Baby Separation Anxiety- How You Can Help Parents Cope

Baby separation anxiety can be tough not only on parents, but on you, the provider as well.  Parent’s feel like they are abandoning their child as it screams and you dread having to practically rip the baby away from their arms.  Ugh.

Don't worry- it doesn’t last forever and believe it-or-not infant separation anxiety is not always a bad thing. I is a Newborn developmental phase.

Here are some things you need to know and can share with the parents:

  • It is normal!  And even though it doesn’t seem or feel like it, it is a NORMAL developmental stage. It shows the parents that their baby has created a healthy bond and a loving attachment with them. Their baby feels comfortable in the world the parents have made for them and they don’t like anything or anyone that makes their world uncomfortable. The baby is developing intellectually by associating pleasure, comfort and security in their presence! Most babies experience baby separation anxiety between the ages of seven and 18 months. It’s not because the parents have “spoiled” them or been over-protective. Most children experience this at one time or another!
separation anxiety baby

Let the parents also know that:

  • Their baby may be experiencing infant separation anxiety when they become really clingy, (like when they drop them off in your daycare home), the baby will cry when they leave the room, or they seem to be afraid of strangers- even people they see occasionally.
  • They can help their baby by playing simple games like peek-a-boo and hide and seek. The baby will see that mommy and daddy aren’t leaving them and they do come back!
mom with baby

Hard as this may be, ask the parents NOT to sneak out the door without saying goodbye to their baby. Parents should tell the baby “Mommy is leaving for work and will come and get you later!” As hard as it can be for mommy to go, she needs to do it sooner than later, and not prolong the goodbye or be crying and nervous about leaving the baby with you.

  • In time the parents will see that their baby will learn that they can separate from them, that they will return, and that everything will be okay.  Their baby is learning to trust them and their anxiety will fade away.

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