Adopt mom friends chat re: sleep - Mothering Forums

Thread Tools
#1 of 10 Old 07-29-2008, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
UUMom's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 9,202
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Because of the sleep issues ROM is facing, I went to my friends who have welcomed children via adoption, and all agreed that they rarely got any sleep for months and months, no matter the baby's age at arrival. So we wondered if this no sleep was pretty par for the course (I don't even golf--lol--so forgive me. I couldn't think of a better cliche. lol) or whether it indicated pathology in the child (allergies, and whatnot).

(For this posts' sake, my dc was 3.5 mos at arrival and did not sleep for more than an hour or two until around age 14 mos).

Which got me/us to thinking if anyone has every done any studies on sleep and adopted infants.

Anyone know anything about this? Meaning how much is 'adoption' and how much is 'baby' ?

Do babies new to an environment sleep? At all? Even bio ones? Does a new environment or new smells trigger huge cognitive shifts? Shifts that might lead to less sleep?

On the bio front--I have 3 bio kids and 2 of them didn't sleep through the night until well over two years old. One was over age 3. But we moved when that child was 18 mos.

I had to say "I have no idea".

But all of us were wanting research stats? Anyone?!
UUMom is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 of 10 Old 07-29-2008, 11:37 PM
queenjane's Avatar
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 3,200
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
i dont have research stats for you, but i can give you my experience so far.

When my foster baby came home at 3 weeks old, he didnt sleep very well at first. For the first few days or a week, i got very little sleep at all. Even though it was against the rules, i had to cosleep to function. I dont know how long that lasted...but i think when he was about...hmm....two or three months, he started sleeping through the night, and started tolerating his crib. I could put him in there somewhat awake, after he ate, and he'd fuss for a couple of minutes and then be out. I thought, wow! Cribs work!

That last maybe two months. Now, he needs me to go to sleep (unless he just happens to be on the floor playing during naptime, and just conks out), and has started this thing of waking up once or twice during the night crying, and needing a pat or two to go back to sleep. But mostly, its fine.

So luckily i havent dealt with any major sleep issues other than in the early first weeks. (He is six months now.) I dont remember how my bio son slept, other than needing to be pretty much attached to my boob all night long.


Katherine, single homeschooling mom to Boy Genius (17) geek.gif  Thing One (6) and Thing Two (6) fencing.gif and one outgoing Girl (12) bikenew.gif and hoping for more through foster care and adoption homebirth.jpgadoptionheart-1.gif 
queenjane is offline  
#3 of 10 Old 07-30-2008, 01:23 AM
MCR's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Northern California
Posts: 1,396
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
For us as foster parents, who take emergency calls at all hours. The worst age for trying to get babies to settle to sleep in a new home with total strangers has been from about 7mths to age 2. They know somethings not right, they don't understand why and don't get what you are trying to do.
It can be really tough.
Latest foster guy is 20mths and sleeps like a dream, his mommy said he was easy to settle and she was so right.
But we have spent a lot of time in the rocker in the bedroom holding onto screaming crying babies. The less they sleep the worse they seemed to fight the sleep (does that make sense) They get so overtired.
Due to lack of sleep I even have resorted to some sort of sleep training with a few of them, something I never imagined I'd do in a million years.
I will rock and pat for so long, they (hopefully) stop crying and start to relax, then I lie them in the crib, they immediately pop up, (no matter how long I have rocked and patted) I then lie them back down, and continue the pat/shush/It's OK thing I have going, like a mantra
They eventually will either relax again and drift off to sleep, or I will leave the room for a few minutes, maybe two or three, they stand and cry, I go back, don't speak, gently lie them down, pat/shush/chant .
Rinse and repeat. I've known to spend the whole evening doing it all the way past my bedtime, dog tired and ready to drop.
I have learned never to remove them from the crib once I have started this "routine" and after a few days they usually will settle enough to let me lie them, pat/shush/chant and they don't get up and cry for me to do it over and over.
I also make sure to go back promptly if they wake in the night, and repeat the same thing, lie them down, pat/shush/chant.
Also we have a dimmer switch in the room, so I dim the lights never making it completly dark till they have learned to settle better. We also encourage binkis or any other kind of soothing thing they need.
I did have to do this with my adopted Daughter, she came to us at 7 mths, and had just learned to pull up, so tried to do that all night, I kept repeating and she got better and slept (as she had in the other foster home) all night without waking.
She is the best sleeper ever for me. She will sleep in any situation, on vacation, in a shared bed, in a stroller, car seat, anywhere when she's really tired or it's dark and night time. She's very confidant and independent, but at the same time a real mamas girl.
We still sit in the rocker each night and sing nursery rhymes and talk, and then she happily goes to bed with teddy and sleeps. She's 3.5 now.
edited to add my bios.
DS#1 would wake every two or three hours till he was about 7 mths then at least once a night till he was 5 yrs.
Ds#2 Came home from the hospital sleeping like a dream, 5-6 hrs straight at night, Dh thought there was something wrong with him, he was sleeping all night by the time he was 6 or 7 mths. They have totally different personalities, each favors a different side of the family Ds#1 is like mine Ds#2 is like Dh's family.
Is this what we were asked about or did I go off on a tangent
MCR is offline  
#4 of 10 Old 07-30-2008, 02:18 AM
queencarr's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Texas
Posts: 2,149
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have heard anecdotally that adopted kids seem to grieve in their sleep, so if they are "hard grievers" you see it more at night.

