6 answers

Separation Anxiety - Round Lake,IL

I think my 7 month old is suffering from separation anxiety at night. I put her to bed and she wakes up about every hour screaming. We're in the process of ruling out other issues i.e. acid reflux, gas, etc. but I know a part of it is her needing me. I've tried to let her cry it out...but she becomes frantic and cries even harder until she's gasping and coughing. Each time she wakes up, the only way for me to get her back to sleep is by picking her up and rocking her. I've tried just going in there and talking to her, rubbing her tummy, or just letting her cry it out. None of these things work. I'm not sure if there is an answer...but thought I'd try. I'm exhausted...I have a 2 year old son and I work full time, so being up every hour is tough! Any moms have experience with separation anxiety? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

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Hi! I feel your pain. My solution was to bring my daughter to bed with me. I had two sons and they learned to sleep just fine without me, but for some reason she needs me more. And the solution to being there for her and getting enough sleep (well, a bare minimum amount of sleep to function) was to cosleep with her. She only wakes up once a night now. I realize that's not for everyone, but I'm just throwing out what worked for me. Whatever you decide to do, good luck!

I am dealing with separation anxiety for the 3rd time with my 12 month old son. His sisters (3 1/2 yrs and 2 yrs) went through it too. Although it is my experience that this stage varies in length, I believe the sooner you reassure her, the faster the whole thing will be over. Also look around and see if there are any other things going on - new babysitter? family stress? Has your son started telling her about monsters or scary things (Halloween started that in our house, again)? I know she seems too young, but I think kids take in more than we realize. Anyway, I mainly wanted to tell to hang in there. I've not slept all night since my oldest was born and I, too, work every morning and then return home to be with the kids every afternoon. It's hard, but follow the mommy instict to comfort your child - that'll win you the most in the end.

My daughter is doing the same thing (and she is also seven months old!). What I've found that works the best is to take a blanket (fleece throws work the best for us, since she's so tall), wrap her up like a baby burrito, and let her have a bottle until she's drowsy. By that time, she's so cozy, she can't fight sleep any longer, and it's not such a big deal that Mommy and Daddy aren't within eyeshot. When it's bedtime, though, I generally just put her down and lay down within her line of sight so that she knows that I'm not going anywhere. Both of us are usually asleep within minutes.

As a working mother of three boys, I feel for you. Children are a lot smarter than adults think. They learn at an extremely young age how to act to get what they want. The fact that you pick your daughter up when she cries (even though you try other methods) has her programmed. She knows that if she cries, you will eventually pick her up. I made that mistake with my first child. I couldn't stand hearing him cry. He would cry so hard that he'd start gagging. So, I always picked him up thinking that if I didn't, he'd have a heart attack or choke from crying so hard. Truth is, if they know you won't pick them up, eventually they will stop. It may take a few days but it WILL stop. It will take everything you have to not pick her up, but only you can break the cycle. My son would cry for 45 minutes to an hour straight if I didn't pick him up at first. It gradually lessened every night. Finally after a week, he stopped. It's very hard to do, but you'll be glad you did. All kids go through some form of separation anxiety.

Good for you for recognizing that she needs you at night. We don't get to stop being parents just because the lights are out. Parenting is a 24/7 job whether it is convenient or not. And babies cry to communicate a need, not to manipulate us. Because you work full time she may have a very real need to connect with you at night.

Have you ever considered letting her sleep with you part of the night. What I did with both of my kids was to start them out in their own beds and then when they first woke up bring them into my bed. It provided some of the connection time that we weren't getting during the day and helped me to get more sleep.

T. S.

When you let her cry it out you will have to go in there a lot of times and do the same thing. When she wakes up go in there, DO NOT PICK HER UP, lay her back down, cover her up give her a kiss and rub her back until she is calm and a little drowsy but not asleep. Then you leave. She will start crying so you let her cry for 5 minutes and then you go back in and do the same thing over again. With each interval you add three minutes to the time you allow her to cry. Eventually she will just fall asleep because of exhaustion, but after a few nights of this she will learn that it is sleep time and you aren't going to take her out no matter what. Is she teething? Has she had a cold for more than 2 weeks, she may have an ear infection? If you don't suspect anything then go for the cry it out technique. I've done this with all my kids and have never had a problem. Be sure to do the exact same thing and stick to it no matter what. Your ability to be consistent and not waver will determine the success of it.

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