Author Topic: Need a game plan for night time separation anxiety - help?!  (Read 884 times)

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Offline Regina Phalange

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Need a game plan for night time separation anxiety - help?!
« on: December 12, 2013, 16:30:15 pm »
My 7 1/2 month old has just begun experiencing separation anxiety. I've got a pretty good handle on how to deal with it during the day - extra snuggles, try not to leave the room too often or for too long, bring him with me when I need to be in another room, wear him when he's having an especially difficult time, have husband spend lots of time with him snuggling and playing and soothing...and of course, lots of patience!
But night time is causing the most issues, and I'm not sure what would be the best way to work through it. It has only just started, so I'm not sure if this will continue to be an issue, but three nights ago, and last night he woke crying and when I went in there to resettle him, he just couldn't. (for some reason, the one night in between those two he slept straight through as normal). In the past we have discovered that when he won't stop moving and/or looking around and/or trying to interact with us, the best thing is to just leave the room and he'll either settle to sleep on his own, or let us know when he's ready for one more quick pat before passing out. So when he wouldn't settle, I tried leaving the room. He wailed. We did this a few times, and then I thought perhaps he needs reassurance that I'm not abandoning him, so maybe I should stay longer. I tried nursing, hoping it would relax him enough to drift off to sleep, but no luck. I sat on the stool beside the crib, but wasn't doing anything with him at all...just being present. He was calm but was either up on all fours staring at me, or lying down but still staring at me. Last night he was also reaching through the bars of the crib to grab onto me, and was trying to pull himself up on the side to get to me (time to lower the mattress!). If I would make any effort to get up, he would cry immediately. Every time he would get up, I would put him back down and he would stay down for a minute before popping back up. I lost count of how many times I did this. I considered leaving one of the times he had his head down and turned away from me, but figured that would probably do more harm than good by adding to his fear and anxiety. This continued for over an hour and then when he stayed down for a couple minutes, I had the feeling it was safe to leave. So I went back to bed, and he seemed to fall back to sleep. About 45 minutes later though, he woke again. My husband was getting up anyway for an early shift, so he went in and managed to settle him. He ended up being the one to finally settle him back to sleep the first time he did this too. I wonder if he's fighting sleep harder when I'm in the room because he so badly wants to be with me. Then of course, he woke a half hour earlier than normal for the day, despite losing about an hour and a half of sleep last night. He's napping now...hopefully it's a long one.
Anyway, I'm just hoping for some input and ideas of things that I can do to reassure him, hopefully without creating bad habits. Should I just keep doing what I'm doing and hope it doesn't last long? Should I be sleeping in his room? That idea makes me quite nervous as i really don't want to undo all the hard work we've done to promote independent sleep! Should I be sending my husband in more? Should I just drug him up?? (Kidding!!!)
It's only happened two nights, and not even twice in a row, so maybe I am worrying too much about something that might not even become a problem. But I just figure that having a plan in place would be the best way to approach this. So that I feel more calm and confident, and hopefully that transfers to him. And so that a week or a month from now, I don't look back and realize that something we did in response to this only created more problems...

Offline Skadiver13

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Re: Need a game plan for night time separation anxiety - help?!
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2013, 21:50:00 pm »
Hi hun I can't type much now as I'm on my phone but quick few questions. Can he lay back down himself? Is he an independant sleeper? Is he crying the whole time or obly when you leave the room? What is his current easy?
My dreamed for Angel Baby DD (other than dreaded 40min naps) Born 4/30/16
Reflux, MSPI, Love my Spirited,textbook little munchkin DS Born 5/17/2012



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Offline Regina Phalange

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Re: Need a game plan for night time separation anxiety - help?!
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2013, 00:31:00 am »
He can lay himself back down. He's only getting up on all fours, and hasn't actually fully pulled up on the side of his crib yet. I am lowering his mattress today as it's currently only a foot lower than the rail, and he's just starting to attempt pulling up.

He is normally an independent sleeper. With the occasional hiccup of course. He goes into his crib drowsy but awake, and it's pretty rare that there are any issues falling asleep. We had a stretch with frequent night wakings because the pacifier accidentally became a prop, but he's learned how to reinsert it himself, so that's not an issue anymore.

