You thought that pregnancy was the most difficult time of your life, didn’t you? Well, now that the baby is here, you will have some more areas of concern. One that we will talk about today is Baby Separation Anxiety.
Let’s get in to this article then, shall we:
Your baby is special just like all mothers consider their babies to be special. Everyone tries their best to ensure that the baby is safe, drinks milk, and grows up well. The most joyous moments for parents are when babies laugh and smile. However, you need to pay attention to the fact that toddlers do suffer from anxiety too. Parents world-over are worried about baby separation anxiety.
What is separation anxiety in babies?
You know that your toddler suffers from separation anxiety when they react in an uncontrollable manner if you do not appear in front of them. The way it manifests is worrying:
You may be playing with your child, one fine day, and everything is rosy. You need to make a quick call and decide to step out of your child’s view. Your baby who no longer sees you, will start crying and howling. The only way to comfort the baby is to hold and walk with her.
Babies experience separation anxiety when they are separated from their mum, or the one person that usually takes care of them.
There is nothing wrong with separation anxiety in babies. It is just a normal development stage in babies as they begin to grow and experience their world. It also validates the bond that develops between a parent and a child.
A baby has just begun to understand how people or things are around them. The small kid can get restless when they see that the one who cares from them is not present. It may also be the case that babies may get upset with the prospect of not having the parent present.
How do I know if my baby has separation anxiety?
The most common of the separation anxiety baby symptoms are uncontrollable crying when you leave. Some of the babies even develop the fear when you start saying goodbye. They do not behave well with other caregivers and only stop crying when you come back and hold them.
How long does separation anxiety last in babies?
Some of the babies experience anxiety as early as 6 months. The peak time for this is around 8 to 10 months. It is most common when the baby’s caregiver (either parent) leave the child to go to work. The good news is that it does not last forever. Babies grow up and as they begin to experience the world and connect with others, they will develop a bond with others apart from their mum or caregiver.
This is also driven a lot by culture. In the western world, it is common to leave the child at an earlier stage. In most parts of the world, a child is not separated from their main caregiver for at least 1 year. It is not proven if this has a great impact on how babies react to separation anxiety.
Babies can also experience separation anxiety at night, if they do not sense the parent with them or in the same room.
Whilst it does go away at the age of 2 years, it can reoccur when a kid is about to go to a nursery.
Lets now discuss how to deal with baby separation anxiety:
11 easy ways to deal with baby separation anxiety
Need to know how to overcome separation anxiety in babies. I have collected some of these tips from my friends and family members. I also reached out to a Google+ Community for their ideas. Lets go through some ways in which we can deal with this.
- Stay Calm and Confident – As a parent, you have to remain in control of your emotions. Do not be too stressed, as this will reflect in your actions and may further aggravate the problem.
- Delay the Separation – Essentially, you are trying to wait for the baby to outgrown of this situation and grow older. As mentioned earlier, in some cultures, at least 1 parent is always with the baby. This may not always be possible, but its worth a shot.
- Help the Child Associate with someone else – Leave the baby with someone that he or she already knows. Be it the other parent (most likely the dad), or a family member. If its a baby sitter, get them introduced to the baby much early. The baby may still cry, but it might make adjusting to the separation easier.
- Get the Baby accustomed to a Song – This tip came in from a friend of mine. She used to sing a song for the baby and the baby recognised the tune. When she went away, the baby sitter would sign the same song and it calmed the baby down.
- Make use of a Toy – Toys or something that the toddler can hold on to, like a blanket, is a good way for the baby to connect with something in your absence. Get the baby used to one toy and keep it with them even after you leave.
- Get your Schedule Right – The right time to leave the baby is when she is taking a nap or is fully fed. This might mean that you need to get your timing right, but it will prove to be beneficial.
- Play the Leaving Game – One way to get used to baby separation anxiety, is for you to let the baby play the leaving game. If the baby can crawl, let her go crawling away and you should avoid being seen. Follow the baby from a distance and give the baby some time, before you go and collect her.
- Play ‘Where’s the Baby’ – A slight variation of the above, is the most commonly played ‘Where’s the Baby’. When you either close your eyes or your baby’s eyes, you are out of their sight for a small moment. Slowly increase this time, so that the baby can get used to not seeing you.
- Say Goodbye in Style – Make the goodbyes mean something. The baby will treasure it if you kiss or hug your baby before you leave. Be firm, calm, casual and loving.
- Don’t Show up during your absence – Leaving your crying baby might be tougher on you than the baby. But making repeated trips to visit the baby will not help. Don’t sneak back, but only return when intended to. Else the baby will not get used to the new caregiver.
- Practice makes Perfect – Try out any new method for some time and see if the baby gets used to the pattern. Don’t feel bad to change the pattern to something that works for your baby.
Which of the above options work for you? Do share your ideas and tips in the comments section below. Also feel free to share this post with your friends who have to deal with baby separation anxiety.