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9 months old, separation anxiety?

(10 Posts)
Marabou Thu 01-Mar-12 13:23:00

My DS is 9,5 months and is a true mommy's boy. He loves his daddy and excitedly crawls to meet him at the door every night when he comes home from work, but at bedtime and naptime too, only mommy is allowed to put him to bed. Some days are a little easier, but most are not and I'm at a point of a breakdownsad..

He feeds to sleep, which of course is wrong, I know, but I don't know how to stop it. Recently I've managed to feed him sitting on the bed with him and then he will shake his head from side to side until he falls asleep and I put him down. But after that I'll be back in the room in about 10 minutes to shush him back to sleep (after having picked him up again, as he will not have me just patting him..) and thereafter sometimes another 10 times before I finally give in and just go to sleep myself. We co-sleep with him. It's F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-N-G!! If DH tries to go in the bedroom to try and put him back to sleep, DS will get absolutely hysterical and will cry until he basically either loses his voice or throws up shock! Nothing helps, but seeing mommy, and not even just seeing mommy, mommy has to hold baby and preferably breastfeed him toosad.. During the day I also have to always be where he can see me.

So I've gathered this is separation anxiety, but how can I make it a bit easier for DS, and myself? And when does it typically "end"? Since I had DS I've never had the luxury of going out for a bit in the evenings, even just to the gym or something, because most classes at my gym that I used to love going to coincide with DS' bedtime. Until now I've just tried to accept it, but I've hit the point where I feel I really need some me-time at least once or twice a week...

Marabou Thu 01-Mar-12 17:45:20


Janoschi Thu 01-Mar-12 19:29:05

Watching with interest...! Same problem here confused

nearlytherenow Thu 01-Mar-12 19:37:22

I'm sorry that you are finding it tough, but this really does sound normal. Both of mine have been very much like this at this age. The thing is, that for their whole short lives, all they have really know is 'mummy' cuddling or feeding them or whatever. And suddenly they get much more aware of other people, and of the possibility that mummy might go away (but don't understand that you will come back) and it just all feels wrong. And if what you've done to date is bf and co-sleep, then this is probably going to be the worst possible time to try to change that. I know some people do manage to have much more of a "life" with young babies, but I can't really work out how!

It doesn't last forever, really it doesn't. Give it a few months. IIRC by about 14 months DS1 (still bf by me) would happily take a sippy cup of milk and go to bed for DH. Still waiting on DS2 coming out of the separation anxiety phase, but he's not much older than your DS.

Marabou Thu 01-Mar-12 22:46:03

Thank you so much for your reply! I don't know why on earth I didn't post earlier and why I generally haven't been coming here that much lately, but now that I have I once again feels loads better to see that other people have and are going through same things as I.. Although I am sorry that we all are going through this:/!

I hadn't intended to stop co-sleeping just yet only because DS is apparently also going through the 9-month sleep regression and is frequently up and crawling around the bed in the nightsad. I've found that at least co-sleeping seems to ensure I can stay half asleep through these fun times.. I had however thought about reducing the breastfeeding at least so that I could give him the bottle during the day and for his last feed in the night so that eventually DH could hopefully take over at one point. But for the moment DS is consistently refusing the bottle, so I guess I'll have to leave it for now.

I think part of my being so upset and fed up with all this is my own doing. I have never left him with DH for more than an hour or two and I had never been to a playgroup with him until today. It was a fun experience for both of us today and I hope it might help with this issue as well. For me it was obviously nice to talk to other adults for a change, but I was thinking it might also help DS to put things into perspective among other things..

RubyrooUK Thu 01-Mar-12 23:29:30

Hi Marabou

I have an 18 month old DS. Right now he is sleeping in his own big boy bed after a bath and a cuddle to sleep from his dad.

Two months ago, he was a co-sleeping baby who breastfed to sleep or screamed for three hours. His father was total poison in the evenings and only mum would do for everything. He used to vomit in anger if his dad tried to comfort him at night! I breastfed him till 16 months and I think he always wanted to settle himself breastfeeding too.

At 9mo, we were on holiday and my main memory of the holiday is DS going crackers if I even went to the loo, leaving him with his devoted dad.

Even though he started nursery just after this and learnt to be around other adults, whenever I was around, no-one else would do. I had no life, no time free and also found it very hard.

But it doesn't last forever. We didn't do controlled crying or institute any great discipline plan. Our son just grew up and things came together - we made a big fuss of his big boy bed, my husband spent a few nights sharing with DS and resettling him until he learnt his dad was ok. He even lost interest in breastfeeding to a great extent (having been desperate for it beforehand). But these things only worked because he was older and happier for them to work.

So I don't have any great advice but you are not doing anything wrong. You are his mum and for the moment, you come first. You shouldn't feel you need to change or force yourself to make him more independent - everything is fine.

Now sometimes my son asks his dad for a cuddle when I'm in the room and I'm a bit hmm. He still needs me but he doesn't have that desperation all the time.

Hope that helps!

CinderellaSweepsUp Fri 02-Mar-12 20:57:19

Some really reassuring posts, just wanted to add something as my DS has just turned ten months so quite close in age to yours, and he was exactly like this a few weeks ago, would howl with despair being cuddled by his dad at night if I was around.

He still co-sleeps, feeds to sleep for naps etc and sometimes it still has to be me, but he can be settled by his dad in the evenings now once or twice, and it has made quite a big difference. I have only just begun to contemplate that I might be able to do somne kind of evening gym class, when even last month it would have seemed impossible!

Like others have said, we did nothing to influence this, except that my husband would keep going up first to try and settle him, if the baby was distressed at all I would take him back straight away, but gradually he has accepted him to the point that he can rock him to sleep now after I've given him a feed quite often.

I believe it is developmental, they are just checking you will be there for them when they need you, and you just have to ride through it I think. It can seem all consuming, but it really is a short time before things change again. Be kind to yourself, it is very hard, but they're not this demanding small and dependent forever.

Marabou Fri 02-Mar-12 23:53:01

Hello all and thank you so much for the reassurance. It really is a relief to hear things will eventually change. I don't know why it's always so difficult to remember that when you're going through a new phase with your baby..

I'm not big on trying to get DS to accept a routine he's not ready for, so I'm happy to hear you both feel this is something he will simply grow out of when he's ready. However, I think I'll encourage DH to try and go in first in the evenings so DS would at least get used to the idea. For now DH has been quite shaken and sad every time DS rejects him and although he of course understands that DS doesn't "mean anything" by it, I feel sorry for DH..

Swannykazoo Thu 09-Oct-14 21:26:02

Hey Marabou -I am you in a two year old time warp except I was partly blaming going back to work for the separation anxiety. So - did it all work out? Are your evenings your own again?

JessicaLuis232 Sat 03-Sep-16 08:28:07

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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