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How to deal with acute separation anxiety in 1 year old

(14 Posts)
desperatelyseekingsleep Sun 27-Jul-08 19:59:43

DS2 will be 1 next week and is just getting worse and worse with his separation anxiety. It's got to the point now where if I put him down and move more than about a foot away he starts crying, crawling towards me and grabbing at my legs. I'm going back to work soon and have a nanny starting, but I'm really worried about how he's going to react. At the moment, not even dh can hold him if I'm in the vicinity. He whinges an awful lot and seems to be incredibly highly strung. Anybody else had a baby like this - how did you deal with it, and please tell me it gets better!

whomovedmychocolate Sun 27-Jul-08 20:01:35

It does get better - you have about two months of this to come. You can help things by playing peekaboo so he gets the idea that mummy is still there if he can't see her. Also I found singing in the kitchen so DD could hear me really helped.

Whinging in toddlers is par for the course though - sod all you can do about it

desperatelyseekingsleep Mon 28-Jul-08 10:54:06

Thanks, he's been like this for about 4 months now already, but it's just got to unbearable levels now. He's literally glued to me almost every second he's awake. I really hope your 2 month thing is right! I just can't see him ever changing at this rate sad

KT14 Mon 28-Jul-08 13:38:30

I hear you - am going through exactly the same with DS2 who is one in a couple of weeks. I'd forgotten after DS1 how much of a pain this stage is. Even going to the loo or popping out to put the rubbish out causes meltdowns. I think it is starting to ease and he will play on the floor around me now, but if I leave the room and start counting, I literally get no higher than 3 before the wails start.. hopefully it will wear off soon!!

whomovedmychocolate Mon 28-Jul-08 15:15:17

Have you considered that he might be unwell if it's been going on for so long. Might be worth taking him to the vets doctors for a check-up. An ear infection can cause a lot of pain, last a long time and cause this sort of clinginess - partly because they can't balance terribly well and you know when you are feeling wobbly you just want your mum to cuddle you.

What is your reaction like to his clinginess? If you are looking anxious, he'll pick up on it, ideally you want to pervade calm and happiness and cheerily say 'right mummy needs a wee now, you stay here and I'll be back in a second' (obviously the first few times don't actually go to the loo, just nip round the corner).

It does pass though - DD now couldn't give a stuff if I go away for a few minutes - though she still goes nuts if she realises I'm going for a long time so we resort to daddy subterfuge (daddy takes her out and we escape while she's out and then she comes home and I come home later - she can deal with that!)

It's flattering in some ways that they love us so much

meandmyjoe Mon 28-Jul-08 19:22:50

My ds is sometimes like this, he's one next week. He is especially bad at night time and also if he's in his high chair hmm. I think it's because when he's on the floor he knows he can follow me if he wants but when he's in his cot or high chair he feels he can't get to me. Mine started around 8.5months too so I'm well ready for a break! Agree with whomovedmychoco though, whenever I get frustrated with him doing it, I remind myself that it's only cos he loves me so much. It will get better, hopefully!

MrsTiddles Mon 28-Jul-08 20:16:41

this may sound silly but do you tell him what you're doing and where you're going when you walk away?

my mother pointed out that I should do this when my DS was this age (this time last year) and it makes a difference because while he may only have understood one or two words I was using (toilet?), he also understood that I was reassuring him.

It didn't always work, but it helped reduce the anxiety and started the transition to his understanding more, and so being less bothered if I had to move away to get something or leave the room (when someone else was there)

worth a try if not already doing this?

meep Mon 28-Jul-08 20:21:07

my 1yo dd is exactly the same. She got a wheelybug for her birthday and now she can wheel after me at great speed which seems to help. It means she can folow me from room to room and head off on her own wee excursions knowing that she can get back to me quickly!

She is also fine with dh unless she catches sight of me - then the arms waving wailing starts again!

Weegle Mon 28-Jul-08 20:24:49

remember this stage so well, it was a nightmare! For DS it was 9-15 months, peaking about 13-14 months (sorry!), and to be honest I think the only thing is to ride it out. Always tell them what you are doing but just go with it as much as possible.

oh and whinging seems par for the course...

desperatelyseekingsleep Tue 29-Jul-08 14:10:03

Thanks for all the advice guys. WMMC, I took him to the doctor a couple of weeks ago about a tummy bug and she gave him a thorough check-over, so definitely no ear infection. My reaction varies from calm to incredibly tense, depending on what kind of day I'm having! I'm sure he does pick up on my anxiety though, particularly at the moment as I'm about to go back to work and v worried about leaving him with a nanny 2 days a week. MrsTiddles I do try and tell him what I'm doing/where I'm going, but I'm not sure it makes much difference... I'll keep doing it though. Weegle, aargh, it may not even have peaked yet!! I think you're right, I just need to grit my teeth and ride it out. I keep hoping that when he's walking it will get better [hopeful emoticon], but then I thought the same about crawling and it hasn't made the slightest difference!

jabuti Tue 29-Jul-08 14:30:11

is he like that after you leave? if you have had the chance to observe it... my dd is 1 and will scream her hed off and crawls towards me when i drop her at the nursery. her carer picks her up and few seconds later she is fine and wants to go down to play! i know that because i spy through the window wink

mrsruffallo Tue 29-Jul-08 14:47:21

Can you put off work for a couple of months?
It doesn't last long and helps if you can carry him around for the next couple of weeks

desperatelyseekingsleep Tue 29-Jul-08 15:35:46

No unfortunately, I've left work as long as is possible already. I know that when I leave him with dh he's fine as long as I'm not in eyesight, but I've never left him with a "stranger" as this nanny will be to him. Feel literally sick when I think about leaving him - I trust the nanny, but it just upsets me to think of him being really upset. It's especially difficult as ds1 was nothing like this when I left him with childminder at about 9 months old - never even looked back and certainly never cried, so I've no previous experience of it being OK in the end IYSWIM.

jabuti Tue 29-Jul-08 15:56:42

mine took over a month to get used to the nursery. but they do get over it and adjust after a while, all the other 8 babies in the nursery did too.

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