I think my 9 month old has Separation Anxiety

Ash - posted on 12/04/2009 ( 28 moms have responded )

47

8

7

She screams and cries if I so much as leave the room. She'll fall asleep in my arms, but will stand up and scream and cry the second I put her down. And now she's getting up in the middle of the night crying. I have to wait by her bedside just for her to go back to sleep. And she checks to make sure I'm still there. Now if I'm holding her she won't go with other family members. And if they do get a chance to hold her she'll cry hysterically until I take her. She wasn't like this a few weeks ago. What can I do?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Renae - posted on 12/05/2009

2,209

23

154

Quoting Sharon:

that is not seperation anxiety, its manipulation.

Don't put psychiatric terms on infants.



Separation anxiety isn't a psychiatric term. All infants go through the same series of developmental stages, this is part of one of those stages. It is a normal part of human development. It is not manipulation. Separation anxiety occurs when the babies brain develops to a point where they understand that they and their mother are 2 separate beings and that mother can separate from them (i.e. put them down and walk away). This is a very new and scary concept for them. During the next stage of development when they learn what we call "object permanence" (just because we have a name for something doesn't make it a "psychiatric term" it just means it needs to be called something) baby then understands that mum is nearby and will come back soon (also they develop a concept of time which helps with this). When the next stage of development is reached the separation anxiety will pass.



Infants are not capable of manipulation. Manipulation requires a conscious effort to do something for the purpose of gaining a specific outcome. Babies do not have the foresight or conceptual ability to be manipulative. At 9mo most of the babies behaviour is still purely instinctual.

Shelagh - posted on 12/06/2009

312

0

19

She learnt to separate the world into two groups - 'Mum' and 'Everybody else'. Obviously, she wants the person in the first group, rather that anyone from the second group. It is a stage - and comes as a shock when a child that was previously happy to 'go to anyone' suddenly isn't. She is learning - and she will eventually learn that some members of the 'everybody else' group are OK really (Dad, grandparents, sitters), and that when Mum isn't around, the world doesn't actually come to an end. Hang on in there - and don't stop giving her the chance to interact with other caring adults (if you stop letting other people hold her, you are effectively saying 'yes, you're right'). They all grow up in the end. Good luck!

Chong-sean - posted on 12/04/2009

15

19

0

next time you're scared, i hope they leave you in a dark room alone, and say, 'soothe yourself!"

Sally - posted on 12/07/2009

1

0

0

Seperation anxiety is a normal developemental behavior and will go away in time. It usually happens around 9 months. When she becomes more independent with walking etc. it will go away. It is hard on you. Just comfort her as much as you can it will seem like you are getting nothing done but, it will get better. She is not being manipulative. Just normal.

Amy - posted on 12/06/2009

2

55

0

this phase too shall pass, encourage her to go to other people at times, and don't be afraid to lie her in her bed safely for a moment. In a month or so this will pass and she will go back to the friendly, hang in there:)

This conversation has been closed to further comments

28 Comments

View replies by

Brandie - posted on 12/09/2009

17

54

0

my almost2 yr.old sleeps all night and takes a 2 1/2 hr nap daily, but she has issues when i leave and she doesnt come with me , she'll cry to she makes her self throw up, or until i get back

Sara - posted on 12/08/2009

33

32

1

OK... as someone who enjoys being the church nursery worker/ early childcare let me say that this is how I sum it up as mom, 2 things 1) bedtime: my pediatrician told me at 4.5 months that the child should be sleeping though the night and the best way to get her to start make sure she's got a clean diaper, feed her until she's full and put her to bed, awake not asleep and let her cry it out. If you've taken care of her basic needs she's fine. This is how she learns to self soothe. 2) when others are around and they want to see her let them. If it helps give her to them and walk away. If you have to leave her during the day, drop her off don't linger it makes it harder on her. Believe me you are not hurting her. I've seen plenty of kids that do best when mom/ dad drop them off as a matter of fact and walk away good childcare can get them busy and entertained quickly so the crying stops. I was also told that at the middle of the night wakings diaper check but do not talk to the child (I shushed mine). If she's checking... it's likely a bit of manipulation. For your sake (because I know burn-out) let someone else check on her. Good luck mom, you'll do great!

Disha - posted on 12/08/2009

1

13

0

hi i think she gets scared alot,i always use to keep a nail cutter underneath a pillow,so try doing that,may be she gets bad dreams & this usually happens with small kids.

Stephanie - posted on 12/06/2009

5

0

0

My daughter did the same thing....it is not manipulation! It is a phase, just give it time. Has there been any changes, any stress in the house...she could be feeling that as well. Kids are very connected to their moms.

Ash - posted on 12/05/2009

47

8

7

Thank you so much for the advice ladies. She's still getting up in the night but it's not every night now, and it's only once. My husband and I have decided to take turns with who gets up to get her. I just didn't feel comfortable letting her cry it out. I would say she's getting better though. Thank you again for all the posts.

Elaine - posted on 12/05/2009

1

0

0

Our son, who is 16 months now, has gone through phases like that, including one around 9 months. He's always been a finicky sleeper, and we've never been comfortable with leaving him to cry for long. One approach that's worked for me several times is to take it very gradually. For example, I might lie next to his crib with my hand inside rubbing his back or letting him hold it. Then after a night or two of that, I'll move a little further away, then further, until I'm out the door. It takes a couple weeks (and a lot of patience!), but if you're not comfortable with a CIO approach, something like this might be worth a try. Good luck! Like others have said, you just have to do what you feel is best for your child.

