Lets talk about sleep & separation anxiety

I’d planned to write something about sleep and separation anxiety in the coming weeks, especially as lockdown for some means we’re spending more time with our babies than ever, but since it’s hit our household over the last week I thought what better time to discuss it?

During lockdown Ella has absolutely loved having Jack and I both at home with her and it’s been so lovely to have the time to properly play with her, teach her things and keep to a consistent routine.

However we did worry about some potential downfalls to this, the main one being sleep and separation anxiety. Over the past 2 months Ella has been sleeping relatively well day and night (hopefully I don’t jinx it too much) but the last 3-4 days she’s been crying every time we put her down for her naps in the day and every time we leave the room at bedtime. Ella is now 10 months and I’ve heard that even though separation anxiety can hit at anytime, it has been known to peak between the age of 9-10 months.

Before then she would go down awake, babble away and send herself off to sleep after 10 minutes or so. Now it feels like we’re back at square one when we first introduced Ella’s sleep routine. We don’t even make it downstairs and Ella’s already crying out.

Like all Mums there’s only so much I can listen to her cry, so we have remained consistent and gone in every 5 minutes to ‘shh’ and comfort her then leave again so she doesn’t get used to us being in the room. . The time it takes for Ella to go down has shot up from 10 minutes or so to nearly 30 minutes on some occasions! We knew there’d be plenty of times her routine may take a hit so we’ve tried to just ride along with her. The knock on effect to everyones night as she stirs a lot means tired parents and a grizzly Ella, it’s been a sudden adjustment!

So what steps are we taking to get through this through this ‘phase’? There may be a lot of you reading this going through the same thing or concerned lockdown may contribute towards a similar situation.

So I’ve listed some ‘tips’ that we’ve used before whenever Ella has a bit of a blip with her sleep or routine.

  • Continue having a good routine throughout the day, stick to it as much as possible.
  • Do your best to ensure baby is ‘ready’ for bed, it seems there can be such a fine line between over or under tired, getting it just right is a small window sometimes
  • Continue with a consistent bedtime routine, the four b’s (bath, book, bottle, bed) although tailor this your own way! 
  • Try and leave baby playing by themselves in the day so they don’t just rely on you for entertainment.
  • Pop out the room more often in the day, I do a few chores or make up some food for Ella whilst making sure I come back in regularly so Ella knows I haven’t completely disappeared.

There may be little zigzags in the road sometimes but hopefully these tips will help you get back on the right path.

What tips have you tried?

(2) Comments

  1. Chloe says:

    We are suffering with sleep separation anxiety and bedtime is really tough at the moment! Our daughter refuses to go to sleep unless cuddled and rocked and only by me. Going to sleep for anyone else takes 10x longer!
    If I try the whole leave her awake and leave the room she’ll try make herself sick (I can literally have only been left 30 seconds)!
    In the night when she wakes, she’s started refusing to go back to sleep until she’s put into our bed, I can try laying her back in her cot 10+ times and she just continues to cry until she’s next to me in bed.
    Any tips/help/advice would also be appreciated here!

  2. Georgia says:

    Hey Chloe,
    Oh it is so hard. The main advice I can give is just being consistent and sticking with putting her back down in her cot and leaving the room. Consistency has definitely worked with Ella, even though at the time you do just want to sleep! Maybe also try doing the same routine in the day as you do at nighttime! Remember everything is a phase. Hopefully some more mums can comment on here too to give some help and advice of what has worked for them xx

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