Separation anxiety in babies is nothing but a deep feeling of getting alone or to be left alone. The only thing we are afraid of in this lifetime is to be alone. No one wants to be alone. We all need a shoulder to rest upon and your baby is no different, since birth, his world revolves around you. You are the one he looks after opening his eyes in the morning and you are the one in whose arms he dozes off. The strings have gotten so strong that whenever he doesn’t find you near him, a sense of loss, fear, and deprivation seeps into him. It is more apparent at the age of 9 months till 18 months.
Symptoms of separation anxiety in babies
There is absolutely nothing to worry about as it is one of the developmental milestones your baby has achieved. The situation is not very welcoming as he may get exhausted due to the following:
Disturbed Sleep Pattern
You may observe that your baby may wake up more often than before just for the assurance that you are near or around him. In your absence, he will panic and it will be difficult to put him back to sleep. The sleep won't be uninterrupted. This may cause separation anxiety in your baby.
You may witness that your baby cries when he is left with some unknown person or at times even to known people as he yearns just for you in particular and no one else. He will cry nonstop and won't shush unless you hold him or cuddle him close to you.
Shouting and Screeching
Your baby may shout when he is left alone in a room or an area for even a minute or two. You may also witness a change in his behavior with a temperament to be held by you and wouldn’t allow anyone near you. That is a real sign of separation anxiety in your baby. He will be more grumpy and clingy towards you.
Throwing Toys and Tantrums
As a sign of separation anxiety, your baby needs you to play with him or with his toys or any game. If you are not around, he may throw his favorite toy out of anger or fear and later will throw tantrums by avoiding eating or listening to you. He may not look at you directly as you have committed an offense of not playing with him.
All the above-mentioned points will convey you that your baby is going through a phase of separation anxiety. It is also indicative of the bond that you share with your baby. Though he may not speak at this age still his actions and reactions may very well speak of his state.
Cause of separation anxiety in babies
Since birth, you will find an upward growth pattern in your baby. The growth is not just restricted to the body but it applies to the brain as well. By the time your baby is 8-9 months old he can recognize the touch, face, smell of the people by whom he is surrounded with. Whenever he finds new unknown faces or doesn’t find you near him, it induces a feeling of panic and fright. This distress of losing you causes separation anxiety.
Dealing with separation anxiety in babies
Anxiety gradually fades away over a period of time but there are better ways to deal with it in the following manner:
Understanding the baby cycle
Your baby feels distressed when he is sleepy, tired or hungry. Thus make sure to be around during this time.
If you are planning to go back to work then try to be consistent with your presence near your child. Let the caretaker be around him for that period.
It is essential that apart from you, the baby must be more familiar with the caretaker so that he may depend on the caretaker when you are out.
Follow a routine of a kiss or cuddling or feeding before leaving so that he knows it is time for you to go out. A bye is also a great way before leaving.
Stick to the Clock
Your baby has an inbuilt clock within him; he constantly looks for you at that time. Make sure to be with him by that time as it gives him assurance and satisfaction.
Spend Quality Time
Once you are back, embrace him in the warmth of your love, cuddle him and spend time to his heart’s content. Take him to the park or for a walk and make sure to feed him to shun off his distress and anxiety.
Conversation or Bedtime Story
Your baby doesn’t speak but babbles a lot during this time. Don’t avoid him and listen to him attentively and you too converse with him. This will only strengthen your hearts connection. If possible try a bedtime story routine where you cuddle him and read a story animatedly which he looks forward to every night.
It is just a phase which would pass as he grows up, until then enjoy the period of love, possessiveness and the cuteness of your little kid.