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Thread: Separation anxiety from starting daycare

  1. #1
    jess Guest

    Default Separation anxiety from starting daycare

    Hi,

    I havnt been on BB for ages but am feeling really stressed and really need some help. My DD has just started childcare 2 days a week. She has just turned 1 and is not adjusting well so far. She sits by the door at childcare and cries angrily most of the day. She also fights having a sleep even though she is exhausted. It is heartbreaking. Her sleep at home has really regressed and won't sleep on her own, day or night. She also will not let me out of her sight and if she sees a door close, she starts crying.

    The first day I went up at lunchtime to give her a breastfeed (for comfort) and my partner finished work shortly after and took her home early. The next day the carer said me coming up would start her anxiety off again as she had slightly improved (she had smiled once) so I didnt visit at lunch, and as my partner couldnt finish early my DD stayed all day. When I picked her up my DD was so stressed and so confused. It took a good 3 days for her to relax and feel more like her old self. We gave her so many cuddles and kisses and attention.

    I wonder if her separation anxiety is partly my fault. We started co-sleeping at 10 months as she just woke up constantly through the night and I was exhausted. So when she wakes at 11pm I get her and she spends the rest of the night with me. She also would never be pacified with a dummy, instead preferring to suck on mummy ... We also have no family near us and no one has looked after her but me.

    This is a huge change for her and it is going to take time to adjust and for her to get to know her carers. This week I am sending her to daycare with a dummy (worth another try) and her teddy bear dressed in my bedshirt. Hopefully my partner will finish early and he can pick her up early as well.



    Am I on the right track? I feel so out of control. Its awful being at work and trying to be 'professional' when all you can think about is your little bubba (and I can hear her crying the whole time!!)
    Last edited by jess; September 13th, 2006 at 08:39 PM.

  2. #2

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    Jess you poor thing.

    I have no real suggestions, only that Charlie started 1 day a week at childcare at 12 months and had a few issues too, and the girls at his centre commented that 12 months was the "peak" of separation anxiety.......so it MAY pass quickly. I hope so.

    Charlie is now FINE, at 13 months, BTW, and claps his hands when we get there........I hope that is the case for you soon.....

    Best of luck.........

  3. #3

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    Aww Jess this must be so hard...
    I can sympathise... I had issues when Aidyn started daycare this year (he was about 19 months)
    The first time he went I was called back after a few hours because he was just crying and crying.
    The second time, he made it until just past lunch. And then gradually longer each time.

    It is possible to introduce it to your DD in stages like this? Ie for the first week pick her up after 2 hours, the next week pick her up after lunch, the week after pick her up a bit later, etc?

    I too have heard that its really common, but that certainly doesnt make it any less heartbreaking for you...
    I wish you all the best and hope that she gets used to it soon.

    ETA: argh, just realised you are working, so my suggestion wouldnt work. Is there perhaps any way that you would be allowed to do half days at work for a couple of days so that you can go and pick her up early, which may still help ease her into it in the long run?

  4. #4

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    Jess - I also started Maggie of in Childcare at about 12 months, only one day a week though. She only started off at a few hours, before building up to 7 hours a day. She seems to be going well, she has attached herself to 2 of the carers and is fine so long as one of them are in the room. Annoying for them at times. Some days she will still cry every time the door closes, regardless of who is going though it.

    She actually settled herself for the first time last week and did not cry when I dropped her off. So it does get better. I think what is helping is that I drop her off about the time of morning tea, so she gets there and is straight into food. Are you able to adjust your drop off time to fit with something that your DD enjoys?

    BTW I also co-sleep and breastfeed to sleep, so it is amazing that she settle herself to sleep, pity she wont do it for me.

    I understand your pain, it is a hard thing to do. Hopefully the dummy and teddy work for her. Good Luck

  5. #5

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    That is right about the 12 months thing, it is the peak of separation anxiety. I tried it with Marisa and failed dismally, pulled her out and started again successfully when she was 2. Elijah now goes to occasional care at almost 2. He has been earlier than this but I had to pull him out at their request, but he now goes to a centre with Marisa and after three or four weeks, he didn't cry and is happy. It does take time, but for some children it's just too distressing - Marisa also has anxiety issues in general but I would never have known then...
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  6. #6

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    This is fantastic advice from everyone. I am having the same trouble with my 13 month old. I have just started him at a family daycare mum for 1 day a week and it seems to be distressing to him so I think I am going to pull him out and try him again when he is a bit older, which hopefully will help the situation. Thanks everyone for their advice.

