time how can I take this child's comfort away from them.
Miss fenella. I don't think you can go wrong if you think of the children as young, almost newborn babies.

Oldandindie Thu 08-Nov-12 19:36:49

OP have you thought of asking the FC for some advice plus as to why she needed to co sleep? As a FC I would be more than happy to fill the new family in with every piece of info I could .... There is only so much time during inductions to partake of all that helpful info and something's get left out or brushed over in the excitement .

CelstialNavigation Thu 08-Nov-12 19:38:56

"Your SW is an idiot. " establishing boundaries" is not the most Importamt thing ( TMIT) with a newly placed child. It's building attachment. Anything else is secondary and, if it gets in the way of attachment, may have to go.

Because if they becoem properly attached to you, you can deal with almost everything else later. "

Exactly. I can't echo this strongly enough. And i think your instincts are telling you this is not the right thing to do either.

Your daughter will find it easier to form a secure attachment to all of you if her anxiety is not being raised every evening by being left alone while you are with her sister or all of you are together without her downstairs. I don't mean to put in emotive language but that is what it would feel like to a child that age.

To remove the comfort of co-sleeping when she has only come to you 2 weeks ago is far far too soon.

And even if you or the SW feel her foster parents did not take the right course of action in co-sleeping with her, that is what they did, that is what she is used to and to suddenly stop now is withdrawing a comfort at a time when she needs it most. Give her what she needs to get through the transition.

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 08-Nov-12 19:45:19

How's it going, MissF?

MissFenella Thu 08-Nov-12 20:44:34

well we have continued to do what we feel is right and the last 2 nights have been unbroken sleep with no fuss or drama getting to sleep.

I have been reading DD books my mother read to me - and explained so, this means I love reading them (and can for a long time) and she feels a little connection. It seems to be working!

Lots of love and cuddles in the day (and nail painting?!) and she doesn't seem visibly stressed or worried.

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 08-Nov-12 21:09:27

Sounds great, MissF, really glad to hear it

KristinaM Thu 08-Nov-12 21:20:30

That's sounds encouraging.

CelstialNavigation Fri 09-Nov-12 22:22:17

Glad its going so well, keep trusting your instincts.

fudgesmummy Sun 02-Dec-12 22:05:35

Hi All,
I am a long term lurker on this topic-I was adopted 46.5 years ago as a tiny 7 lb 5 week old baby. I think that if I could remember being a newly brought home little girl I would have wanted my new mummy close to me when I needed her not to have her being advised by some clueless SW to be "establishing boundaries"
missfenella carry on doing what you think-as her mummy (and daddy)-is right and you cant go wrong.....
good luck to you both smile

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