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Severe separation anxiety in 10 month old

(6 Posts)
BigKatie Mon 03-Oct-11 23:19:34

My 10 month old son just will not settle with our childminder or anybody other than me or my husband (including grandparents, who live hours away). He cries HARD when we leave him and is totally distraught. We've tried lots of settling in sessions (from about six months) but he does not seem to be getting better (worse if anything) and I have to go back to work in nine days. We're getting desperate.

I feel distraught at the thought of leaving him in this terrible state - my childminder (who has excellent recommendations from two families we know and seems like a genuinely lovely person) says he is the most severe case she has encountered and, although she is willing to persist, at some point it might distress the other children she looks after - and obviously we don't want our little man going through this level of stress in the hope he'll eventually calm down.

He is a very confident baby when we are around and will crawl off at playgroup so long as I'm there if he glances back. However if I try to leave him with my friends he cries and comes after me.

I've accepted that some upset is normal but he gets extremely distressed. I'm worried it is going to permanently affect him and we're breaching his trust. We've never left him to cry (luckily he's generally a good sleeper and it's not a route I would want to go down in any case) and I can't think of any reason why he would think we weren't coming back. He just doesn't want to be left.

I'd really like to hear from anyone who's had similar experiences / has any advice on this. I could at a pinch arrange a career break but it would be very financially difficult and risky (my job is potentially under threat) and I realise that this could still be an issue in six months. Help please! Thanks

FlamingoBingo Mon 03-Oct-11 23:26:03

Personally, I would tighten our belts, and stay at home with him. The more you push it, the harder it's going to be to undo IME. Some kids just aren't ready for a long time - others much sooner.

What's the most important thing to you...?

And I'm not meaning to get at you wanting to work - can quite understand the pressure you're under. But is there anyway at all you can reduce the risk by being really, really frugal so that if you can't go back, you can still survive, or find something else, or work from home, or anything - brainstorm as many ways as you can for you to let him become independent in his own time...?

Edsmummy Tue 04-Oct-11 15:14:35

I feel your pain!

10 months is a really odd age - and they do suffer incredible separation anxiety at that age.

My DS (who happily went to nursery 4 days a week from the age of 6 months) had terrible screaming fits when I left him there at 10 months old even though he had been going there happily for over 4 months!

There is nothing worse, you feel terrible, absolutely terrible - and it's no frame of mind to go back to work in. But life goes on, we go back to work after maternity leave, our kids go to a childminder / nursery, and somehow, some way we find a routine that suits everyone.

How many days will he be with the childminder a week? Hours? Is he full time?

My DS still screams now when I leave him at nursery (he is 29 months old now!) - But 5 minutes after I go he is absolutely fine, joins in with the other kids, has a great day and greets me with a big smile when I come to get him, and usually doesn't want to leave!

If I were to give you any advice it would be to stick with it. I think its a bit unkind of your childminder to stay he's the worst case she's ever experienced! It can take weeks for them to settle, I would say anywhere between 4 and 10 weeks is normal. I know, it sounds like a lifetime, but it really isn't.

And please don't worry about the stress on him. He is distressed, not stressed, he won't remember a thing about this later in life, so don't think he will turn into an axe murderer because you are a working mum!

I feel for you, there is nothing worse than leaving a screaming child who is holding his arms out to you - but it really does get better. I promise. And then what do you have? A happy mummy and a confident, independent child.

It will work out, I'm sure.

Hugs xx

BigKatie Wed 05-Oct-11 13:58:15

Thanks for your comments. Luckily we've had a remarkable turn of events! I took him round to the CM yesterday for a couple of hours. He cried as I left but then calmed down within minutes apparently and was absolutely fine. I cannot explain it - I hope it's because he suddenly realised she is a very nice person and was no longer a stranger after all the settling in sessions and not because we've 'broken' him. I then took him to soft play and he was his normal self and wasn't clingy so contrary to my fear I don't think we've turned him into a nervous wreck. I'm relieved and gutted at the same time. I was gearing myself up for self employment as it felt so wrong leaving him but now touch wood things look okay for going back. He's at her house now and has even fallen asleep (napping has never been his strong point) and has been playing. Thanks again

Edsmummy Wed 05-Oct-11 16:24:26

Katie - I'm so pleased for you. Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

Good luck with back to work - it is a hard time, but if you've cracked the childcare you're most of the way there.


JessicaLuis232 Sat 03-Sep-16 08:25:38

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