(Closed) 8.5-month-old has really terrible Separation Anxiety

posted 5 years ago in Babies
Post # 3
1018 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2010

Hi PandasWifey, I am not a mom yet, but I have 10+ years of experience with caring for young children, so I am not completely unqualified to offer some advice.


First of all, developmentally this is very normal. Obviously every child is different, and some will experience this much worse than others, but it is normal, even as it is frustrating!


There is really no “cure” for this other than time, but there are things you can do to make separation easier on your LO. For starters, “sneaking around” might work in the short term, but it can actually make your child feel worse. They need to know that when you are there you are there, and when you are gone you will come back. By sneaking out when she is calm it can give her a sense of insecurity.


You didn’t really comment on this, but what are goodbyes like in your home? With a child that age it is really important to keep goodbyes short and sort of project your own confidence. Children totally pick up your insecurity, and a long, drawn-out goodbye makes it more difficult for both of you.


Finally, I would suggest just communicating to your child. If she is laying on the floor playing, for example, and you need to use the bathroom, explain it to her. “I am going to go the bathroom, and I will be right back.” She may cry when you are in the bathroom, but a little crying will not hurt her, and this is a good way to help her understand that while you will go away you will always come back– whether it is for 2 minutes or 2 hours.


I’m sorry you are going through this, but as long as her screams and cries get the response she wants– you staying, holding her, picking her up, not leaving her alone for a minute– she will continue to do this. Good luck!


Post # 4
140 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Hey PandasWifey, I can sympathize! It sounds like it’s been a rough time so far, and colicky until 5+ months is no joke!  It’s hard for me to say much without having been around your daughter in person, which is why I want to suggest finding other moms with babies the same age to hang out with.  I have a 12 month old, and I remember phases like this, but I’ve also know other babies who have been extremely difficult from the start.  My first guess is your daughter might just be super smart and advanced.  She knows what she wants, she knows you’re an important part of that, and she knows how to get it.  It should pay off in the long run.  That’s based on what I’ve seen with my friends’ babies.  She may calm down once she’s mobile and can do more on her own.  I don’t think you are doing anything wrong by holding her and picking her up.  It’s nearly impossible to be someone’s parent and not respond to their cries.  So yea… what’s your situation like as far as other moms as a support group you can talk to and can see your baby in person?

Post # 5
144 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Hi PandasWifey,

I can sympathize too! I have a 6.5 month old that sounds a lot like your daughter, with the exception of colic (Thank God!). I’m typing this while he’s in a carrier. I haven’t even left him with anyone to babysit, not even my mom, because he’s so demanding and I’m afraid that no one will be able to handle him. Right now he’s just getting to the point where he’ll play on his own but I have to be within sight. When my mom does come over and I go in the other room, he screams and cries. When he sleeps (we cosleep) I have to be next to him otherwise he wakes up and screams bloody murder.

I’m hoping he grows out of it real quick too! I told hubby that we’re not having another one till at least five years!

What has helped me get through the days (and I stay at home with him while hubby works 6 days a week so the days are LONG) is reminding myself of his good points and how before I know it he’ll be grown and gone so to appreciate him now as much as I can.

If you haven’t already, I recommend reading Dr. Sear’s The Fussy Baby Book: Parenting Your High-Need Child From Birth to Age Five. It definitely helped me in that it made me feel less alone and reminded me that there’s light (eventually) at the end of the tunnel.

Also, I just come to accept that he will just have to cry sometimes. While I still very frequently bring him in to the restroom with me or hold him with one arm while trying to get things done with another, sometimes I’m just like “nope kiddo. mommy gotta pee! you’re gonna cry for a bit so that mommy can take care of her needs!”

I also make sure to take him on walks since he’s content in the stroller. Having that hour or two where he’s NOT on me is a much needed break!

Sorry I don’t have an easy answer. I WISH someone will just say “yup, by this age he’ll be like the other infants you see” but I don’t think it works like that. He is the way he is and I just gotta roll with it.

Good luck!!!!!

Post # 7
1018 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2010

@PandasWifey:  I think you misunderstood what I meant, but if course you have to do what works best for you. My suggestion was not to take her every time, but to let her see you. If you are leaving to work in another part of the house say goodbye to her and go. The “sneaking” I was referring to is sneaking out of the room when she is distracted. My big point was that just because baby cries doesn’t mean you have to pick her up. Right now she knows that if she cries she gets what she wants. 


I hope you didn’t read my comments as an attack on your parenting. You have to do what works best for you. This is just what I have found to be helpful over the years. Good luck!


Post # 8
1158 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

My niece is 8 months old and I babysit her. She cries every time I leave the room too. I just do whatever I need to do and talk to her from whichever room I happen to be in. I started taking her to story time at the library so that she can interact with other kids her age and gain some independence. my kids are in elementary school now, trust me, it does get easier. She will become more independent and need you less. Enjoy this time. It flies by! Hang in there!

Post # 9
7770 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

I have nannied several babies and I have never known one that is okay with being left alone (or set down, without being entertained- even in a bouncer).  One baby would absolutely not allow anyone to set her down- ever.  It was exhausting.  Another baby was like that- so I basically wore him in a pack constantly.  Every baby is different.  When I was nannying a 2 year old girl her mother told her before leaving one night, “I will be right back!”  The little girl screamed and cried and would not go down for sleep because she was convinced her mother was “coming right back.”  It was such a nightmare!  Nothing I could say could convince her otherwise.


I think what you are experiencing sounds normal.  I would personally not sneak around the house.  Be there when you are there, be gone when you are gone.  Project confidence to little one.  If she is being watched by a wonderful person, you need to be confident in that, and I think eventually she will feel the same way.  I don’t know if I am helping at all, but I hope you find what works for you.


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