Picture this – your baby may have been the darling of the crowd, smiling at everyone and also going to pretty much anyone. But suddenly, she refuses to go to anyone, cries her lungs out when someone new offers to pick her up, or when she does not see either parent around when surrounded by strangers.
If this is something you are experiencing with your little one, chances are, your baby is going through an emotional developmental milestone, known more commonly as separation anxiety.
What Is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is simply, as the term suggests, a state of anxiety your baby experiences when being ‘away’ or ‘separated’ from you.
This will be a mixed feeling for you as a parent. It feels good to know that your baby turns only to you for comfort, but at the same time it can get a little peeving when you have to constantly carry and soothe your baby.
Separation Anxiety almost happens overnight and catches most parents by surprise. It can get difficult to deal
How Long Does Separation Anxiety In Babies Last?
Separation Anxiety can start anywhere between 6 to 7 months and can last up to 1.5 years of age.
The good news is that this is a passing phase and you should try and help your baby deal with it. Soon she will understand that even if she doesn’t see you or some special object for a while, it does not mean it doesn’t exist anymore.
Ways To Help Your Baby And You Deal With Separation Anxiety:
While separation anxiety is a natural way of growing up during the baby to toddler phase, keeping the following in mind will make this time a little easier on both you and your baby:
1. Don’t Leave Your Baby Alone:
If you live in a nuclear family where the only people your baby tends to see on a daily basis is her own parents, it will take a while for your baby to get used to someone new (even if they are the grandparents).
- When you need to step away from your baby for a short time, tell your baby what you’re going to do and that you will be back in 5 minutes.
- Escaping when your baby is not looking will only make her more uncomfortable and she will look all over the place for you, thus getting even more anxious.
- When you tell her you’re going away for a bit and you come back, she begins to understand, that when you say you will return you do.
- Slowly build on the time you take away from your baby for her to get over the anxiousness.
2. Leave Your Baby In Familiar Hands:
Though your baby may still throw a tantrum, she may adjust more easily to familiar faces.
- Reach out to family or friends who your baby sees regularly.
- This may not necessarily be possible for all, but try and leave your baby with familiar people, like grandparents, aunt, uncle or even a close friend.
- Let her play with them and let them feed her, all with you being in visible view of your baby.
- Seeing you around will only reassure her that you’re there if she really needs you, but that she is in good hands that you trust.
3. Be There To Soothe Your Baby:
While your baby goes through Separation Anxiety, there will be instances when your baby may be crying her lungs out. At such time, only you may be able to understand what she really needs and all she needs may just be a comforting hug from you.
- Do not hesitate to give your baby some extra hugs and kisses.
- Go with your motherly instincts and soothe your baby when she can’t stop crying.
- Knowing that you are there for her will further help her be calm around new people.
- You can then slowly follow the above methods to leave your baby with someone else.