baby development

Has my baby got separation anxiety?

Things to look out for that your baby has separation anxiety and how to deal with it

Signs your baby’s got separation anxiety

How to know if your baby is suffering from separation anxiety

separation anxiety 474

It’s common for babies to experience separation anxiety and completely normal, however, it can be hard for parents to know how to help deal with a little one who gets panicky and upset when they’re not around. On a positive note, separation anxiety happens in phases. It won’t last forever and usually lessens as your baby reaches around two years old.

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What is separation anxiety?

Separation anxiety is when a baby gets distressed when separated from their main carers who look after them. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with your baby, separation anxiety is in fact proof of just how strong the bond is between you and your baby and how much they want you around.

When does separation anxiety usually happen?

It usually occurs first at around eight months and often subsides as your baby approaches their first birthday or soon after. However, it can reoccur on occasions around two years, once your baby becomes aware of their own independence.

What’s the cause of separation anxiety?

From around six months onwards, your baby will show signs of engaging more actively with everything around them including how to tell the difference between people – those closest to them.

Even if when they were younger they were happy for others to hold and comfort now, by this point they begin showing disapproval and you may begin to now see them crying with panic. This is normal as they are now aware the person holding them isn’t those with them most of the time, and they may fear that person isn’t coming back.

How can I help my baby get over separation anxiety?

Gradually start leaving your baby in someone else's care for a few minutes while you pop out of the room. It should be with someone they know well so they still feel comfortable and safe while you’re not there. Over time you could increase the time you are apart from them as they get more used to it.

Leave a comforter with your baby when you’re away from them, like a blanket or jumper that smells like you so they feel you’re still around. 

Always say goodbye in a positive way by smiling and waving confidently so they don’t pick up on your tension. 

Once you say goodbye, leave. Going back to check only makes it harder for your baby, you and the person looking after them.

Make short separations routine. A predictable short separation when baby learns that you’ll soon return, helps your child build trust and grows their confidence in coping without you.

As your little one reaches toddlerhood start talking to them about what you’ll do together later to reassure them you’re always coming back.

Has my baby got separation anxiety?