Sleep Help?!

We had some big problems with getting Lena to go to sleep when she first came home. It stopped after awhile and we’ve had some good months of sleep. Occasionally, she’d wake up in the middle of the night and cry, but we’d just go in and pick her up or touch her and all would be okay again. This is just getting worse. She has started crying every night 10-15 minutes after we say goodnight. She is waking up consistently in the middle of the night, every night and crying until she wakes us up and we go up and comfort her. It has been at different times of the night. She also has started crying when waking up often during naptime. She is also not a huge sleeper to begin with… she wakes Ilya and me up most mornings, long before we are ready by her LOUD, LOUD singing.

Tonight, she has cried 3 times in 3 hours. I get that this is great for attachment, for knowing that we are here and will come running when she cries, but I am worn out! We always tell her we’re right downstairs, we’ll see her in the morning, etc. I try to give her just enough attention that she is calmed down and ready to go back to sleep. My only ideas are to move her back to our room (but I’m not sure what we’d do about Ilya) or try Melatonin again. Ideas, please?

10 thoughts on “Sleep Help?!”

  1. I have no experience with this, but she might use a "mama" and "papa" doll to hug or a stuffed animal to cuddle with in bed. Maybe they could be mama and papa at night and always there to give her a hug? 🙂 My only other thought is maybe the weather is affecting her, I know some kids have trouble sleeping if it isn't exactly the right temperature. You could try a fan in the room, which could also act as a sound machine. Or maybe she is just missing a visit from her aunt and uncle…

  2. Oh do I understand. (wish I didn't) Elaina has been home for just over 6 months now. We still have sleep issues, though granted they are not EVERY night (or I would be a walking dead mom!).She used to cry when it was time for bed, but now she mostly doesn't but she will cry later…sometimes her 5 yr. old brother is sawing logs and Elaina will be bawling her head off. Sometimes when Josiah goes to sleep and she doesn't have anyone to talk to anymore she will cry and try to wake him up. VERY annoying. She also wakes in the night occasionally and cries…her new thing is to wake up b/c she has to go potty (we are potty training) and cry but we have had to tell her to pee in her diaper b/c she was waking up 5 times a night to potty and nobody could get any sleep that way! She is also VERY loud in the morning. Here is what we have found that helps though we have not found a cure all solution: #1. Make sure she has enough exercise/activity during the day. This has been HUGE in her sleeping through the night. #2. NO naps. AT ALL. She wasn't even 3 yrs old when we cut out naps. It makes a HUGE difference in her ability to go to sleep and stay asleep. No more waking up at midnight ready to go thinking she'd had herself a nap! #3. No sugar after dinner (no dessert!) I know this sounds mean but the sugar really winds her up and nights we had dessert she would be up until midnight. So she has to have her sweets in the day not evening. #4. VERY dim nightlight and quiet music- there was simply too much stimulation in her room for her to unwind and we didn't know it. We use music b/c we have teenagers who don't go to bed until after 11pm and they keep the littles awake, so the music is a buffer….has to be quiet calming music.#5 Routine…same thing same way every night….helps.Let me know if any of these help you. I feel your pain. I truly do.

  3. Sorry no suggestions here our kids are good sleepers, but will be sending prayers your way that you figure it out soon. It might help to break the "cycle" with the melatonin, I have found with both our kids that when they are overtired the wake more in the night and don't sleep as sound.

  4. Hi. The problem is in Lena's mind. She is not feeling safe. It's in her subconsciousness. To change it, she has to feel safe again.In older children, they can repeat every day "I'm safe at night. My room is perfectly safe. I feel fine." It takes about 30 days to subconsciousness to belive in it.Tonight I had a bad dream about a big dark spider and I woke up screaming. It was too stuffy in the room.All the best :)M.

  5. Olivia cries occasionally at night. At first we'd go in and tell her we are there and everything is ok. Now when I hear her cry out, I leave her be. We had a week of crying at night, but it stopped when we stopped going in there. The other night I heard some soft crying, opened the door and she said, "uh oh no cry night night!" and she told me to leave. Nap time with her at home doesn't happen – she refuses to sleep, so we keep her in the room for "quiet time" – which we both need. She is a VERY light sleeper. Maybe Lena is too? I'm talking, she can hear someone sneeze from across the house and it will wake her up.

  6. I think Andrew is a good sleeper because we use noise in his room ( air purifier). I swear it puts him in a trance and he sleeps very sound. If he ever does start crying its only for a moment or two and we do not go back in. If you need Melatonin dont be afraid to use it.

  7. I forgot to add that the reason we usually do not go back in is because we have a night vision monitor and can see he is ok. We also darken his window for naps and bedtime when the sun is still out 🙂

  8. Molly, after some recent reading, the fact that Lena is having problems separating from you is a great sign that she ALREADY IS attached to you. Basically, it's separation anxiety. When children are reluctant to go to sleep and stall at bedtime, procrastinate, it's because they have in fact bonded with you and fear the separation. So in my opinion, it's not that it's great for attachment, it's that you are attached already. With that said, a good bedtime routine, same time, same everything to wind down and stairstep to bed may be good, though I am sure you already do this. I will get back with you on a better solution.It's the kids that go right to sleep and don't make a peep all night and not even in the morning that have not yet attached and is an indication of the neglect they had in the orphanage. Though hard, you are in a good place.

  9. Sounds like she needs to go back in your room. And I won't get started about parents who leave children who have suffered the worst abandonment they could ever face (their own mother) to leave them to cry alone. Ever. Especially at a time when that child is learning to trust them to respond to their every need.

  10. Clearly she is scared. Unfortunately, in the orphanages, the caretakers tell the children that there is a "byebye" (monster) that will get them if they get out of bed. We have dealt with this in all of our children who happen to be from different orphanages. Also, one of our sons had night terrors. I suspected that he was fearing the unknown in the dark and had wisdom to pick him up and carry him around our house and show him how "everything was sleeping". I took him outside and showed him the outside. It was monumental in soothing his wild imagination that was causing him to terror. The terrors decreased drastically and within a few weeks, he did not have ONE! Unfortunately, as a result of the orphanage worker being overworked and outnumbered, they resort to really tragic means that torment these already emotionally fragile children.

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