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  • Tuesday, June 03, 2008 12:49 PM | Marina

    Growth and Development

    Separation Anxiety

    What is separation anxiety?

    Part of a baby's normal development is learning that separations from parents are not permanent. Young babies do not understand time, so they think a parent who walks out of the room is gone forever. Also, they have not yet developed the concept of object permanence - that a hidden object is still there, it just cannot be seen. Without these concepts, babies become anxious and fearful when a parent leaves their sight. Separation anxiety usually begins around the age of 6 months. Babies may suddenly be afraid of familiar people such as babysitters or grandparents. Stranger anxiety is also common at this age, when they are fearful of unknown people. Separation anxiety is usually at its peak between 10 and 18 months. It typically ends by the time a child is 3 years old.

    What are the signs of separation anxiety?

    Babies experiencing separation anxiety fear that a parent will leave and not return. The fear may be worsened in the presence of a stranger. Typical responses of babies experiencing this normal phase of development may include the following:

    • crying when you leave the room
    • clinging or crying, especially in new situations
    • awakening and crying at night after previously sleeping through the night
    • refusal to go to sleep without parent nearby

    How can you help your child with separation anxiety?

    Children who feel secure are better able to handle separations. Cuddling and comforting your child when you are together can help him/her feel more secure. Other ways to help your child with separations include the following:

    • Comfort and reassure your child when he/she is afraid.
    • At home, help your baby learn independence by allowing him/her to crawl to other (safe) rooms for a short period of time by himself/herself.
    • Tell your baby if you are going to another room and that you will be back, then come back.
    • Plan your separations when your baby is rested and fed, rather than before a nap or meal.
    • Introduce new people and places gradually, allowing your baby time to get to know a new care provider.
    • Do not prolong good-byes and have the sitter distract your baby or child with a toy as you leave.
    • Introduce a transitional object such as a blanket or soft toy to help ease separations. 
    • For night awakenings, comfort and reassure your child by patting and soothing, but avoid letting your child get out of bed.

           Source: University of Virginia Health System



  • Tuesday, September 25, 2007 5:28 PM | Claire (Administrator)


    I'm a first time mom, completely happy with my beautiful daughter, but trying to cope with all the changes to my previously well planned and oganized life.  When I asked friends who had kids to tell me what it's like, they all gave me the glorious family life picture and I thought okay, I can do that. It will be great. 

    AND then... Baby arrives and it's not the glorious family picture that I imagined. It's not even close, and the weird thing is... the problem isn't the baby, it's the rest of the people around me, it's the fact that I'm not longer a great career woman, I'm no longer free to make my own choices and do whatever I want... I'm no longer the person I was and it's scary! 
    Coping with my new roles has been quite a challenge for me and coping with the new dynamics of my relationship with my husband (who in the first three months I wanted to throw off a bridge).  As much as they try, they just don't get it. They think that because they go to work, when they get home, they should have a nice dinner and then relax (because after all, we've JUST been with the baby all day)  we haven't been WORKING!!!

    Sometimes I think that when a woman has a baby, the husband should just go away for six months, this way mom can recover and take care of the baby without the addition of a much bigger, complaining baby.  Because the way I see it, a husband is just another baby

    Does anyone else feel the same way?

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