Kathy - posted on 12/05/2009

1

1

0

All kids are different. My third child would happily sleep cuddled up to me, however as a light sleeper this would mean that I got nearly no sleep. So I used to let him cry himself to sleep, as much as it hurt me, but at least when he finally dropped off I could then get a full nights sleep. Now at 5 he happily skips off to bed at 7 each night, because that is the routine that he has had for 5 years. Given the choice he would still prefer to sleep cuddled up to Mum, Dad or either of his siblings but he knows that he can only do that on special occassions.

[deleted account]

In my opinion, you should go with what you feel is best for your daughter. I personally like d to comfort my child and help them to know that I would always be there for them. When a child cannot speak, crying is the next best form of communication for them. When you ignore it, it makes them feel neglected and that they cannot have their needs met. A nine-month old is not capable of manipulation in my opinion..but really it is up to you with what you decide to do. if you feel guilty about leaving her to cry, then stay with her. Eventually she'll become confident as she get older. However if you're at your wits end with lack of sleep, then maybe you should research some methods that work. My advice is to go with your gut feeling for whats right for her. Just try to think how hard it must be to be that old and not have the most important person around (you) when you are feeling scared.

Chong-sean - posted on 12/04/2009

15

19

0

what is wrong... why do you have children??? to make them suffer??? crying it out now is considered extremely damaging to them.... they do not understand... they are your babies and need you... you can have all your free time when they are 5... jeez

Chong-sean - posted on 12/04/2009

15

19

0

can you wait it out and comfort her until she outgrows it??? you'll see, be patient and then you will have a happier better behaved and a more trusting non violent toddler who will be more understanding of your needs. you just have to wait until she has verbal skills and can better understand the foreign world around her... remember there is a reason nature has put this survival instinct in ALL babies discovering the physical world. CHLDREN DO NOT KNOW WHAT AND HOW TO MANIPULATE. THEY JUST WANT TO BE COMFORTED WHEN THEY ARE SCARED.. don't you hate it when someone doesn't understand your fears??? and call it manuipulation. if you think this, this is what you do and what you will get....

Sharon - posted on 12/04/2009

1

2

0

Let her have a crying fit and don't give into her. When you pick her up she is getting exactly what she wants. You are teaching her that mom is whipped.

Michelle - posted on 12/04/2009

82

8

4

This is really common at this age. I was always a stay at home mom, so even when the dad came home, my kids wanted no one but me. They will grow out of it. But maybe get with some other Moms and have play dates, or free babysitinng for each other.

Capri - posted on 12/04/2009

4

6

0

It's not your child that has separation anxiety it's you. A few nights of crying herself to sleep and she'll know that when you say it's time for bed you mean business. Same goes for leaving the room. Leave the room and let her cry. When you reenter the room do something special for her to show that she did a good job by being quite while you were away. Maybe a special story or just an extra big hug and a "good girl".

Christie - posted on 12/04/2009

1

0

0

There is no way she is manipulating you. IMO the philosophy of 'self soothing' is WAY OVERRATED for a child under 1 yr. I think it just makes mom feel guilty. A 9 month old is too young to cry for anything but a need. Plus, common sense says she won't be crying for you in the middle of the night when she's 25. So, respond to your baby's cry and HUG HER when she needs you. You'll know when she's ready to learn a few lessons in independence.

I'm a first time mom of a 13 month old who went through the same thing around 9 months. You know what all the crying has taught me??? To TRUST MY INSTINCTS. So trust yours--you know your child best. BTW, my baby sleeps through the night and takes 2 naps--without tons of "training" (there has been some "crying it out" but not until recently). AND I STILL HUG HER LOTS!

Lori - posted on 12/04/2009

4

1

0

I may be in the minority, but I was never comfortable denying my children my presence if they wanted it. As they got older, I was able to differentiate between cries that were sincere and showed a real need and cries that were just angry, and then stopped responding to the cries that were just angry. I can't tell you how I knew the difference, but I knew.



I went through periods with each of my children when they were clingy or I just felt that they should always be with either my husband or me and no one else. I indulged them. It was always temporary and at 6, 8 and 10 they are very independent now.



I think before our children can start separating they must be completely confident that their parents are there if they need them. At what point they gain that confidence is anyone's guess, but I never pushed it.

Ash - posted on 12/04/2009

47

8

7

I only said that I thought it might be separation anxiety, because she seems to have all the symptoms, and is at that age where this typically happens. No need for the attitude. Just needed some advice.

Alison - posted on 12/04/2009

2,753

20

466

Quoting Sharon:

that is not seperation anxiety, its manipulation.

Don't put psychiatric terms on infants.



I'm gonna have to disagree with you at least partially, here. Children go through many phases where they become more insecure and attached to the parent for different reasons.



I do agree, though, that your daughter is testing you to see just how much of you she can have.



Make sure that she is getting snuggle time with you consistantly, but do not respond to every demand. I think that if you are going to her at night, give her a few minutes of attention, then go back to 'sleep'. She may cry for 45 minutes the first night, but by the 3rd night, she'll stop as soon as you leave the room.



Children are quick learners. They learn what they can and cannot get away with. You are the teacher and the decider. Not her.

Kirsi - posted on 12/04/2009

22

3

4

Sounds like she is growing up and has learned that when she cries mommy will be there and comfort, non-brainer for any child. I think pretty much all mine tried that some time in their toddler years.

I know it is hard to walk away when your child is crying but you just have to. They will learn quick that the crying trick is not working and forget all about it. Just a face to battle with your kid. It can be frustrating at night if your kid is as strong willed as mine, you might have to listen to that crying for a bit few nights before it stops. Do NOT stay by her bedside until she stops, that is just teaching her that the crying is working (unless you are willing to spend countless of future nights by her bed...) Oh, and check the diaper to make sure it is dry and not bothering her before you return to your own bed.

Sharon - posted on 12/04/2009

11,585

12

1314

that is not seperation anxiety, its manipulation.



Don't put psychiatric terms on infants.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms