Posts Tagged ‘separation anxiety’

Help–My Baby Cries When I Leave!

Monday, October 5th, 2015

separation anxietyFor many babies, mommy is their favorite person. We nurture them. We nurse and feed them. We rock them. We come to them in their times of distress in the night. Babies just love their mommies. My son, Levi, prefers me over anyone most of the time. Lately, Levi has discovered that I’m not always around. He’s discovered strangers. He’s started showing signs of separation anxiety. 

Separation anxiety usually begins around 6-7 months of age. Babies start to realize that you are leaving, but they don’t understand that you will be back. Some babies don’t show much remorse when mommy or daddy leaves. Some lose their mind. My son Levi is 12 months. For the past couple months, he begins to cry and whimper when he knows I will be leaving. When I take him to childcare at the local YMCA, he is crying before I even sign his name on the line. If I leave the room and he is left with a friend or someone he is unfamiliar with, he cries for me.

Many children don’t show separation anxiety until 10-18 months of age. This can be even harder because toddlers want some control in their environment and they can cry and scream much louder and show their disapproval in a much more unpleasant manner. All of this is hard on mom.

Here are some tips on how to get through separation anxiety with your little one:

  • Get your baby familiar with other people. This one is hard for me. We live in an area where I don’t know many people and family isn’t close. Allow a babysitter, friend, or your spouse to spend one-on-one time with your baby to create a sense of security with other people.
  • Keep the exit short and sweet. When it’s time for you to leave, don’t stay around and keep talking to your baby. Say something like, “Bye, Levi! See you in a little while.” Then, leave. Don’t worry if your baby is still crying. I try to remind myself if Levi is still crying and unable to be calmed down, someone will come find me.
  • Reassure and redirect. If you are dealing with separation anxiety with an older baby or toddler, you can use your words to reassure them that you will be back. Create security with your child by giving them a hug and a high-five each day before you leave them. Give them something to look forward to as you head out the door.

I left Levi in the YMCA childcare one day this past week. For the first time ever, he didn’t cry when we arrived. He didn’t cry when I left him, and he didn’t cry the entire time I was gone. I was amazed. I am hoping he is getting more comfortable with mommy being gone.

The best part about leaving your baby for a little while is coming back to them. The smiles, wet, slobbery kisses and giggles make it all worth it. Separation anxiety is just one of the hurdles of motherhood we all face. Baby will be okay, and so will you. One day, our kids will run away from us when they see us in the parking lot looking uncool picking them up from school. Then we can all laugh about the tantrums and tears of separation anxiety.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two who lives, writes, and loves her babies in Northeast Indiana.