Sadly, it looks like contact wasn't the positive experience we hoped it would be. We understand why it was initially set up to be so long and so frequent- Jack-Jack is a young baby who had never been separated from his mum. The reality now however is that when he went on Friday he hadn't seen her for almost a month, which is a huge length of time in a baby's life. It must have been very strange for both of them, and we heard some concerning things about mum's interactions with Jack-Jack during the session.
His behaviour has completely changed since he came back from contact on Friday. He returned absolutely starving and completely exhausted, which meant that he was too tired to eat, but also too hungry to fall asleep. He was in a state until he managed to have a nap, and then woke up and ate the biggest dinner he's had with us.
Friday night and Saturday night were both awful for all of us, especially Jack-Jack. He was awake for at least 2.5 hours at a time each night, screaming (not crying) relentlessly, which took such a toll on him, he was so distressed he was almost sick.
In the daytime, he hasn't wanted to be either put down or held, and has had little interest in his toys. His eye contact during milk feeds has diminished to nothing. He's screamed before and during each meal (we're wondering whether it's because of how hungry he was on Friday and he's worried we won't feed him?) and has become extremely panicky the more tired he becomes at each nap time. He's been fighting sleep, and screaming regardless of whether we lay him in his cot or pick him up and cuddle and rock him.
He gradually returned to normal by the end of today - 2.5 days since contact - so we'll see how he is over night.
We have the new contact schedule, which will start this coming week. Our concern is that due to the length of the breaks between sessions, it might become a cycle of this new distressed behaviour punctuated by contact days. Hopefully not - it could be that the more he sees mum, the more they're able to rebuild their relationship and he'll be able to be more settled in between times.
I hope this hasn't sounded too negative, but in starting this blog we wanted to give a realistic view of fostering, both good and bad.