Do babies have separation anxiety

Here's what you should do to get around baby separation anxiety

  • Separation anxiety is a perfectly normal process in a child's development and should be supported as much as possible by the parents.
  • In order to alleviate separation anxiety, parents have to show understanding, but also patience and assertiveness - without this, it does not work.
  • A slow start to the breakup is important to make the children feel safe. This is the only way to maintain trust and ensure that the children notice that a short-term separation is not a bad thing - after all, mom keeps coming back.

Separation anxiety in babies is a completely natural process that almost all parents go through. In this guide, we'll show you how to overcome fear of loss in babies and identify the causes that lead to separation anxiety.

Table of Contents

1. At 8 months, parents often experience separation anxiety in babies for the first time

Understand the child's psychology

Separation anxiety is a psychological effect. One has to understand this in order to understand that this phase is normal in every child's life.

Everything was fine for 8 months and suddenly the child screams when mom leaves the room or when it wakes up at night. This phase is completely normal and how long it lasts varies from child to child. In addition, the consequences of the parents also have an influence on whether and how separation anxiety is treated in babies. This phase rarely goes without tears, you should be aware of that.

But why does it take so long for these fears to emerge after the birth? We are all creatures of habit, we have our rituals and processes. In the first few months of life, the mother was almost always there and the child got used to itthat mom is within reach.

If mom and dad are there for the child from the start, this can reduce separation anxiety.

The older the children get and the less they depend on their mothers (for example, because they no longer breastfeed, but now dad can also give the bottle), the more often it is important to break away from the child for a moment. Only in this way can it learn that mom may leave, but also come back. Only when the child notices that the mother is coming back will it calm down again and put aside the fears that suddenly appear after the birth.

Tip: For some, the separation anxiety phase lasts until the child is 10 months old, for others up to 1 year. If you have patience and practice with your baby, this time will also pass.

2. The baby's fear of loss can also be overcome at night - albeit with a lot of patience

If the child was previously allowed to sleep in the parents' room or even in bed, the baby's fear of loss is understandable when it suddenly has to sleep alone in its room. After all, the mother-child bond is one of the most important bonds in life, and suddenly getting it out of sync can be a hugely dramatic experience for the baby.

Therefore, start carefully if you want your child to slowly detach itself from you while sleeping: If the child has slept in bed with you up to now, you should first put it in the cot next to your bed. If the child becomes very restless while sleeping, it will help to put your hand on the leg or arm. Then, if everything works so far, put the bed in the nursery and test how your child behaves there. If it is very restless, it can help if the mother stays with the baby for the first time until she falls asleep and then sneaks out of the room. It is often a long process, but cannot be solved in any other way in the long run.

3. Understanding the symptoms of postpartum anxiety is the first step in overcoming them

You can only overcome separation anxiety if you interpret the symptoms correctly. However, it is at least as important that you always give your child the feeling of security. For example, if you leave your child with your partner only with a bad feeling, the child will feel this - uncertainty and fears are inevitable.

The following symptoms can help tell if your child has separation anxiety:

The child screams as soon as mom leaves the room? Then it's time to practice!

  • Scream or cry as soon as you leave the room
  • Extreme restlessness on the part of the child - even when sleeping
  • The child may become restless when you leave the room, but calm down quickly when they hear your voice from the next room

There are, of course, countless other signs. Some Children react to this stress with stomach ache, diarrhea or even hiccups. Over time, however, you will get a feeling for whether your baby is really having separation fears at this moment or whether there are other causes that lead to crying and screaming.

Advantages and disadvantages of clear separation anxiety reactions in the baby

  • Parents can react quickly and find it easier to differentiate between symptoms of separation anxiety and symptoms of illness.
  • A clear reaction often reflects the behavior of the parents. Most of the time, the mothers have just as much fear of separation as the baby (often even after the death of a child) - and then become aware of it.
  • Even if the phase can be annoying, it shows that everything is going right in the child's development. If a baby has no fears, this can indicate that something is wrong (for example, if the baby does not even see mom leaving the room).
  • The reactions can be really tough on the parents' nerves and it takes a lot of patience, understanding, but also assertiveness. It is now a matter of sensitivity!
  • Often the partners suffer because the mother does not want to see the separation anxiety from the baby and blame the partner because the baby “does not seem to be comfortable with him”.

4. Important questions and answers

My baby only experiences separation anxiety while babysitting. What to do?

The child has to get used to the babysitter slowly - take your time!

The babysitter issue in particular needs to be approached slowly and carefully. Do not suddenly leave your child alone, instead invite the babysitter to your home several times before you are actually gone for several hours. Again, it is one just a matter of getting used to and a babysitter is usually a stranger to begin withhow is the child supposed to get a feeling of security?

Are there any tricks that can help with separation anxiety?

Little trickscan help alleviate symptoms of separation anxiety and make them disappear over time:

Do not rushContinue to convey security
Do not sneak out of the room, but make sure that your baby sees you consciously at the beginning (and you are only in the other room).Sometimes the sweater with mom's scent is enough to make the child feel safer.
When children play, it is usually easier to leave for a short moment because they are not busy with their mothers anyway. But the same applies here: Don't sneak away.If the baby suffers from separation anxiety, the first separations should at least take place in familiar surroundings. This can also increase the feeling of security a little.
If the mother is anxious about separation, the child should at least have another trusted person around - not the strange babysitter on the first attempt!In the beginning a few seconds are enough, then minutes in which mom is gone. The child needs to know that she keeps coming back. Practice creates masters!
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Here's what you should do to get around baby separation anxiety
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Photo credits: Halfpoint / Adobe Stock, Finanzfoto / Adobe Stock, AntonioDiaz / Adobe Stock (sorted by order in the post)