How to help a toddler get over her separation anxiety?? Please help! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 2 Old 12-12-2006, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
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DD will be 18 months in a couple weeks. We do the whole AP thing: BFing on demand, cosleeping, rocking to sleep... etc etc. I'm a SAHM and when DD was two months old we moved across the country, far from any friends or relatives. Consequently, DD has never had a baby sitter. It is time. It is time for me and I feel it is important for her to be able to be comfortable with someone else ... but how do I do it?

I've had a babysitter coming a couple hours at a time, twice a week. I hide upstairs in my office, getting things done while the babysitter plays with DD, takes her for walks etc. But DD has never gone the full two hours without crying for me and begging to nurse. It is getting worse and worse. Now when the babysitter arrives DD starts getting clingy. I've tried both sneaking away while DD is engrossed in something and the opposite - saying a big goodbye before heading upstairs. Nothing works.

Today we tried a different tactic. Babysitter arrived, I went upstairs, within 5 minutes DD was screaming to nurse. From previous experience I know she can go a long time like that and does not calm for the sitter. So I nursed her. Then I said a big goodbye, got in the car and left. It was awful, she screamed like she was being tortured. Ugh.

So tell me, how do I make this a smoother transition? Will I ever be able to do anything without DD? How do I help her get used to the sitter? How do I persuade her she can wait until the sitter's time is over before she nurses?
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#2 of 2 Old 12-12-2006, 11:03 PM
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My DD is younger than yours, but I think this might still apply. We tried to go out while leaving DD with grandma and it didn't work. There was much crying, even though she knew grandma well enough (we thought). So, we backed WAY up and spent a lot of time (like, several months) getting DD a lot more familiar with grandma. She spent probably 3 or 4 hours with her, 3 or 4 times a week, but always with us there, never leaving her. Eventually when DD was happy actually playing with grandma for the whole time we let grandma take her for some walks alone, and when that went ok DH started leaving her with grandma when he had to go to meetings. (He is DD's primary caregiver, but is working on his PhD so needs a couple hours a week to meet with his supervisor.) This seems to be working well. Probably you just went a bit too fast for your DD and you need to back off and spend a couple of weeks hanging out with her and the sitter (and nursing if she wants) until she's REALLY comfortable with the sitter. If the sitter engages her in play while you are still there, eventually she will start to look forward to the sitter and even more eventually won't mind if you slip out here and there.

Postpartum doula & certified breastfeeding educator, mama to an amazing girl (11/05) and a wee little boy (3/13).

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