All of us moms will go through infant separation anxiety with our breastfed babies at one time or another. It can be a source of frustration for many mothers.
How It Starts
When your baby is about 8 months old, this anxiety will begin to happen. You may be afraid how to deal with this anxiety. Don’t be. It will usually pass on its own as your baby gets older. You just have to get through this stage though.
It can be hard on you because your baby will cry after you more. You may even feel guilt when you have to be away from him, even when you just put him to bed.
Signs of Infant Separation Anxiety
Let’s list some signs of your baby’s anxiety:
- This can be something as simple as your baby no longer sleeping through the night. He wakes up and knows that mom or dad isn’t there and panics. He has no sense of how long you’ve been gone. He doesn’t know a day from a year at this point.
- Also, he may cry when you put him to bed at night or for a nap too.
- You may notice that your little darling doesn’t like you leaving the room when you are home. He may cry after you and you are only a few feet away in the next room. But since he can’t see you, he again panics.
- He may also be crying when you first go out and leave him with a babysitter. The babysitter usually can handle this simply but we will talk about solutions to this later.
- When you take him to daycare this anxiety can be quite a problem. He may hang onto you for dear life. It can be quite heartbreaking trying to leave and go to work during this.
- When your infant is sick, he does not ever like to be away from you. This is probably one of the symptoms of anxiety separation that never goes away.
It is not easy to be a parent through infant separation anxiety. You know you have to leave your child some for whatever the reason, yet the baby’s reaction makes you feel guilty for leaving. You’ll have to work on not letting this get to you. Remember this is a normal area of growth.
What You Can Do
When trying to deal with your infant’s anxiety there are some basic things you can do. One is just planning your periods of separation at the best time of day for your baby. After they have eaten, napped or when they are not sick. But let’s look closer at the things you can do:
1. Spend enough time with your baby to get him calmed down and back to sleep when he wakes in the middle of the night.
2. Before putting your infant to sleep at night, spend some quality time nursing him, rocking him or playing with him.
3. If he cries when you leave the room, talk to him and tell him you are going to the next room and you will be right back. You could try talking to him constantly so he could hear your voice while not seeing you. It may calm the anxiety. Slowly he will stay calm when you leave the room.4.Before going out and leaving him with the babysitter give him a few extra hugs and time. Then when the babysitter comes in have her/him distract your baby with a toy while you slip out the door. This will lessen his reaction to you being gone.
5. When you have to take him to daycare and he pitches a fit, you have to have one of the caregivers help you manage this one. Hopefully, he will get over his anxiety quickly. Hug him gently and explain that you will be back to get him. Then have the caregiver hold him while you leave.
6. When a baby or child for that fact is sick, he very seldom likes to be left by his parents or main caregiver. It is recommended that you do not leave the baby when they are sick unless you absolutely have to. He needs to know you will put him first!
Remember: It is Only a Stage!
This time of infant separation anxiety will truly try your patience my friend, but you like other moms can get through it gracefully with a bit of effort. Have patience with your baby while they go through this stage. Soon this stage will pass, I promise you, and you will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. All moms do!
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