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Separation Anxiety in Babies: What is it & How to Deal With It

Do you have a baby that screams and cries when you leave them at daycare or with a babysitter? If so, your baby may be experiencing separation anxiety. Don't worry; there are ways to help your baby deal with this anxiety. In this blog post, we'll discuss separation anxiety, its signs and symptoms, and how to help your little one overcome it. Read on for more information!

What is Separation Anxiety?

Infants are born with a natural need to be close to their caregivers. After all, they rely on their caregivers for food, shelter, and love. However, as they begin to grow and develop, they also start to gain a sense of independence. This transition can sometimes be a difficult one for babies, leading to something known as separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is a normal part of infant development and usually begins around six to eight months of age. Babies with separation anxiety may cry when their caregiver leaves them alone, even for just a few minutes. They may also refuse to sleep without their caregiver nearby or become clingy and unreasonable when apart. While separation anxiety can be challenging for both babies and caregivers, it is typically a temporary phase that will eventually pass. With a bit of patience and understanding, most babies will outgrow their separation anxiety and learn to enjoy spending time away from their caregivers.

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The Ages and Peak of Separation Anxiety

For many infants, separation anxiety starts at around eight months old. This is when babies start to become more aware of their surroundings and realize that they are separate from their caregivers. As a result, they may become agitated when their caregivers leave them, even for a short period. Separation anxiety typically peaks around 18 months old, although it can persist into the toddler years in some cases. Fortunately, there are a few things that parents can do to ease separation anxiety, such as establishing routines and spending time apart gradually. With a little patience and understanding, most children will eventually outgrow this phase.

Related Link: Newborn Cues: A Guide to Communicating with Your Baby

Separation Anxiety Signs

It's hard to believe that such a small person can have such big emotions, but any parent of an infant knows that babies and toddlers can experience separation anxiety. While separation anxiety can be tough for both parents and infants, it is perfectly normal and usually goes away on its own after a few months. If you're concerned about your infant's separation anxiety, talk to your pediatrician for guidance.

Signs of separation anxiety can include the following:

  • Clinginess
  • Crying
  • Refusal to eat or sleep when away from parents.

It can be tough to see your little one going through this, but there are some things you can do to help ease their anxiety. Spend extra time cuddling and playing with them when you're home, and create a special bedtime routine that includes a favorite book or toy. With a bit of patience and understanding, your infant will soon outgrow this phase.

 

Baby covering face

 

 

Overcoming Separation Anxiety

In Infants, separation anxiety is a normal phase that many infants go through. It usually begins around eight months old when the infant becomes aware of strangers and starts to realize that they are separate from their caregivers. This can be a stressful time for both the infant and the parent, but there are several things you can do to help ease the transition: 

  • Explain to your infant what is happening in simple terms. For example, "Mommy is going to work, but I'll be back soon." 
  • Reassure your infant that you will always come back. 
  • Give your infant a chance to adjust by gradually increasing your time away. 
  • Make sure your infant has a familiar object, such as a toy or blanket, to help comfort them 
  • Stay positive and calm yourself. Your infant will pick up on your cues. 

If you follow these tips, separation anxiety should eventually subside as your infant realizes that you always come back. In the meantime, enjoy the extra cuddles. 

Related Link: 8 Ways to Nurture a Curious Child: Stimulate Their Mind

 

Baby reaching out for mother

 

Others Caring For Your Baby

If you need to have someone else watch your infant, make sure the person taking care of them is someone that your baby is very familiar with and comfortable with. If your baby is uneasy around strangers, having a close family member or friend take care of them while you're gone is best. Stay in close contact with the person taking care of your baby. Regular check-ins on your baby will help ease your baby's anxiety and let them know that you're still thinking about them.

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Give Your Baby a Bedtime Routine

It's no secret that babies thrive on routine. Having a solid bedtime routine helps your infant wind down and prepare for sleep, which can help reduce separation anxiety. When it's time for bed, start by dimming the lights and turning off any screens. Giving your baby a gentle massage with lotion can also help your baby to relax. Feeding or rocking can also help to calm your baby. Lastly, spending some quiet time reading a book together before bed can help create a special bonding moment between you and your baby. By establishing a calming bedtime routine, you can help ease your infant's separation anxiety and promote healthy sleep patterns.

Related Link: Infant Social Development: Everything You Need to Know