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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.



13 replies

Mrscollydog · 06/04/2016 21:25

Hi all,
Just wondered what peoples experience of their LO's sleeping patterns where placement. Our 18 month DD has been with us only a very short time (6 weeks). She is doing wonderfully, really happy settled and we are all building good bonds with her.
The nights however are horrid. She goes to bed beautifully in her cot, I stay with her till she is just drifting off and then say goodnight and go. Overnight she must "wake up" 7-8 times, she is not fully awake but Cry's and sobs in her sleep, fights and tosses and turns. We are all exhausted including LO. She naps in the day, just once, 1hr ish and sleeps soundly in her cot!

My take on this is that the night is when the processing of what has happened to her occurs (loss of BM, disrupted adoption, loss of very dear FC). Obviously it is such early days but I wondered if any of you straight talking and experienced adopters could guide us with anything we can do to help or is it just time and building our bond?

OP posts:
Italiangreyhound · 06/04/2016 21:42

Our son came to us at three so never got this. Your ideas of why it happens sound reasonable but no idea for sure. In your shoes I would definitely speak to post adoption support.

Also, non-adoption related:

Children can experience kind of night terrors when they are half asleep/half awake which is very frightening for them and there Mau be things you can do to help. Google or speak to health visitor.

One short nap at 18 months sounds too little to me, I can't really remember for sure but at 18 months so think Dd was either having two short maps or one longer one. She was sleeping for about 12 hours a night too. I just wonder if your little one is over tired of over stimulated.

Maybe read the no cry sleep solution and seebif it has any tips.

But do try post adoption support first.

NeatandTidyTidyandNeat · 06/04/2016 22:15

It takes time but you have my sympathy! I think your thoughts about night time being processing time are probably right, and with our LO their fears and strong feelings definitely all came out at night. LO woke up roughly every hour, and needed comforting back to sleep for 30-40 minutes, lots of rocking and skin contact, digging deep because we knew that LO needed endless proof that when they cried out we would come and comfort them - when they would let us as they fought it like crazy at first, comfort and closeness being scary too of course.

I don't really want to tell you how long it took to get better, because hopefully it might be less for you Grin. A long, long time for us, but every child is different. Try to rest when you can during the day, and get to bed really bloody early. Go gently on yourself, because the broken nights are brutal. Make LO's bedroom as comfy as possible for you, so if you're spending lots of time in there you can at least be comfortable. If LO will cope with it, then co-sleeping is also definitely worth trying. My LO wouldn't tolerate that at first, but it did help later on - at least I got more sleep, and it was easier and quicker to comfort LO because we were already touching.

If the nap duration is the same as in FC, I wouldn't try and increase it unless you think you should. I might move it earlier in the day, so try one in the morning if it's currently in the afternoon? Some gentle massage of LO, or foot rubbing, before bed also helped (especially if it's with a lotion that you wear yourself usually). Have you tried putting the top you wore that day in with LO where they sleep, so there is a continuity of your scent?

MypocketsarelikeNarnia · 06/04/2016 23:13

What neat and tidy says.

We are 18 months in and sleep is just beginning to get better. Sorry. Flowers

I wouldn't go anywhere NEAR a health visitor. They are very unlikely to know anything about attachment and will almost certainly recommend cc. Cc has not been shown to be safe for children who have suffered trauma. Likewise sws and pas tbh.

Babies do wake in the night anyway ime. And cosleeping is the thing that got us through. But it's hard - having no sleep is really really brutal.

Mrscollydog · 06/04/2016 23:29

Thanks guys,
Just back from a 30 minute settler. Will certainly improve my seating area in her room. A cushion and blanket will.make it more tolerable, not sure why I hadn't thought of it!
We have tried co-sleeping but she us as agitated in the bed with us as she is in her cot so nobody gets any sleep. Really wanted that to work :-(

My DS had night terrors for a short while and I did wonder if it could be that. Sure a lot of it is 18 month sleep issues with the adoption stuff thrown in. Am dealing with the no sleep by napping when she does in the day. The naps at FC were scarce BTW, always sleeping on someone. The hour in her bed is something we have worked on and she is really happy to hop into her cot for.

I guessed it would be something we had to just roll with. Just so hard to see her so.upset and distressed in her sleep. Reminds me of nightmare on elm street!!!!!

Right off to try for 40winks. The now that I wide awake.......Angry

OP posts:
NeatandTidyTidyandNeat · 06/04/2016 23:41

Valerian tea. Ace for getting you to drop back off to sleep again fairly swiftly when you are wide awake after settling LO Wink (Not every time, obviously - you'd be awash! - but I found a cup in the late evening definitely helped me drop back off better each time, and I still woke easily whenever LO needed me.)

