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Severe separation anxiety in 10 month old

(7 Posts)
BigKatie Mon 03-Oct-11 23:31:49

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 - I think he's starting to associate her with being left) 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 is registered and 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 know that some upset is normal but he gets extremely distressed. 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.

It would be very financially difficult but I could at a pinch take a career break, but I'm not confident he'll be any better even in six months. Any advice? Thanks

NotTheBlinkingGruffaloAgain Tue 04-Oct-11 07:36:53

Could you work from home and have a nanny there, then each time he cries out he can see you then when he feels secure that you're around he will become less anxious and will trust you more.

Graciescotland Tue 04-Oct-11 09:21:51

No real advice DS was like that at 10 mo and TBH he's still like that now he's 13.5 mo. I decided to stay home with him rather than persevere with childcare but now we need to find someone to look after him.

I think it's made tougher as he's such a happy, confident, (seemingly) independent toddler. He really is a joy to be around, we're so lucky. However it does mean that the contrast of me/dh not being there is huge.

Will watch this thread with interest.

BigKatie Wed 05-Oct-11 13:45:09

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 nice 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 fears I don't think we've turned him into a nervous wreck. All I can say to anyone in a similar situation is perhaps introduce them as slowly as they need in familiar environments. I've just received my copy of the no cry separation anxiety solution which is a very softly softly approach. I think give yourself a lot of time. I'm relieved and gutted at the same time. He's at her house now and has even fallen asleep (napping has never been his strong point) so I'm hoping we're on course for me to go back to work next week. Good luck to anyone struggling with this one.

thebody Wed 05-Oct-11 14:09:03

what a lovely end to the story, so pleased for you.

i was going to say that in my experience as a cm all the children I have had eventually come around and that your cm was very honest with you so trust her.

you havnet 'broken' him so dont be 'gutted' your perseverance has allowed your baby to feel safe and secure and towards becoming a confident toddler.

good luck with the job!!!

NotTheBlinkingGruffaloAgain Wed 05-Oct-11 16:22:31

I am so pleased for you that is brilliant well done you!

minderjinx Wed 05-Oct-11 19:43:09

Pleased it ended well, and I would say it generally does, though the settling in process is not nice to have to go through sometimes. I have to say it is getting much more common for settling in to be a bit fraught as more and more Mums are taking a year maternity leave, and more and more babies are coming to their first childminder or nanny or nursery at ten or eleven months. It was all so much easier when they started sooner! I daresay it is more difficult for mums going back into work too in some ways.

I didn't want to say so while you were still struggling, but now you are over the hump perhaps I could say for the peace of mind of anyone planning to do much the same that it does seem to help if babies are accustomed from a very early age to spend some time with other carers - not necessarily their eventual CM or nanny, but anyone other than mum - perhaps grandparents, friends, even the creche at the gym. You can lay down some groundwork to make the transition into childcare less painful.

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