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struggling with bedtimes(14 Posts)
For the last week or so bedtime is getting harder and harder. DD used to go to sleep straight away with a bottle (after the initial first couple of weeks after placement) but now is back to screaming herself to sleep.
I try to rub her back but she rolls onto it so I can't. I have sat beside her to let her know I am there but it doesn't help. Picking her up makes it worse and then putting her back worse still. She is currently screaming. DH is saying just leave her but I am worried about damaging our relatively new attachment.
What do i do? DH won't help as he just thinks she should be left and I am getting increasingly stressed. Our BC is also being neglected as it is taking 45 mins to her to sleep.
I'm just over 2 months into an adoption. LO has been a nightmare to get to stay sleeping...
I may well be flamed for what I am about to write but this happened...
Both DH and I got very sick (vomiting, couldn't stand up without being dizzy). So when LO woke in the night - the first two times it happened, one of us staggered in to provide comfort (with sick Bowl in hand). But on the third time - neither of us could move (we had had no uninterrupted sleep for 7 weeks. None.). So we left LO to cry (this sounds awful but we literally couldn't move and when I tried - I vomited). LO cried for 15 mins - it was awful. But I had reached the end of the road. Then he stopped. And he slept through for 5 hours!! And woke at a decent hour!
The last week (since the sickness), I have massively reduced the time I have spent comforting him - I always go in and hold his hand for 5 mins and then I leave. (Still getting up 4 times a night.) he does cry when I leave but only for about a minute - if that. It's getting better!
So - before I would have said you can't leave. But for us it seems to be ok - that if he cries for a minute (I wouldn't leave him for more than 2 or 3 minutes), he does go back to sleep. I feel like a new person - I felt I couldn't cope with the no sleep (seriously about 2 or 3 hours for 7 weeks).
So - maybe see if you can leave for a bit - or sit next to door in your LO's vision - it might help? You obviously can't leave crying for long periods of time but you do also need to get sleep as otherwise you can't function...
As I said - I probably am going to be flamed but wanted to share my experience as I was on my knees with no sleep and it might be the vomiting bug was a blessing in disguise (although I did worry about long term damage).
One of you should settle your DD and one should be spending time with your BC. If there are 2 of you your BC doesn't need to be being neglected.
I would stay with your DD. Not sure how old she is or how long placed, but she sounds distressed and it will be comforting to just have you there (even if she is crying).
Has there been disruption to routine over Christmas? Could that have triggered the change in behaviour? Maybe rejig the whole routine to break the pattern? or go to bed a bit earlier in case she has been getting over tired?
My AD2 has always been pretty good at going to sleep. Until the last year (she is 12 now, placed at 2.5) when at times she has needed to go to sleep in our bed often with me there too, and then transfer when DH (finally) comes to bed. I think the stress of SATs and then transferring to secondary has made her extra clingy.
I feel for you.
We are 3 months into placement with a 9 month old baby girl and a couple of weeks ago we were going through the same. Crying frantically at bed time not wanting to be put down but not wanting to be comforted. With my birth son I practiced the controlled crying but my gut feeling this time told me differently our lo neeeded me, even If it meant going to her every 5 minutes and it was exhausting. For a few nights she ended up in bed with me and my DH slept on the sofa. Things are far from perfect now on the sleeping front, 3am seems to be a favourite time to wake up but she seems to trust that I will come now and settles back to sleep more easily. Hope you get some sleep tonight.
I think you are doing the right thing by staying with her. (I think your DH needs reminding that you can't parent an adopted child the same as a birth dc - surely that was covered on his training?!)
Why is birth dc being "neglected" - isn't one of you around to keep them company? And 45 mins isn't that long in the scheme of things.
Screaming sounds like distress. How long has she been with you? Can she be acting out internal confusion now she realises you're staying. Pushing the boundaries to see if you stay around?. I can't see how anything can be more important than attachment and demonstrating you're there for her right now.
But it's knackering i know so
Do your LA or agency have a Psychologist you can talk to? Ours did - i'm paraphrasing a lot of the advice she gave to us.