I understand about LO not being able to cope with the closeness of co-sleeping yet. Give it time (like everything else - frustrating, isn't it?!) and you can always try it again a bit later on. I hope you all have a better night Smile

Poppystellarcat · 07/04/2016 01:40

I echo what everyone else says, and also just want to add my vote for co-sleeping. My DD has been with me for 3 years and we still have some sleep issues (there is a previous thread I started called something like adopted children and sleep issues, if I knew how to add a link to it here I would but am not that mumsnet savvy - sorry! I got some great support and advice though so it might be worth a read)

In terms of co-sleeping neither me nor LO could get on with sharing a bed. I like my own space to stretch out and she tosses and turns every few minutes. Like your daughter mine was great at going to bed but rubbish at staying asleep. After trying lots of things I settled on a second bed for her at the side of my bed. When she wakes up now she comes into my room and settles down on her 'emergency' bed usually without needing to wake me up or call for me if I am still downstairs. It's taken a while to get to this stage but even when she still needed me to sit with her until she drifted off again, I found it an infinitely more comfortable way of coping with disturbed nights (which were every night, for a long time).

My advice is ignore anything the health visitor / friends say about usual ways to get kids to stay asleep. These don't work (I know, I tried them) and they can actually be detrimental to feelings of security and attachment. Try any combination or variation on a co-sleeping theme that suits you and your LO. And lastly grab sleep or at least a lie down, on a bed or a sofa whenever you can.

I am now working on the theory that there will come a time when my DD no longer wants to be in the same room as Mummy (am hoping this will be some point before the teenage years!!) but I am trying to not to worry about when this might actually happen, and in the meantime DD has a reward chart for when she does do excellent sleeping (i.e. sleeps the whole night through in her own bed). It's amazing the power of a sticker sometimes.

You have my greatest sympathy. Surviving on little or no sleep is horrendous. Hang in there, it does get easier.

Italiangreyhound · 07/04/2016 23:14

Narnia what is 'cc'?

Italiangreyhound · 07/04/2016 23:19

Just for the record I was mentioning a health visitor in relation to night terrors, but if you have experienced them with your son then you will probably know lots.

I would never advocate anything to do with 'crying it out' or anything not suitable for adopted children.

We had lots of sleep issues with our dd (birth child).

I would still look into post adoption support if you want support. But it's your call. We had lots of post adoption support with our adopted son, early on, and it was very helpful.

NeatandTidyTidyandNeat · 08/04/2016 11:46

cc is controlled crying, I assume. Evidently narnia and I are repeating each other Grin but I would avoid pretty much anything that isn't "come when your child cries and comfort them every time, for as long as they need" when there is a scared, grieving, traumatised child (especially when they have only been placed for 6 weeks). I am not in any way minimising how crushingly exhausting that is to do, and how important it is to also take care of yourself by resting whenever you can.

I would guess that this early in placement, post-adoption support would not be involved because you will be pre-AO, so will still be getting visits from your SW? If you have a good level of trust in them, you can always ask whether they know of other tips from other families, but I suspect they are going to advise staying close, and keeping things consistent, so your instincts are serving you very well already.

Re-reading your post, I wonder whether you could try designating a daily drowsy time together (cuddles under a blanket? Quiet stories?) so LO gets another rest as well as their nap? That way you both get another rest, and you sneak in more bonding (check out Caro Archer's book on 'Parenting the Child Who Hurts - tiddlers and toddlers' too).

MypocketsarelikeNarnia · 08/04/2016 13:54

Again - what tidyandneat says.

I've had a LAC paediatrician recommend controlled crying so it just goes to show that an education doesn't necessarily remove the shit you have for brains

Kewcumber · 08/04/2016 14:46

It does get better...

I am 9 years in and things have really improved in the last two weeks... Grin And that isn't far off the truth! Wink

What worked for me

"No cry sleep solution" Pantley - precis - do whatever the hell you like that works and don't stress about it (saved my sanity that approach)

Co-sleeping - DS's sleep got worse not better and co-sleeping worked for us. When he went through rocky patches co-sleeping started again. He's currently just getting in in the morning though "morning varies between 2am and 7am)

Decent nightlight

DS woke up crying in his room every day at that age and I kick myself that I didn't grasp that he just hated being on his own. Still does.

Good luck

Kewcumber · 08/04/2016 14:48

My experience of social workers advice post-placement is chocolate teapots territory. They mean well but have no experience of parenting a child with adoption trauma. I've had some bizarre advice which I was confident of ignoring!

Italiangreyhound · 09/04/2016 00:45

Re "I would guess that this early in placement, post-adoption support would not be involved because you will be pre-AO".

In our area you can access support at any stage, we had attachment style support before the adoption order, although technically it was not post adoption support it was not delivered by social workers but by people trained in attachment. I think we must have been lucky in our area we had very good support. But i agree social workers will not always say things that are useful!

I am very much against controlled crying.

Re "Re-reading your post, I wonder whether you could try designating a daily drowsy time together (cuddles under a blanket? Quiet stories?) so LO gets another rest as well as their nap? That way you both get another rest, and you sneak in more bonding (check out Caro Archer's book on 'Parenting the Child Who Hurts - tiddlers and toddlers' too)." That sounds like excellent advice.

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