"Since baby Peter died my daughter has become very clingy. She only wants me and I am exhausted."

We receive messages every week from parents, grandparents, friends and family members all wanting to help support someone through their loss. Questions, queries and check in's make up the majority of our online communication & Support.

The most common theme this week has been around separation anxiety in siblings that has developed after the death of a baby in the immediate family.

"When I spent 4 days in hospital being induced I didn't see Lily at all and I am sure that has lead to this. I had to stay in to have baby Peter and Lily was not allowed to visit."

What is separation anxiety?

Firstly it is important to recognise that separation is a normal part of a child’s development. Children learn to become comfortable with separating from their main caregiver if they have experience doing so in a range of situations and environments that are reassuring and positive.

Children can develop separation anxiety when they get distressed and anxious in a situation that means they need to leave their main caregiver. They might get upset by new faces, environments or situations that feel are uncomfortable, unsafe or that they are unsure of.

Separation anxiety can be triggered by a change in routine, an event that has occured, sensing worry or anxiety from their care giver or high emotions linked to the environment that they are in.

The intensity and timing of separation anxiety can vary a lot from child to child and situation to situation. Lily and Peter's parents feel that although they have tried to keep the routine the same for Lily she is naturally sensing their sadness and is displaying separation anxiety after not seeing her mummy for 4 days.