Separation Anxiety

Ten-month-old Evie sleeping.
Ten-month-old Evie sleeping.

When Evie was a baby, she’d stop breathing sometimes while she slept.  She’d never start up again on her own; I had to move her to make her take that next breath.  During the day, when she slept, she slept right next to me in a bassinet that I could roll easily around the house.  And at night, she slept in my arms, so that any change in her breathing would wake me.  She was nine or ten months old before she outgrew it, though it was a couple of months before I realized it.  And I suspect that if I hadn’t been sleeping with her, she’d have died from that unexplained phenomenon called SIDS.

Eventually, we set up her crib in our room, so she was still close, but could learn to sleep in her own place.  You can guess how that went!  Neither one of us particularly cared for that vast gulf between her bed and mine, and up until Saturday night, she still most often fell asleep in my bed before I moved her into her own.  I don’t regret the closeness we’ve shared at all!

Eight-month-old Evie sleeps in her car seat.
Eight-month-old Evie sleeps in her car seat.

But there were signs that it was time for us to move along, to let each other go just a little bit, and so, on Saturday, we tidied up her sisters’ room and moved her crib upstairs.  She was so excited!  All day long, she was bouncing off the walls.  But then evening came, and I bathed her and dressed her in my room, and she looked over at the empty corner and said slowly, “Somebody took my crib…”

“We moved it upstairs into your sisters’ room, remember?  You get to sleep upstairs tonight!” I said cheerfully, and she smiled tentatively.  She chattered till nearly 10 o’clock that night, and got her legs stuck in the crib bars once, before she finally fell asleep.

On Sunday, the girls knew not to talk to her after lights out, and she fell asleep earlier, but when I went up to check on her, she’d gone to sleep sitting up and was slumped over, folded completely in half!  Thank goodness I went up there to check on her so early!  In the morning, I told the older girls to have a look before they went to bed to make sure she was okay.

On Monday, I rocked her and sang to her as I carried her up, and as we approached her crib, she looked up at me mournfully, and said, “I want to stay home,” which is her way of saying that she doesn’t want to go to bed.

“I know, baby girl,” I said gently, tucking her tenderly into her crib.  “I’ll be back to check on you in a little while.  You go to sleep.”  She rolled onto her side and tucked her hands under her cheeks.  “I love you,” I whispered.

“I love you, too, Mama,” she whispered back.  She woke up crying once in the night, and one of her sisters soothed her and tucked her back in.

We were so happy to be reunited this morning, it was 45 minutes before we let go of each other.

You don’t think it’s too soon for a sleep over, do you?

12-month-old Evie sleeps.
12-month-old Evie sleeps.


6 Comment

  1. I’ve heard there may be an inner ear thing associated with SIDS… I wonder. So glad you’re so untuned with your babies ?

    1. Thanks, Susanna. I never heard that about the inner ear, either.

  2. KristyB says:

    Such a beautiful little one. The breathing issues are so scary! Wow. The night we moved the baby into her room (she was probably around 3 months and she’d been sleeping next to our bed every night) felt like I’d sent her off to college, I was so nervous. She seemed so far away! Just down the hall, and a baby monitor to hear her, but still. She is much more of a snuggler than her brothers ever were and I just take it all in. Sweet times.

  3. I generally go to sleep alone, but when I wake up I have at least one of the kids in my bed. The other morning when I woke up, I had three.

  4. My sweet baby girl is 10 months old. I started gently putting my other babies out of my bed, more and more each night, around this time, but she has never slept anywhere but at my side. I keep thinking I ought to eventually, but why? She still likes to nurse at night. It’s cold, and she’s tiny. I keep her warm, and she keeps me warm, too. There isn’t another baby on the way yet.Every time I think we ought to start using the crib, I make excuses like this. There’s always next month, or the month after that, right?

    I don’t know how people can sleep without their newborn right beside them. I worry so about their breathing, I sometimes have trouble sleeping with them right there because I’m so anxious! I have had a few babies do that apnea thing on and off where I have to jiggle them to get them to take another breath. I am pretty sure that mamas are meant to sleep curled in a ‘c’ shape around their babies. Maybe even for two years. 😉 Sounds good to me!

    1. No hurry. My beloved never liked the babies in the bed, but I don’t care anymore, and, oddly, neither does he. Keep her close as long as you’re both happy! I think it’s a beautiful thing, the way a baby and her mama fit together so perfectly, all tucked up in and around each other. 🙂

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