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Separation anxiety AND ill - what should I do??

(14 Posts)
MrsBumblebee Tue 08-Jul-08 14:30:59

DS (9.5 months) has suddenly developed separation anxiety over the last week. Most of the time it's not a problem, as I'm a SAHM and don't need to leave him alone much. However, nap times and bed times have become torture. I used to just put him down in the cot with his dummy and he'd go to sleep without much fuss. Now he starts to scream hysterically as soon as I turn to leave the room. This has also coincided with (been partly caused by??) him getting his first proper cold, and he gets really upset when he can't breathe through his nose or has a coughing fit. I've been told I should deal with the separation anxiety by leaving him to cry, but I feel doubly bad doing this when he's feeling unwell. Today he completely missed his morning nap because he screamed for an hour (I kept going in every few mins to calm him). At his lunchtime nap I couldn't take any more screaming and cuddled him to sleep, but I'm scared of creating bad habits. What should I do???

springerspaniel Tue 08-Jul-08 14:46:04

It's really tough when they are ill. I tend to live with the bad habit when they are ill and suffer the consequences when they are better. You learn to gauge when they are just trying to pull a fast one but at that age, he probably just wants cuddles.

Other cheat thing I do (although not at that age) is snuggle up on the sofa to something soothing like Mr Ben. He nods off and I can do chores or watch grown up tv.

jollydo Tue 08-Jul-08 15:16:07

I would def cuddle him if he's unwell, he needs comfort (but then I often cuddle my ds2 to sleep when he isn't unwell and just cause I like it!! wink)

EffiePerine Tue 08-Jul-08 15:17:30

Don't worry about bad habits, cuddle him and he'll get over the anxiety quicker that way

violetsmile Tue 08-Jul-08 15:29:22

Leaving him to cry when he is ill and suffering from separation anxiety is (in my opinion!!!) only going to make bedtime more stressful amd upsetting for him.

The quicker he realises you come when he cries and won't just leave him upset and scared, the quicker he will learn that there is nothing to be scared of.

Leaving a baby to cry when all they want is the reassurance you are there, will only make them realise that you aren't there and it will take him much much longer to get over the anxiety.

I know it's easier said than done. I've often been so exhausted and frustrated that I wanted to just leave ds to scream at bedtime but in the long run, I know it wouldn't have done any good.

I stayed at the side of the cot, with m hand on him for a while til he was calm and dozing off. Now he's 11 months and I just have to pop him in his cot and stand in the door so he can see me. It takes less time, no crying, happier ds and happier mummy!

For what it's worth, if he sleept well in his cot before the separation anxiety then he should return to sleeping well once he feels secure again.

It is hard though but it does pass and all he wants is to have you close. I couldn't leave my ds to cry knowing that all I have to do is cuddle him or let him see me and he would be ok.

Especially while he's ill. When my ds had a cold, he was scared as he couldn't breathe well through his nose and laying down made it worse. I propped his cot up at the top end on a few books and cuddled him til he got over it.

A cold can make us feel very poorly so for a baby that doesn't understand it's just a cold and it will pass, it must be scary!

MrsBumblebee Tue 08-Jul-08 18:17:04

Thanks everyone. My instinct tells me to give him lots of cuddles, but I've heard so many people say I shouldn't indulge him, that it's really nice to come on here and get a bit of reassurance smile!

MrsWB Tue 08-Jul-08 20:09:43

I agree that the more comfort you give him the more quickly it will pass. When my DS was 7 months old he started catching colds and tummy bugs pretty much consecutively for 2 months. He was miserable and woke up loads at night, sometimes from having a blocked nose but other times no obvious reason so I think looking back he didn't want to be on his own. Apparently that is a common age for separation anxiety to start.

We used to just take him into bed with us most of the time and I worried so much that he would never sleep happily in his cot again but from about 9/10 months he did.

mindfulmama Wed 09-Jul-08 17:48:21

Goodness me it is so tough being a Mother isn't it... if you want to cuddle him you do it, he is your baby and he is not goibg to turn out bad cos of it!!! It is a developmental stage that babies go thru when they realise that you still exist when not with them, and they hate the leaving bit. If he is ill just let him be safe and reassured, he has plenty of time to get used to life ahead. I used to put mine into a sling and git on with stuff when they were clingy, I got things done and they had the contact they needed.. they are big now and no obvious scars...

bubblagirl Wed 09-Jul-08 17:59:50

seperation anxiety isnt healed by leaving them especially when ill

you can sit on the floor of his room by door so you can be seen but dont talk just be there for comfort

make sure mattress raised to keep airwaves open but to be honest i always and still do fuss my ds when not well as its so much more comforting to have mummy show you some affection when feeling poorly

could he be teething also maybe bit of bonjela soothing its sleep time now dim room sit on floor but pay no attention just you being there may be enough to settle

advise from sleep therapist for my ds

lucyellensmum Wed 09-Jul-08 18:01:04

who ever told you that you should leave a child suffering from separation anxiety to cry, is well, how can i put this politely, talking out of their backsides. I can only see this would make the situation worse, and bed time would get really stressful. I still have to, or rather my DP has to lie with DD to get her to sleep and she is 2.9, she takes about 15 minutes to nod off - whats the problem with that? I did get to the point where i could leave DD, but a horrible bout of flu put paid to that, but she takes so little time to get back off to sleep tht we don't mind.

MrsBumblebee Wed 09-Jul-08 19:56:56

Thanks guys! I did the sitting in his room thing at nap time today, without cuddling him, and it worked a treat smile. And to be honest, it's really quite nice to get cuddles - he's normally not a very cuddly baby.

lucyellensmum Wed 09-Jul-08 20:26:15

So pleased bumblebee

violetsmile Wed 09-Jul-08 20:33:19

So Pleased for you! I still have to stay in ds's doorway til he goes to sleep now but it's a million times better than hearing him sob his little heart out!

I got told to leave him to cry too but all my instinct told me it was wrong and it simply wouldn't work.

It will make things worse. It will be over and done with the more reassurance you give him.

However hard it seems now, it is worth it and I'm so pleased that I was there for him and didn't listen to people saying I should ignore him!

bubblagirl Thu 10-Jul-08 09:15:56

im glad it worked always worked with my ds its just the knowing your there when there not well they seem to need extra reassurance that you are not going to leave them

so much quicker to than letting them work themselves up into crying snuffly state not a nice way to settle off

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