There was a time when you couldn’t imagine being a step away from your gorgeous little newborn baby. Going from carrying them for 9 months to be handed this little being that is 100% utterly dependent upon you for their survival, an unbreakable bond forms between parent and child.
For the first few months of life, your baby will believe that you and he are one. It is when your baby is approaching around six months of age that they suddenly realise you are two separate beings and you are capable of leaving him. Whether it is just to duck to the loo, to take a shower or even grab some food from the fridge, your baby sees this as possible abandonment. Explaining why all of a sudden they lose their minds once you leave their sight.
Until they are old enough and have gained the knowledge and trust that yes you will return, separation anxiety is just another developmental stage to work on through.
To get through, here’s our 5 tips to dealing with separation anxiety.
- Always say goodbye when leaving
As hard as it is, and sneaking out may seem the easier and preferred option, always say goodbye to your baby when you are leaving them. They will eventually learn that you will return.
- Keep it short and sweet
You may think that lavishing extra attention on your baby before you leave may help to reinforce your love for them, but this can exacerbate the situation and make your leaving all the much harder. Keep it short, sweet, give them a kiss and wave goodbye, then make your exit.
- Don’t let them see your anguish
Leaving your baby for the first time can cause as much anguish for mum and dad as it does for bub – just don’t let them see. Be positive when around your baby – crying and being anxious around them will only cement their idea that the situation is a negative one.
- Prepare your baby
Even if your baby is young, discuss their day ahead of time so they know what to expect and your departure is not a sudden surprise. Be positive and encouraging so they see the event as a positive one. Through this phase, try not to spring surprises on your baby – prepare them, and yourself as much as you can.
- Take a breath
Remember it is just one stage of many and they will grow out of it! By the time babies generally reach toddler phase of 2 ½ years of age, they are coming out of their separation anxiety issues. Those who continue on with extreme separation difficulties may need to seek additional help.
Just like feeding, teething and sleeping, separation anxiety is just a phase – and while it may seem like forever, it too will pass. Before you know it they’ll be flouncing out the door as a pre-teen and you’ll be wondering where your needy child got to…