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  1. #1

    Seperation Anxiety in Toddler

    My daughter seems to be experiencing a major case of separation anxiety, or something similar, and I have no idea what to do about it. She is about to be 15 months old, breastfeeding, co-sleeping and generally a happy baby. However, she cries profusely if I leave her with anyone, even my husband, even to go to to the bathroom. She also cries when strangers say "hi" to her when we are out and about. She does not want anyone but me to hold her and generally will not let anyone but me console her when she is upset.

    My husband and I are both home a lot, he is a student and we both work from home. She has always been very attached to me, hence the breastfeeding, but suddenly she is only interested in me. She is breastfeeding as frequently as she did during early infancy and she wants to be held near-constantly.

    My other children were not nearly this clingy and they were all very fond of my husband, their grandmother and other caregivers. I love that my baby loves me so much, do not get me wrong, but her father is hurt by her lack of interest in him and I do need a little break every now and again. I cannot even take a shower as it is right now.

    Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Hi mom2many,

    With separation anxiety it can be useful to remember it is often short lived. Is your little girl teething or unwell at all as this can also increase the anxiety?

    I have experienced something very similar with my toddler recently - although he now seems to be out the other side of it and happy to spend time with lots of other adults. When this was happening with my son I had to have him in the bathroom with me when I showered - as he cried if he was with anyone else. However, he would sit in his car seat in the bathroom and look at a book (or even a dvd!) - it allowed me that precious time to get ready and feel human!

    We tried to not let my little boy know that it was a bit upsetting to his dad that he didn't want to be left even with him. The good news is - he is totally fine with his dad now (sometimes I even get a bit jealous now! - but really I think it's great). We gradually increased the time he was with other adults for - starting with me just leaving the room for under a minute. He also had some special fun activities he did when he saw his grandparents (e.g. playing with the watering can in the garden) which seemed to make him enjoy spending time with a variety of people.

    Something else we found useful - until a few months ago I was always the one who comforted my little boy if he was upset (often by breastfeeding him). However, my husband gradually helped to comfort him (I found this hard as I knew breastfeeding him would sometimes settle him quicker at first) and now my son is fine if he is upset when I am not with him.

    Thinking of you. It will get easier!

    LJ

  3. #3
    Thank you LJ. I took her to the doctor this morning and found out she has an ear infection, so hopefully that was to blame for the sudden extra-clinginess. However, I do plan on implementing some of your advice because I think it would really help. Even though the ear infection may be to blame for the recent issues, she has always been extra, extra attached to me so maybe using some of these tips I can help to get her comfortable with others.

  4. #4
    Ah sorry your daughter has an ear infection - as an Audiologist I know these can be very painful. If you try to get her to drink plenty of water then this will help open up the Eustachian tube (as she swallows) which will help to let more oxygen in to clear up the infection quicker. Alongside any medication your doctor recommended.

    I hope you also get on well with helping your daughter to get used to spending more time with others.

    Best wishes,

    LJ

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