Peanut is 5 1/2 months old. He is the happiest sweetest baby on the planet. When we go out, he charms everyone and I get so many comments on what a happy baby he is.
The visit supervisor and his mom both comment on how crabby he is during visits. And visit days are very hard on him and me. He has one of two reactions...either I have to hold him all day long - as long as I am holding him or laying down snuggling or playing with him, he is fine but if I go out of his sight he starts sobbing. OR he sleeps the day away.
Today he slept...he normally eats every 2 hours. Today she fed him at 11:30 at the visit. Supervisor dropped him off at 1:00, we drove 5 year old to school and he fell sound asleep. I came home, put him down and he never stirred. I woke him up at 3:40 to get the kids from school. He slept the whole way there and home. When we got home, I gave him his bottle - he took it but wasn't crying like he normally would be after sleeping through his normal bottle time. And then he fell back asleep and slept until 6:30 when my husband got home. Then he cried unless hubby or I were with him and fell back asleep at 8:30.
I have told CW this is happening after visits but I just don't know what to do for him. Everyone just blows it off and says he's only 5 months old, don't worry about him. How can I not worry - this is clearly upsetting him!
Does anyone have any tricks to help a baby with visits?
Keep documenting what you observe. Young babies do tend to shut down and sleep more when they are stressed out. It could definitely be because the visits are stressful, not necessarily because there is something wrong at the visits, but because it is a disruption of his normal routine. It is still worth noting how it all affects him.
Often when we have new babies start at the Infant/Toddler center where I work their sleep routines become very different for awhile. They fall asleep at odd times, sleep much longer or much less than usual, or may be very calm at day care and then fall apart when their families arrive to pick them up. Its like they hold it together or shut down to cope with all the new stimuli then blow off the steam with the people they trust the most.
I hope you can continue to help your little guy to feel secure and safe in the midst of it all!
Be aware that at that age, babies tend to reflect what their mom (meaning you) are feeling. Do these visits stress you out and upset you? It is likely the baby is sensing your stress and anxiety.
Try to be happy and excited about the visit. When he returns try to not give too much attention to what you interpret as his being upset. You increase the behaviors you give attention to. If he sleepy let him sleep.
My kids were 4 & 6 at the time, but we had much the same issue. Bubba, who was usually a handful, would just flop himsef down on me. Flowergirl, a super easy kid, would be weepy as well as floppy. I had to schedule at least a 2 hour time after each visit just to sit under kids and rock.
Visits can be very emotionally difficult.
Don't discount your little guy's developmental stage. Just understand that sometimes this happens.
My FD is now almost 10 months, and we've always noticed little things different after her visits. She too is usually a happy, smiling, make everyone stop in their tracks kiddo. But after an hour with her bios, she's a different baby. Originally, she would just be kind of glassy-eyed, staring for hours after the visit. Then, she seemed to just pass out immediately after visits, and for several hours afterward. Now, she still wants to sleep for several hours, but she's also started shrieking - pretty much whenever she's awake right after the visit, and for about a day and a half after it. Ear-piercing shrieks for no apparent reason. And, she is super-clingy with me for the rest of the day of the visit, too.
I would say to document everything, and give him the extra attention/stability he needs from you at those times, and prepare for the issues to stay and/or escalate depending on his level of contact.
I think it's a pretty common reaction. Unfortunately there isn't much you can do but be there afterward, give cuddles, and offer as much comfort and stability as you can.
Visits need to happen to document how bio handles the baby and to help them bond if the plan is still RU. So it takes a lot and far more explosive reaction to visits to stop them because the child isn't handling them well.
As a FP it's so hard to watch and harder to feel helpless to stop their pain!
My little one was 8 months old when she came to me. Visits were very hard from day one. Prior to coming to me there had been no visits for 12 weeks due to bmom behaviors. They started a week after coming to me. A visitation supervisor would pick her up (came with NO carseat!!!!!!) and transport her then bring her back. Little one would lose it the minute she saw the visitation supervisor. She would cry, hyperventilate, then throw up when placed in the supervisors car. After a few visits and me moving her carseat everytime, she associated me moving her carseat to leaving me. If I moved her carseat to my friends car to go to the zoo, she would cry, hyperventilate then throw up. After this happening 3 times on visits, I requested to transport to and from the visitation. I also purchased a new carseat as she was associating her carseat to leaving me. 8 months later, I took the old carseat out of the attic for my sister's car and she completely saw it. She remembers EVERYTHING!!!!!:(
During visits, it was reported she cried the entire time. I was often called to return to calm her and stay for the visit. After a while, I was asked to walk her into the visit and transition her instead of passing her off in the parking lot. After visits she was a mess. She would either fall asleep for HOURS or be clingy. This sometimes lasted for days! Her appetite was a mess also. She would not eat dinner or take her bedtime bottle.
I was told to document everything! I kept a detailed visitation log. I wrote time I dropped her off. Transition (behaviors, moods, reactions), time I picked her up, transition back to me, and the rest of the days behavior or if behaviors continueed for a few days. I also kept a detailed sleep record as she ALWAYS slept through the night except for following visits and the few days following a visit!
The days the visits ended were beyond a blessing! :cheer: She was a new toddler! She remains super clingy and attached to me!
5 1/2 months? It may be stranger anxiety, and will pass as the child gets older and the visits get more frequent. My nephew acted like this after daycare when he was 6 months old.
Once he got to know his daycare caregiver,(it took about a month) he ended up being so happy before and after daycare that his mom got jealous!:arrow: (she works 45 hours a week, so I think there was some guilt mixed in)
Then again, he may feel "abandonment anxiety" if he and bio mom have attached and their bond is growing.......Is that what you think it is?
5 1/2 months? It may be stranger anxiety, and will pass as the child gets older and the visits get more frequent. My nephew acted like this after daycare when he was 6 months old.
Once he got to know his daycare caregiver,(it took about a month) he ended up being so happy before and after daycare that his mom got jealous!:arrow: (she works 45 hours a week, so I think there was some guilt mixed in)
Then again, he may feel "abandonment anxiety" if he and bio mom have attached and their bond is growing.......Is that what you think it is?
He is VERY fussy during visits. I don't think there is any way he is bonding to her. She is rough with him, has hygeine issue and he usually throws up after visits.
He loves people, I take him to the older kids sporting events, church, etc and everyone loves him and passes him around and it NEVER bothers him. Now I do make sure that I stay nearby and he can always see or hear me. I often get a lot of comments on how he never loses awareness of where I am in the room. He happily stays with my mom and sister as well maybe that is because he can see that they are around with me as well.
His mom is nasty to me and there are usually no words spoken between us beyond her telling me what time he took his bottle. I would bet if she was friendly with me and he saw that it was someone I trusted that he would do better during visits. That is her choice though - not mine. I tried to foster a good relationship with her and she rebuffed any attempts to do so.
We have some of the same behaviors with our LO. We transport as they feel it is too unsettling for her to be transported by someone else.
She is just now 5 mos in beginning to be interactive in her visits and much of that is with case aid/therapist. She is much more quieter in visits and doesn't vocalize as much and is just not the loud, smiley baby we experience.
We experienced the sleeping though not to the amount that you are seeing. They made one small change in her last visit and she was super duper clingy the rest of the day which is not something that we normally see. We saw the stress of the visits in the form of night terrors to the point that LO would be screaming in a not fully awake state for hours at a time. Currently we are seeing waking several times a night but without the extreme emotional breakdown. They need to process those things and much like adults I think that sleeping allows them to escape that.
This is going to sound crazy but they had us start dialoguing with her from the beginning. We would state prior to a visit that she was going to see mommy and daddy and that they were going to play and have fun. We would do this on the way to a visit and then tell her we would see her when the visit was over. The case aid would pick it up there and continue with having fun with mommy and daddy and that X and Y would pick her up when it was done. We would dialogue on the way home in a positive manner. I felt like a complete nut case talking to a five mos old baby in such a manner but it seemed to help some.