Stick to your instincts
We adopted a child with complex needs who came to us from hosp at 11 months. We have birth children and we foster and i have never had a problem getting any child into a good sleeping pattern !
But our ac was a nightmare sleep wise at first and wouldnt settle or stop crying for the first several months and sleep came in 30 min segments totalling about 3 hrs a night!
It was knackering and i feared we would never get there but we persisted with a strong routine day and night and comforted staight away whenever he woke and now he is great and sleeps through most nights so my advice is to take as much time as you need to get this sorted. Stay close and comfort in whatever way works (or not !) And get husband to do his share as well with bc .
Give up stressing about it and just concentrate on surviving it because it will pass in time. Hope you get some proper rest soon
P. S. I am aware i sounded a bit smug in above post? Not my intention at all. It is v hard when sleep deprived and when i say our ac cried all the time i mean day and night. I felt a useless failure after a few months and it is easy to lose all confidence in your ability to parent your child so try not to worry too much you sound like you are doing a great job !
I agree with PPs, this new crying is potentially linked to LO realising they may be staying with you long-term, and starting to be able to let out some of their feelings of fear and loss. I 100% feel for you about how shattering it is. It took a very, very long time before LO would sleep for more than 45 minutes, then waking screaming in distress and taking up to an hour to soothe, and repeat. I had to stop driving because I was too tired to be safe. It's not just the lack of sleep
although that is brutal it's the emotional energy that goes into soothing and helping them, but it is such vital healing work to re-programme those brain pathways to start to believe that you DO come back, every time. (Naturally if you have an illness emergency, you just do what you physically can - Hels that sounds nightmarish.)
I wouldn't change anything about what you're doing, just keep showing up, as calm as you can manage. My LO slept fractionally better with a fan/white noise (I think it just made me feel like I was achieving something by trying stuff TBH!). Is co-sleeping an option? My LO would not tolerate this at first because the closeness was too much, but later on it became a really valuable soothing and bonding time.
Sympathies. It took bloody ages, but some years on and now I find I notice the isolated bad nights, rather than noticing the occasional good ones. The corner definitely turned when their security started to increase. And the major improvement was that as the trust grew, it took far less time to soothe and quiet them when they woke distressed.
Whoops - so tired I posted it twice! Definitely not worth reading twice
Thanks everyone. DD is 14 months on 3 months into placement.
Tuesday night DH was out visiting friends so was unable to help. DS was so good sat downstairs waiting patiently.
Last night DH did come and help for a bit eventually when he saw how frustrated I was and he comforted her whilst I went to see to DS but we had friends coming over and DH was picking them up (it had been arranged for after DC bedtime so as not to add to their busy week) so DS did not get at much attention as he should at bedtime. He was very good about it and is getting a treat today but I felt so guilty.
It took almost 2 hours to get her to sleep and eventually she let me hold her and put her back in the cot once asleep. They both then slept through amazingly.
Cosleeping isn't an option for us. DS still gets in our bed sometimes and we are doing our best to get him out so don't want to swap one for another.
I will keep on as I am and hope things improve.
Not much to add advice wise but just wanted to say I totally empathise. Have had many sleep issues with DD over the years, and had lots of advice and support from all the lovely posters on here. Being sleep deprived is hideous and not knowing how to help my LO sleep 'better' made me feel like a total failure.
It will get better, I promise. I agree a lot will I think be due to anxiety and processing the permanence. Certainly for my LO it is when she is most anxious that her sleep is worst. At 6 she can begin to articulate this anxiousness to me but when she was newly placed she couldn't, and I didn't know what to do to help her sleep.
Lots of soothing, reassurance and staying with her til she falls asleep calms my DD down. She has a night light in her room, and a spare bed in my room where she can come in the middle of the night if she wakes and needs physical reassurance I am still there. I've tried lullaby CDs, the shipping forecast, white noise, extra bed time stories, earlier and later bedtimes, none of which particularly worked for me but like rather I was glad I tried them if only because it felt like I was doing something. All children are different so do what works for you both and get rest and sleep for you whenever you can. I have snoozed in a macdonalds car park on more than one occasion when sleep was particularly troublesome. On weekday afternoons they are surprisingly quiet places!
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