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    Avatar of shurley

    My 13 month old little girl has become very clingy over the past couple of weeks…she will cry if I go in to another room and spends a lot of time on my hip, although she is walking independently. Almost at the same time she has started to wake a lot at night time, initially a few nights a week but now it is every night. (She did not start to go thru the night until 8.5 months but has been pretty settled sleepwise up to now) She crys almost hysterically when she wakes. Up to now when she surfaced from naps and in the morning she would babble to herself for a wee while and then call us, but now she crys hysterically as soon as she wakes up. She will go in to her cot for naps and at bedtime awake quite happily and is in great form but she actually is quite pale looking and has dark circles under her eyes, I can only presunme from the broken nights. Is this separation anxiety?….will it settle? Any ideas anybody?

    Avatar of longj

    its heartbreaking (not to mention exhausting) but i do believe its connected. Not sure if you saw the recent topics on ‘exhausted’ etc but I do believe the independence, separation anxiety and sleep problems are connected.

    Aparently its a developmental paradox. As they get more independent, they begin to understand themselves as a separate entity and become aware and anxious about separation.

    This peaks when they are left in the room on their own. (ie. at night when asleep). This is why I question the whole controlled crying solution as i think it heightens this separation anxiety if this is the underlying cause.

    I know it doesn’t help with the sleepness nights but it does pass (and I found peaked again at 22 mths). I also found that severe eye teeth teething at 12/13 mths made the anxiety and sleep problems worse. Neurophen/calpol to eleviate this is no harm. and I found giving them a sleep association comfort that they can see when they wake up helps to comfort them & they use it to fall off to sleep independently. (you may have to reinforce this, by telling them look you found their blankie, now its ok, they can sleep again) for us it was a blankie, for others its a toy. You might also consider a picture of you in the room/ near them. (she might be too young for this yet).

    The only thing I would urge you to consider, is how you want to address the anxiety at night time. Do you really want her to figure out that you and your bed are how she resolves the anxiety? if not, I would TRY and resist forming that association by bringing her into your bed. (difficult to resist when exhausted but believe me its worse to try and break it later).

    best of luck !

    Avatar of marcia

    Hi Shurly,
    Is your child at creche? I found that if I spent a good quality time hour with my little girl before pjama time, and cut down on the naps during the day, she slept a lot happier. also try to get outside activities during the day, wrap up in hats coats and scarves, as its cold now, but going outside leads to better sleep also.
    controlled crying is ok, as long as there is nothing physically wrong with your child. just depends on how long you can stand to hear it!
    good luck

    Avatar of trionaml

    Hi Shurley, I’m going through the exact same thing at the moment. Baby is 12 months (+1day!) and goes hysterical if I leave the room. If shes in the kitchen and I got to the sitting room she automaically thinks I’m gone and screams while running to the front door. Then she sits behind the door and cries and cries her little heart out. It really is heartbreaking.

    Over the past 3 nights the sleep routine has gone a bit potty also. She was drinking her bottle and going to sleep no problem, but now she drinks some of it and jumps around the cot. She doesn’t seem to mind the fact that I’m not in her room when shes awake going asleep, but one thing I found helped is that she has lots of her toys on the locker and her favourites at the bottom of her cot. She likes to see them there were dropping off and a special little bear which I guess would be called her sleep association thingy??

    I agree with you on the controlled crying issue at this stage. I don’t think it would work for me anyway (if it works for others GREAT) but she seems to settle a lot easier when she knows I’m not too far away and can be by her side within a minute.

    Hope this is just a phase as it really upsets me with the constant crying


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