Separation Anxiety: Latest Tips for New Parents

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Separation Anxiety

separation anxiety

Nearly all babies experience some degree of separation anxiety. It is a natural occurrence in all creatures, not just humans. A baby who is naturally defenseless would need to know that s/he is safe, cared for and protected at all times. When mom walks away, the baby can naturally get upset and worried. This stage is frustrating to both the baby and the parents or caregiver. The good news is that it will pass and there are solutions for separation anxiety to help make it more manageable.

When does separation anxiety occur?

Separation anxiety can begin as early as 6 or 7 months, but generally speaking the crisis age tends to be between 1-2 years old. Separation anxiety can occur at night, when mom or dad leaves the baby in the crib for hours, but it commonly occurs during the day when they leave to go to work, or run an errand.

How does separation anxiety differ amongst cultures?

Generally speaking, Western societies tend to push for autonomy at an early age. In other countries, babies are seldom separated from their mothers for the first year and in some countries it's commonplace to breastfeed up to 2 years. Certain elements of attachment can be frowned upon or even not allowed in public in many Western countries, whereas it would be absolutely normal in China.

What are some solutions for separation anxiety?

1. If your baby is feeling anxious or frightened, you should minimize the amount of time your baby is separated from you, and it's important that your baby always knows that s/he is protected and cared for. Remember the stage of separation anxiety will pass.

2. If you absolutely must leave your baby alone, perhaps while you go to work, etc., then try to leave your baby with someone familiar, such as father, grandparent or close relative. Even if your baby cries when you leave, it will be better than leaving him/her with someone that s/he doesn't know.

3. If you have no choice but to leave your baby with someone they are unfamiliar with, then it's best to try and spend time with this person and your baby. This can allow your baby to become more familiar with the caregiver while you are still present.

4. There has been considerable enthusiasm and measurable results using the Miracle BabySleep System audio track, which accurately simulates the sound of the womb to calm your baby and help him fall asleep without stress. Using this technique has been shown to help with separation anxiety because your baby recognizes the sound of the womb and thus remembers how safe and protected he is.

How can I prepare my baby when I leave?

Transition. Ask the caretaker to arrive early, at least 1/2 hour before you leave. This can help allow your baby to get used to the caretaker and engage with him/her while you are still present. This same approach can be used at a daycare center or anyplace where you will be leaving your baby. Always say goodbye. A short moment of kissing and hugging is good. Tell him where you are going and when you will return. Don't sneak away, however, because your baby may get more upset if you suddenly have disappeared.

No drama. Remember your baby can feel your emotions, so when you leave make sure that you're not over-dramatic about it. If your baby starts to cry, counter it by keeping it light and make sure to display enthusiasm for the nanny or caregiver, who will probably tell you later that your baby stopped crying just after you left!

Once you leave, keep going. Don't make repeated trips back into the house, it only serves to sustain the aggravation for everyone involved.

Ease into it. Separation anxiety can be managed in gradual increments. It may be best to start with 30 minutes the first time, then building each time until you can feel comfortable staying away for hours at a time.

Separation Anxiety at Night.

You're much better off if you can get your baby to calm and fall asleep BEFORE laying her down in her crib and leaving the room. Establishing a routine about an hour before bedtime where you are there, calm and nurturing is ideal. If your babies wakes and cries after you've put her to bed, it's ok to go back to her, to make sure she is ok and also to reassure her that you're nearby. Here's an interesting tip: Make sure your visits are uneventful and actually boring. You'll find that she'll begin to fall asleep quicker due to lack of activity.

The Miracle BabySleep System CD or MP3 can again be helpful here. In the package is an additional CD that is meant to be played in a different room (i.e., the living room, etc) during the cuddle time – 1 hour before bedtime. Chances are good your baby will fall asleep during the first CD while you are with her, and then carrying her into the baby's room, (where the main CD is playing), there's a good chance your baby will remain asleep during the transition, thereby greatly minimizing the possibility of your baby's separation anxiety.

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