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Advice please on sleeping(8 Posts)
Hi, my adopted son has been with us just 3 weeks. His foster mum had him in a good bedtime routine which we have tried very hard to stick to. However he clings to me, almost to the point of strangling me when I try to put him in the cot and will scream when I try to leave the room. I totally understand why, but at the moment I'm sitting quietly in the room till he falls asleep trying not to interact to much till he falls asleep. Does anyone have any tips on how we can reassure him,? He is 19 months. Thanks x
Poor baby, he's lost his birth mum, his foster mum and now he's with a third mum . No wonder he's terrified he will lose you too .
I don't think you can reassure him, it will just take time . There are no words to fix this I'm afraid . You are doing the right thing, just being with him .
Imagine he was taken away from you in , say, a years time . Then you had another child placed for adoption and after a year he was taken away too . What would reassure you that a third child wouldn't be taken away as well ?
I echo what Kristina says. I think it is just time. And it could go on for a while. Our DS came to us at 2.5 years and actually lulled me into a false sense of security that we would have no sleep problems. 10 months later - he started waking up every night and coming down to our bed and would whisper "I want a cuddle, Mummy". He would not go back to his bed and would sleep pressed so tightly against me with his arm round my neck. My sleep was ruined for almost a year - and then he stopped. Just like that. And now he comes down about once every 10 days.
I am afraid that - however exhausting it is - you just have to go with it.
I co-slept with BC, until 3yrs, and so if needed, 3yrs is my benchmark for my hoped for AC-to-be as well, if needed. I'm not all that hopeful for any sleep after placement! So, if my securely attached, within normal spectrum in every way, BC needed cuddles over night, I would think a scared child would need more?
Yes, what the others said. Sleep was in very short supply for a looooooong time after placement. You are staying with him, being a comforting presence, and giving him time. For us, all the scary feelings came out at night, and it was just a case of giving tonnes of comfort and making sure to be there every time they woke (which was a lot). It is only natural that there is grief, fear and confusion, and all these likely feel massive to your tiny boy.
You could try things like wrapping him up in a blanket with you during the day, for cuddles and play, and then having that on his bed later so it smells of you both. If he's struggling to settle you could also try a sling if he will tolerate it - for some children the closeness is too much to start with, but having some cuddling/rocking time in the sling can help him associate your smells and touch with slowly regulating himself and feeling calm.
Take it gently, you're both going through a huge change, and it's very tough (particularly when sleep is very disrupted).
What everyone else said...
I co-slept with my 13 month old for a while, then he went into a cot for a while then he co-slept again. Sleep is one of the scariest times for a newly placed child and to be honest even for a not so newly placed child.
Routine is good, gentle songs on CD which you can gently sing to.
I used to lay down with DS and hold his hand to get him to sleep and when he woke up in the night he used pat around until he could feel I was there and then he would go back to sleep.
Same as other posters say, it's a time thing and it may take a long time. DS came to us at 4-5 months and still doesn't sleep through aged 2. We've tried it all.
What can help is a comforter or special teddy - if he doesn't have I recommend one. Something soft and fleecey. I implanted a bedtime routine which we stuck to and both mine had comforter and I played the same tune every night (I have a Bella the Butterfly / Freddy the Frog) which projects stars on the ceiling, sings etc. The other success is we have a vtech bunny that sings quietly whenever the child moves in bed. It's paws do different things when pressed so they can play with it in their cot until they tire out. Because it glows, it's really helped my DD when she's had nightmare phases as it sings and glows to reassure her when she shuffles in her sleep. I'm going to try to get another for DS.
A banana after dinner helps keep them fuller for long and promotes sleep.
I used to (this phase lasted a while) put DD / DS down, music on and comforter, leave door ajar and leave but then potter around upstairs quite loudly running a bath, putting stuff away etc so I was clearly still there but not actually sat with him.
Hope some of that helps!
We also pottered nearby or went to sit in our room which was visible and audible, but not really interactable.
We'd also make it clear to DS that he was being cared for whilst he slept; leaving a cup of water, tucking him in just enough that it would slightly wake him, taking photos to show in the morning if we found him sleeping in a funny position etc.
For us things got much better after maybe three or four months and these days he generally sleeps through.
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