Here's our basic sleep hx:

ds1 (bio) 30w preemie--now 10y, 6 week NICU stay. Coslept out of necessity Woke every 1 1/2 hr around the clock for the first few months. Nursed to sleep until weaned after 4y. No comfort objects (except breasts ) Continued to wake every 1 1/2 hours through the night until age 3. He had "hidden" reflux and was sleeping 3-4 hours stretches after 24 hours of medication. Slept through the night by about 4. Has always been able to sleep anywhere, anytime he was "supposed" to. My most portable kid He is more quiet and snuggly, and still likes to sleep with or near us on occasion. Goes to sleep and wakes easily on his own.

ds2 (adopted--home at 5 1/2m, now 3y) coslept with his FM on the floor. Very rough 1st 2 nights with lots of inconsolable grieving and crying. Then only woke 2x night for a bottle, switching to 1, and sleeping thorugh most nights by about 12-14m. First 2 weeks home was very fussy at night--we discovered it was formula intolerance. Once we got that figured out, he went back to the same schedule. We coslept for 1 month, but he was not comfortable with it. He needed more space--he had coslept with FM on the floor and had a whole room in which to roll around Moved to a crib with no issue and actively preferred it. When we travelled out of town, would not sleep on a palette--had to be in a crib or pack n play. Preferred to be put down awake and talked himself to sleep. Tries to fight sleep at 3y, but still likes minimal interaction (it overstimulates him) and talks himself to sleep. Lately, he wants ds1 to sleep in his room with him. After he learned to climb out fo the crib around 18m, prefers to sleep on the floor, but it was rough teaching him to sleep not in a crib--it provided security to him. He has a blankie and bear he likes to sleep with, and used a paci for sleep until around 2y. He has always been a very social personable baby, who doesn't know a stranger (not in an attachment disordered way, just the friendly social butterfly way) and I think that made his transition easier.

ds3 (adopted--home at 12m--now 13m) Slept normally according to his FM schedule--waking 2x per night for a bottle--first 4 nights in Korea. Lots of night grieving since we arrived home, crying out in his sleep for his Umma, better for most of the past 2 weeks, but very bad when dh had to work out of town this past weekend. Dealt with previously unknown egg and wheat allergies, so we did give some benedryl at night, about 1/2 dose as he had a yucky nose while it cleared from his system, which probably helped sleep, but was so low dose and he slept well throughout the night, waking mainly for bottles, so had little overall effect on sleep. Likes to be rocked. patted, and sung to sleep (or worn on my back), but goes to sleep fairly quickly. Often wakes every few minutes until settled, but after that 1st hour, usually sleeps in 2-3 hours stretches. Will not take a paci, and has not formed an attachment to any comfort objects. Is attaching well to us, and prefers me over dh to put him to sleep. FM said he went to sleep with her laying next to him, just laying there, but we have had no luck with it.

Not sure if that is what you are looking for, but it makes sense to me that they grieve and hurt more at night--that is when I feel the weight of grief or stress, too. I think it has to do with letting our defenses down and not having any distractions. I don't like sleeping in unfamiliar places and surroundings, and I know what is going on. I can't imagine having my whole world and everything familiar ripped from me with no understanding and not feeling it heavily at night.
queencarr is offline  
#5 of 10 Old 07-30-2008, 09:48 AM
Polliwog's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,058
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
I haven't adopted an infant but I've fostered two.

