Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Separation Anxiety in Babies

My baby is now experiencing separation anxiety.  She cries whenever I leave her alone even if I am just going to the bathroom.  She is now 10 months old.  They say that it is normal for babies to feel this way.  Separation anxiety usually occurs around 6 to 18 months.  It is considered a healthy and normal phase of child development.  This also means that your baby has established a healthy bond with you and is developing intellectually. 

Separation anxiety is said to be related to the baby's developmental stage of object permanence (used to describe a child's ability to know that objects continue to exist even though they can no longer be seen or heard).  Just like when a baby learns that a person like mommy and daddy can disappear.  But unfortunately, your baby thinks that you have left him/her or that you disappeared for good and will not be coming back.  This is the point where your baby cries and separation anxiety comes in.  But don't worry.  Eventually, your baby will outgrow this behavior and he/she will learn that although you have disappeared from view, you will still come back.

Some signs of separation anxiety include: crying when a parent is out of sight, clinginess, strong preference of only one parent, fears of strangers, waking at night crying for a parent, and easily comforted in a parent's embrace. 

Tips on how to deal with separation anxiety:
  • respond to your baby's crying and distress (There are studies which claim that children who are repeatedly, regularly and consistently picked up and soothed when they cry end up crying less.);
  • play peek-a-boo or hide-and-seek games;
  • give your baby a familiar toy when you leave him/her;
  • when you are just inside your house doing chores, place the crib (also stroller or walker) where your baby can see you; and
  • when you leave, goodbyes should be affectionate and brief, with a clear statement that you will be back. 
To top it all, just consistently give your baby love and support.  In time, she will slowly build confidence to stand on her own. ^v^

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