Our LO refuses to take a bottle for the bios (feeding was a previous issue) but has to have one the MINUTE that the visit is over and this has not changed in five 1/2 mos.
I would suggest that you continue to document and if you have community nurses, therapists, etc visit your home I would have them document the differing behaviors. I think I would have pulled my hair out and jumped off a tall building if it wasn't for the fact we have workers who see the stark difference in behavior. I truly felt like they must of thought I was making things up and not support RU due to the things I was documenting.
(HUGS) I have had kids have diarrhea, can't sleep thru night and clingy after each visit. It is a confusing time. Especially for the preschool and younger kids. Not only are you not there, but there's someone else there that calls themselves mama and expects kids to want to be physically close to them. There is probably lots of tension vibes in the air too. My preschool FS who can stay dry all day at school always soils himself after visits. My toddler FD reportedly cries entire visit and refuses parents attention and has horrible diaper blowouts afterwards.
I believe that although she is a baby, there is an emotional component to her reaction. Our FD (now DD) was placed with us a newborn, and we went through this for 2 years. She would cling to me after the visit, and then wake up multiple times that night crying. Even though she had normally been sleeping through the night. Fortunately usually by the next day she was back to her happy go lucky self. When we finalized her adoption we invited her CW to the hearing, who usually transported her to the visits. And even though it had been 5 months since a visit, the minute she saw the CW, DD locked her arms around my neck and said "you're my Mommy, not going". I do believe that visits were confusing to her, and there may have been some fear that she wouldn't be coming back.
I have no great advice on how to handle it. Other than giving lots of hugs and reassurance. And as the PP mentioned, do document her reactions and discuss them with the CW. I am training to be a CASA and just sat through 4 hours of review hearings a few days ago, and believe me reactions to visits with birth parents does get discussed. Good luck!
Keep documenting - eventually, someone will see the pattern and realize that the little one is stressed out by visits, which is completely normal.
All three of my FC have issues with visits, and the older two have been having visits for the last 3 years! But because the frequency and duration changes and they were almost RU, it's especially stressful on them. Their daycare documents their behavior before and after visits, and on the days they don't have visits and it's been really helpful.
Right now FD (4) gets weepy and emotional. She cries at the drop of a hat on visit days - and on days she doesn't have a visit but the boys do. FS (3) has emotional meltdowns and is nearly inconsolable. If he's not overly emotional, he gets extremely violent and lashes out at whoever is closest to him or whoever he is most bonded to (me at home, a specific teacher at his daycare). Many times his anger is directed toward his sister, but only on the days she doesn't go to the visit with him (interesting, I know). Now the baby is 18 months old and he too is starting to show outward signs of stress from visits - he gets overly physical and rough with his classmates at daycare, tends to hit himself in the head with toys, eats rocks, etc. Or, he shuts down completely and has to be held until I pick him up after work. And then he's okay until we get home and it starts all over again - for all of them.
I wish I could say it gets easier, but in our case it really hasn't. We've been back and forth between 2 visits per week to 5 full days a week, unsupervised, supervised, therapeutic, etc. that the kids just aren't comfortable with the arrangement anymore. Thankfully the two older kids have started therapy. I'm hoping it will help them and in turn help me help them.
Keep documenting, talk to the CASA or GAL and make sure they know what is going on too. Also, let the baby's pediatrician know as well. I know my kiddos' pediatrician always asks if there are situations/events in the kids' lives that are stressful - to which I always say "yes, they are in foster care and still have x amount of visits with their Mom". The Dr. usually has me elaborate on some of their behaviors as well.
mominalabama -
That is interesting about the blowouts. Our LO had several weeks where she would have incredible blowouts in the hour after a visit. I documented but was questioned over and over about her having them any other time. She was little and of course they happened at random times but I could almost set my watch by when they would happen after a visit. :(