The crying has been stopping as soon as I'm there. And resumes before I even get to the door.

Our easy is a little bit in limbo at the moment. We've been unable to progress past 2 hours and 45 minutes awake time for quite a while. Now he's very suddenly doing at least 3hrs no problem, and usually more. I haven't quite figured out what the sweet spot is yet, but so far 3 hours and 10 or 15 minutes seems to be the preferred amount. And eating is a little thrown off right now. Although he's not really showing any negative effects of it, he hasn't been getting enough breast milk - based on a low amount of wet diapers and very low weight gain. I had concerns a while ago, and scaled back on solids, but then began to think I was overly concerned about something that wasn't a big a problem as I thought. But his output has decreased even further, so I've scaled even further back on solids, and starting today am continually offering the breast anytime he's awake while taking fenugreek to try and increase my supply. So I nurse when he wakes, then offer breakfast/lunch about an hour later, and then will top off the breast milk right after, and probably once more at some point before his next nap. Before today, I was only nursing at wakeups, at bedtime, and a dreamfeed, and he was giving me no indication that he needed/wanted more.

So the easy is now working out to be something like this:
Wake up @ 7:30
E - Nurse, breakfast, nurse
S - 10:30/10:45 - 12:00/12:15 Usually an hour and a half, but occasionally 2hrs
E - On wake up nurse, lunch, nurse
S - Sometime between 3 & 3:45 till 4:30 or 5:00
E - Nurse on wake up. I used to offer a small amount of supper, but have stopped now.
Bedtime routine around 7ish
E - Bedtime nurse around 7:30/7:45 (might be getting pushed back with these longer awake times)
S - 8ish
E - Dream feed @ 10:30

Naps are a little unpredictable now though. Since he increased his awake times, he sometimes does the usual hour and a half, sometimes 2 hours. And a few days he did one short 45 minute, and one long 2 hours. I'm hoping he settles into something a little more consistent soon.

I considered whether or not these wakings could be from hunger, but he's calm when I'm beside him, so it doesn't seem like it. And when I nursed him last night, while he did take it, it didn't make any difference in his demeanor.


Offline Skadiver13

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Re: Need a game plan for night time separation anxiety - help?!
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2013, 14:29:38 pm »
Ok if he can lay himself back down don't do it for him. It becomes a game and a way for him to keep you in the room. Just gently pat the mattress and repeat your sleepy phrase. He'll eventually get the idea that you aren't going to pick him up and he'll lay back down on his own.

How is it going now, sorry it's taken me so long to respond.  So are you doing wiwo or gentle weaning to help with the SA?
My dreamed for Angel Baby DD (other than dreaded 40min naps) Born 4/30/16
Reflux, MSPI, Love my Spirited,textbook little munchkin DS Born 5/17/2012



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Offline Regina Phalange

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Re: Need a game plan for night time separation anxiety - help?!
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2013, 02:38:52 am »
Hi Skadiver.
I don't know if I made the right call, but the night after my last post, I decided to try to nurse him again when he woke. I'm pushing to increase his milk intake anyway, so I figured it couldn't hurt. He went right back to sleep. Either he was actually hungry, or the act of nursing reassured him enough, and relaxed him enough to fall back to sleep. He has woken once every night since, and is back to sleep after nursing, with no issues. It's frustrating to me, because he has done so well with sleeping through the night from an early age, and I was actually hoping to start weaning the dream feed around now. But the concerns about his intake squashed that idea, and now we've added another night feed. Hopefully these wakings are nothing more than hunger, and once I manage to get more into him during the day, I can slowly wean off these two night feeds.
So perhaps I was mistaken about the wake ups being caused by separation anxiety? He's definitely experiencing it during the day, but I can tell that my efforts to reassure are making a difference. He feels secure enough to occasionally venture off and explore other rooms, so I think he's doing okay.

