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Help! Lockdown has given my baby severe SA

(8 Posts)
Dogmum20 Wed 26-Aug-20 10:22:22

Hi all,

I would love some advice on how other people may manage this -

My baby is 9 months old and has severe SA to the point where she will not play with or be held by anyone else, even family members.
With nursery looming, not being able to leave her for even 2 mins with a family member is causing me anxiety as how on earth will I be able to leave her at nursery?
Are there any tips to help this sort of developmental issue?

Many thanks!

OP’s posts: |
ZooKeeper19 Fri 28-Aug-20 08:55:30

@Dogmum20 welcome to my world. 10mo and if anyone as much as looks at him a screaming fit to follow. No friends/family in the country, no baby activities and too young for a playground so not really interested. Not walking solo either.

I started by taking him to parks showing him other kids. Then playgrounds as well but made no difference.

He was due to start childminders but I scraped this, he is not ready and when I tried he just screamed and was absolutely inconsolable, forget the theory of "oh toys/other kids will distract him" no they will not. She had a 1yo and the 1yo girl was there for 6 hours and cried for 5 of them.

When is your little one due to start nursery? Chances are he will not like it. In the UK many parents do not have a choice (me being one of them) and either you accept that they will scream (for 6-8 weeks!) or just stay at home or do not have kids (that is simply how it is, not good or bad, just facts).

First 3 years are so so important and I just felt that abandoning him with a stranger was doing immense emotional harm (to me as well). I found a lady who will come to our place, entertain him here at first so he feels a bit better, then perhaps walks in the parks or something during the day when I work.

This only works as my DH and me both work from home for now and we can afford the childcare and we are flexible enough to work around any glitches. Both our employers are extremely accommodating too.

I guess my advice would be do what feels right but do NOT get soothed by people telling you it's OK for a baby to cry in fear of abandonment. It is NOT OK and it does them harm, no matter what you say. Even the childminder told me, when I told her I'll not leave him with her as I feel it's not working, even she told me "I would never say this to your face because I know how bloody hard it is on parents but he is not ready, he is too young, he would not do well".

So there. I know I may get flamed here for this but it is how it is and no amount of educated nursery teachers for which I do hold real respect and admiration will change my mind.

Dogmum20 Fri 28-Aug-20 10:07:41

Hi @ZooKeeper19
Thank you so much for your honest responses. I’m sorry you’ve had the same but it sounds like you are dealing with it well and glad to it employer is being accommodating.

I think my employer will definitely be understanding for the first few weeks as she knows what it’s like but I still need to try and get her to warm to people.
In a normal world, she would have been cuddled and handled by family and friends so much before now, and we thought we were doing the right thing keeping her shielded from people during a pandemic not realising it would be THIS hard to now get her used to people 🙄.

I called the nursery and they were understanding but told us to make sure she interacts and sees lots of people before starting so it’s not so much of a shock, I some how don’t think it’ll have the effect we want but we’ll see...

Thanks again! Good luck with your little one!

OP’s posts: |
skkyelark Fri 28-Aug-20 21:48:43

My wee girl is a few months older, 13 months, so we had a bout of this before lockdown (when she was seeing plenty of people!), and then another bout after lockdown. Like you, I worried that settling into nursery would be horrific, but she’s doing well, and there are a few things that I think helped us.

Firstly, we tried to go at her pace. Before lockdown, a friend came for a long weekend. He spent the first day interacting with her about 2 m away. Then he played down on the floor with her, but made no attempt to touch her. By day three, we have photos of her happily on his lap. The person who couldn’t be so patient…not so much, even after a week.

As lockdown eased, we did deliberately try to take her out and about like nursery have suggested, particularly to play parks. Initially, it was just watching from her buggy or my arms, for just a few minutes. A kind neighbour also took her for walks, again with her in the safe space of her buggy.

Nursery have also been brilliant about not pushing her too far too fast — they let me stay with her at settling-in visits for as long as it took for her to relax, and when she started, they kept her in quiet areas so she wouldn’t get overwhelmed. Within a week she was willing to toddle away from me when I came to pick her up (after getting a cuddle), and two weeks in, she’s apparently completely unfazed by other children charging about.

I will be honest, she did cry during some of the settling-in visits, and she does still cry briefly at drop-off (after two weeks, so early days still). It lasts a minute or two — I’ve stood in the corridor and waited to check. She also cries briefly when she goes from me to daddy at home, so keeping her home wouldn’t avoid that!

So yes, absolutely do what you think is right for you and your little girl, but I think also try to keep an open mind. Gently expose her to more people, and she may adapt surprisingly quickly and happily. Or she may not, and you may decide that nursery is not for her right now. Even then, if you can keep her home for just a few more months, that may make all the difference. Or you may decide she’s best at home for another year or two and be in a position to do that.

Dogmum20 Fri 28-Aug-20 23:27:16

@skkyelark thank you for your experiences! So pleased to hear your little one is doing so well! It sounds like she’s settling brilliantly and like you say, going at her own pace.

I will definitely be patient because the last thing I want to do is create a negative connotation with nursery so we’ll definitely build it up gently. Unfortunately finances don’t allow me to keep her at home as I have to work and to be honest I really think interaction with other children will massively help her development but I’m open to the fact that it may have to just be half days here and there until she’s happy there!

Thanks again!!

OP’s posts: |
aimzxd Sat 29-Aug-20 21:04:42

You have to get LO used to people. My son was a nightmare. He screamed bloody murder when i took him out and someone passed. Let family members hold lo, and let them try to reassure and settle. There were lots of tears but after 20mins once my dm had him settled and hes been brilliant with her ever since. Dps parents took longer but they'd only see him once a week till they realised if they wanted a bond they had to put in the time. He's okayish with them now but can be left with dm no problem. Babies are my next goal, he freaks when he sees one. Hard with baby groups being closed now.

Echobelly Sat 29-Aug-20 21:08:36

Don't worry too much that it's lockdown - 8-9 months is apparently the most common time for SA in babies, so it may well have happened regardless - don't have any advice I'm afraid, other than to echo what others have said hear about gradual exposure to others.

Witchend Sun 30-Aug-20 12:21:31

It's not lockdown, it's simply normal development. I've nannied 2 children over that time and had 3 myself and they all go through a clingy stage at that age and wanting to be held by me (or me and their mum where I was the nanny).
They all had their own quirks round it, one hated men even looking at her, another hated hats especially, my youngest it was glasses-even me wearing mine (I only do to drive) used to set him off.
They grow out of it.

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