  7. #7

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    I have been thinking about this and realised something else. Charlie has been great at childcare (apart from a couple of days right at the start.) I was chatting to one of his carers about it all (and how 12 month old babies tend to suffer from separation anxiety etc) and she commented that Charlie has the advantage over most, as he already "knew" the centre from being with me each and every time I dropped Olivia off. ie he was familiar with the smell, the sights and the sounds..........(he was with me for 10 months of drop offs & pick ups!)

    SO, a key to easing a little one gently into a daycare situation, I think, must be gradual, consistent and may take a really long time.......ie take your little one along for an hour or two with you there for a few weeks, then leave them for an hour etc etc? Building up to a time when eventually you and your little one are happy to leave them for the whole day........

    Not sure if that helps anyone?
    Last edited by Lucy; October 1st, 2006 at 09:02 PM.

  8. #8

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    Thanks, We start 3 days of family Day care in Late Nov, Dh is home the first 2 days & then we are all at work, as i have a few days off in the next 2 wks I might take her there for half an hour or so, just to get used to it a bit.... Indah has been cared for by my family since January so i am hoping she eases into it, I chose a very quietly,spokem gentle Indian lady.... I hope it works out!!!!!

  9. #9

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    Hi there, I used to work in the nursery at a child care centre, and i promise you that most of the babies that started new with us had an adjustment period where they would be upset when mum or dad left. Some cried for a few minutes, some cried on and off all day. Some kids settled in within a few weeks, for others it can take a bit longer. It is a big adjustment for the little ones esspeically with seperation anxiety peaking at that age, but the kids so settle in their own time and and she will soon start to enjoy it and make new friends Its a hard time for any parent to know their child is upset and they aren't there to comfort them, but day care really is fantastic for learning and development and socialising and your DD will soon settle in fine.

    We always told the new parents to come in and have a play for 5 minutes with the child, then say "goodbye, mummy will see you soon" or something along the lines of that. Sneaking out to avoid upsetting them isn't good because they dont know where you've been. Saying goodbye teaches them that mummy has to go, but they soon learn that mummy or daddy always comes back later. Another suggestion is that when you or your partner picks her up in the afternoon, maybe hang around for 5 or 10 mins and have a play with her there at the centre so she can see what a fun and nice place it can be.

    The reason the staff would have said that you going up to breastfeed you DD at lunch time is that it makes it harder on the child to have to say goodbye for a second time, and repeat the process all over again. When you pick up the child at the end of the day they will be unsure if its time to go home or if mummy will go again, therefore upsetting them again.

    We did have parents that would come and breastfeed then leave again, and in the end it is the mums choice to do that, but i'm just explaining to you the reasons they don't suggest it.

    Good luck with everything, I hope she settles in well soon

  10. #10

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    I remember having this problem with Joshua too. I HAD to go back to work and he was around 9/10 months old. He went to family day care but would cry and cry when I dropped him off then he added crying cos he didn't want to leave when I picked him up (so crying at drop off and pick up)...he eventually did get past this but it did take a while and I'm pretty sure he was past 12 months when it settled properly. It was very heartbreaking, but they do get past it. for you

  11. #11
    citygal Guest

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    HI,

    Matthew is doing the same thing. He has had such a disruptive time with care. Three different carers, he's been sick with Influenza A, Middle Ear infection, Conjunctivitis and Tonsilitis (all within 8 weeks) meaning time away from care. He throws some huge tantrums when I leave and crys if the carers leave the room or aren't sitting near him when they are there. Now his sleep is messed up too.

    We have now got him in a childcare centre for the whole time. So now that he is well again...and hoping he doesn't catch something else, we might be able to get some consistency for him and that might make things a bit easier for him.

    I have bees reading about a book Toddle Taming so am going to go buy that today....hopefully it might help as well.

  12. #12

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    I just posted over in General Discussion about this very issue. I'm about to leave my super clingy 7 month old baby in daycare for 3 days a week. I'm starting her in childcare 2 weeks before going to work because I know that I'm going to have to ease her into it gently.

    If I've seen no improvement after 4 weeks in childcare, I think I'm going to have to hire a nanny until she's ready. Is a month a decent timeframe to give for allowing a baby to settle into childcare?

    Jess - I also wonder if my bub's separation anxiety is my fault as well since the two of us have been inseperable since her birth (more so that most other mums I know). The separation/stranger anxiety started at 2 months old, and since then I haven't exposed Bonnie to other people's care because I know that it upsets her. A lot of people have told me that this is only contributing to the problem, but why would I expose her to a situation that only distresses her? Only now do I wish that I'd eased her into other people's care in preparation for childcare.

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