FD1: Came to me at four months (after being in another foster home for a few weeks.) Woke twice during the night for a bottle. Dropped down to one bottle at night after three weeks. Started sleeping through the night right before she moved to her adoptive placement (at six months.)

FD2: Came to me at nine months (after being in another foster home for six weeks.) Woke several times during the night but was easily consoled. Figured out that she slept best with a pacifier after about a week. Started sleeping through the night with her paci.

My experience with my two foster babies is pretty similar to the sleep patterns of my two nephews and the two babies I nannied (as well as those in books I've read.) Typical baby sleep. Thank goodness, because as a single (and at the time, working) foster mother I couldn't be up all night, every night.
Polliwog is offline  
#6 of 10 Old 07-30-2008, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
UUMom's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 9,202
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Interesting stuff. Dh and I used to say that we wished we could just take the batteries out of the baby at night. Why do they seem so much needier when we are zonked?
UUMom is offline  
#7 of 10 Old 07-30-2008, 11:56 AM
AllyRae's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Ohio
Posts: 6,192
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't have any statistics, but I have my own experience...

DS--my bio son. He's now 4 1/2 and STILL wakes up several times a night. He woke up 10+ times a night until he was almost 2 years old...

DD--my adopted daughter. She was adopted at 3 1/2 months old. She woke up an insane amount of time until she was 8 months old--that's when we found the right combination to end her severe reflux (prevacid, special formula, and no more lactose). At a year old, she was waking up only a couple hours a night. Now at almost 18 months old, she sleeps through the night about 2/3 of a month.

So, my bio son was actually a way worse sleeper...and still is! Both of my children have some pretty nasty sensory issues though...

~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
AllyRae is offline  
#8 of 10 Old 07-30-2008, 12:45 PM
RedOakMomma's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: A little stone house
Posts: 6,795
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This is all really interesting...and comforting! UUMom, thank you for starting this thread.

I've been wondering the exact same it physical, or is it emotional? Is there really something medically wrong, or are all the changes just disruptive for her?

I'm starting to think that the huge stress of the change/adoption creates two issues 1) grieving at night and 2) all that internal stress causes physical symptoms of discomfort. I think it's both physical and psychological.

(I'm so, so, so hesitant to say this, but I think the reflux meds might be helping a bit.)


I'm starting to wonder if her grieving, plus all the changes (including new formula) have been too much for her to handle, and the stress has caused an increase in stomach acid, or even an ulcer. That increase has triggered reflux which, in Korea, she didn't seem to have.

I don't know if that makes sense, but it's my current theory. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the huge amount of stress felt by some adopted children exacerbates all kinds of real medical issues...reflux, auto-immune responses, allergies, etc.

Hopefully, once she's feeling better emotionally/psychologically, some of the physical problems will go away too.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
RedOakMomma is offline  
#9 of 10 Old 07-30-2008, 12:52 PM
Diane B's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,329
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't know of any studies, just a lot of anecdotal reports from parents! I think too, that sometimes you are given a rosy picture of the situation from the foster parents - our daughter NEVER slept anything close to the information we were given when we met her foster mom.

ROM, I think your idea that stress might trigger reflux is very interesting. Our daughter developed terrible reflux at about 7-8 months (can't remember exactly) and while that's not unheard of, it's a bit atypical. Fortunately, our ped caught it.

But she wasn't a "good sleeper" until she was about 2 years old, and even then, she was still waking up once a night and coming in to sleep with us. She still needs significant help falling asleep at age 4 1/2, although in the last six months she has begun to sleep in her own bed all night on a regular basis.

It would have really helped to have a heads-up in advance that this was likely to be a significant issue. It caught us by surprise, and we felt overwhelmed and isolated for a long while, and didn't have resources ready to help us figure out what to do.
Diane B is offline  
#10 of 10 Old 07-30-2008, 02:21 PM
MCR's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Northern California
Posts: 1,396
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
ROM you are right. Stress does trigger reflux for ME! I have a prescription med and only take it when I have too, which is more often when I am stressing out.
Heres hoping her meds will settle her pain.
MCR is offline  

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 7,476

10 members and 7,466 guests
artume______ , guillencarlotta , joandsarah77 , katelove , manyhatsmom , NaturallyKait , rhoneyes , shanedust , Springshowers , zebra15
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.