Friday, October 19, 2012

Sleep Strategies for Adopted Children

Hey, you guys! Last night I was up for hours. Again. Starting at 2am. Again. This is wearing me pretty thin. But somehow I just keep getting fatter. Anyway, last night while I was up I got desperate and decided to make the most of my time. Jude and I sat down in the dark and got as quiet as we could. Then we logged on, I whipped out my credit card, and impatiently waited for a miracle cure to my child's sleep issues.

This has happened before. To me, twice. But if you have children, I bet you've been there. Lack of sleep can beat you down, mess with your mind, mess with your days and your moods. And the chasing of those hours can make you crazy. And that's where I was last night. I went loco the night before, but last night I decided to get down to business. This usually follows the post partum freak-out haircut (check).

With my oldest, he nursed to sleep and we pretty much slept together. Not particularly restful for me. But he would not respond to any kind of plans we tried. Abby took to 'cry it out' super fast and easy. She would fuss for about a minute and then out like a light. That was so cool. Jude is totally random. I can't see a pattern and I'm super confused because we've jumped in at 9 months. I don't even remember how many naps he should be having. And on a side note, I apparently totally forgot what 9 month old babies eat! Y'all, we've been feeding him liquid pureed fruits and veggies. I hit up Babycenter this morning and see that other parents are giving their children his age things like scrambled eggs, Cheerios, and cut up tiny bits of chicken and vegetables. He seemed pretty glad that we cut the crap on the baby food today and gave him some real food.

Ok, back to sleep. Well, adopted children have some interesting issues that can complicate bedtime. Fear of the night, fear of isolation, fear of abandonment... All of this and a million other unknowns make bedtime tricky business. So I took this webinar at 2 am. The good doctor basically said forget cry it out for now. But I bet you already had a sneaking suspicion about that. You'll need a couple of months under your belt, at least. After that he gives his blessing in a modified manner if attachment during the daytime is going well. Basically the prescription goes hand in hand with every morbid suggestion and post that I read about cocooning. I kind of hate cocooning. It sort of feels like house arrest. But today I started loving it because it's my ticket to sleep. Apparently the more predictable our day is, the sooner, the better and harder he'll sleep at night. So I rigged up an order of operations and started implementing it. Sleep, diaper, soft play, meal, crazy play/outside time, babywearing, bottle, bed. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. The more boring I am, the less stressed out he is. With older kids he suggests even having photos or cards telling kids what's next.

There were a ton of practical- yes, actually practical, tidbits of advice that might help you along. Definitely worth a listen if you're walking the floor with me all night!

Normally this is the part of the post where I'd show you a peacefully slumbering Jude but I'm scared as crap to click the camera while he's sleeping. I'll just have to tattoo it into my brain. Instead I'll leave you with this one. I commissioned Flor Larios, my favorite artist, to paint a picture of me and Jude. I can't even tell you how much I love it. And it really puts a sweet angle to the whole 'carrying baby around all  day thing'.


  1. Beth,

    I have not yet been blessed with the opportunity to adopt, but I have had the same sleep transitions with my daughter and it can wear you thin. In time he will get the hang of it. He's likely to be getting used to the new environment and new routine still.

    Your post is reassuring to me as I recently decided to expand my client base to include mommies who choose to adopt. Stay strong and keep up the good work momma. I'm keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Owner, Bellies, Bundles & Taxi Cabs

    "Re-routing traffic for motherhood"

  2. I am so bookmarking this Beth! I have a feeling I will be needing it when our time comes and I do not do well without sleep! Thanks for sharing your knowledge (and experience)!