Offline Skadiver13

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Re: Need a game plan for night time separation anxiety - help?!
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2013, 02:56:25 am »
If he's sleeping through minus the  one night feed that's pretty normal. Is he taking a full feed at the dream feed?
My dreamed for Angel Baby DD (other than dreaded 40min naps) Born 4/30/16
Reflux, MSPI, Love my Spirited,textbook little munchkin DS Born 5/17/2012



**Siobhan**

Offline Regina Phalange

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Re: Need a game plan for night time separation anxiety - help?!
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2013, 03:36:38 am »
That's the thing right? I have no right to complain. Not only is he not doing anything abnormal for his age, but I've been lucky with months of sleeping through the night (minus interruptions from milestones, teething, illness etc.). And yet I can't help but be disappointed that we've "moved backwards". Never content  ;D

I think he's taking a full feed at the dream feed. But I'm pretty sure it's not as much as he used to take. I used to pump, and give expressed milk at the dream feed, so that it would be easy for someone else to do it when I needed a night off. But pumping was not going well. I was having to pump three times a day for the one bottle. And when I started noticing that he needed to increase his intake, I had to feed him more often during the day, which meant I had nothing left to pump. So I started nursing the dream feed instead. He used to take around 5oz. But I don't think he's getting that from me now. After the letdown, there's a good flow for a minute or two per side, and after that, there's a lot of starts and stops.

Offline becj86

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Re: Need a game plan for night time separation anxiety - help?!
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2013, 08:56:09 am »
Any teeth moving around? BF can help with that too - natural anaesthetic ;)

Offline Skadiver13

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Re: Need a game plan for night time separation anxiety - help?!
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2013, 17:23:21 pm »
You could try weaning the NF and just do the one night feed? That may move earlier to say around 1? But if you don't think he's taking a full feed you could try. Is he waking automatically for the DF or are you waking him?
My dreamed for Angel Baby DD (other than dreaded 40min naps) Born 4/30/16
Reflux, MSPI, Love my Spirited,textbook little munchkin DS Born 5/17/2012



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Offline Regina Phalange

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Re: Need a game plan for night time separation anxiety - help?!
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2013, 20:27:00 pm »
So of course, the very same night that I decide to say "Nah, he's just hungry. It's all good! I got this!!", we have an awful night. He woke up less than 3 hours after the dream feed. I thought it was a bit early, but nursed him anyway. At first he seemed like he would go right back to sleep again, but apparently not. An hour and a half later he finally settled back to sleep. Then he woke again 2 hours after that, so I nursed again. He was absolutely screaming, and that was the only thing that would calm him down. But he still took a good while to get back to sleep. I can't quite remember how long, because I was pretty tired, but it must have been at least an hour.
I do suspect he's teething again (ugh!), but I'm not quite sure. I ended up giving him tylenol last night, but I didn't really see an effect. Unless the pain broke through....
I was also wondering about skipping the dream feed, and just feeding him when he wakes. The only thing is that I need him to get as much breast milk as possible right now. But I really don't know that he's getting much at any one feeding. I think they're all fairly small.
He doesn't wake up for the dream feed.

Offline zissi

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Re: Need a game plan for night time separation anxiety - help?!
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2014, 21:39:23 pm »
Hi there,

Im going through exactly the same with with my 7.5 months old DD. Some nights are good, some others we have a long waking with hard crying and eventually she settles after being fed (not straight after) My DD had been sleeping through for some weeks too but for the time being I think I will go with the flow and feed her when we cant get her down otherwise. I believe this NW are linked to the wonder weeks she is going through at the moment and maybe some separation anxiety. hopefully it will pass soon. Let me know how you get on!
fran
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Offline Skadiver13

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Re: Need a game plan for night time separation anxiety - help?!
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2014, 00:00:55 am »
I was also wondering about skipping the dream feed, and just feeding him when he wakes.

We didn't do the DF. It didn't work for us. He would wake at 1am again anyway and the be off for the rest of the night. When we dropped the DF we went to 2 NF's and it was great. Some babies are disturbed by the DF so it's up to you. Now is about the time Tracy said to start weaning the DF anyway if I remember correctly.  Is he on a 4hr EASY during the day so eating around 4hrs?
My dreamed for Angel Baby DD (other than dreaded 40min naps) Born 4/30/16
Reflux, MSPI, Love my Spirited,textbook little munchkin DS Born 5/17/2012



**Siobhan**