|Is there anything I can do to reduce the anxiety that my baby
experiences every time I leave him. It is so heart sore to
walk away from that crying face.
Helping your baby cope with separation anxiety is an important
life skill that he is going to need a lot in his life.
The first step is be very careful in the choosing of the
baby sitter. This person needs to be very, very patient
and kind to your baby. Make sure that they understand how
you would like them to handle the crying, and explain that
you want the baby to receive all the comfort he needs while
you are out, even though that may be quite tough and demanding
for the sitter. Arrange for the baby sitter to arrive about
half an hour before you are due to leave, so that the baby
can get used to her presence. Have them play a game together
while you are still there. Be completely relaxed if the
baby refuses to play with the baby sitter. Babies are very
clever, and it won’t take baby long to figure out
that getting engrossed in a game with the baby sitter is
a signal for you to go. However, if you set the game up
and discuss it in a fun way, the chances are that the baby
will play with the baby sitter after you have left.
Try not to leave baby when he is tired or grouchy. It is
worth an extra bit of nap time to try and make him less
miserable at the time when you leave. If he is sick or off
colour, and you are obliged to go out anyway, then you will
have to accept that he will probably be very unhappy about
this. Resist the urge to slip out. He is likely to be so
unhappy and panic stricken if he suddenly finds that you
are gone and it’s unexpected. Instead, tell him about
ten minutes before you leave that you will be going out.
Accept his misery calmly, and cuddle him as much as he wants.
Tell him that you love him, and that you know he is unhappy,
but that you will be home again.
Even if he is really unhappy, make the leaving fun and
easy. Use a catch phrase like ‘see you later, alligator’
or make up one of your own. It is vital that you keep your
feelings of sadness and guilt well hidden, as baby will
spot any unhappiness on your part very quickly. Make a fuss
of baby with a kiss and a cuddle, and then leave without
drawing things out. Repeat that you will be back, and then
leave. Resist the temptation to pop back and check –
that will cause renewed sadness and also some confusion.
If baby is struggling with this problem, it may be worth
keeping outings short for the time being. It may be worth
phoning the sitter after an hour or so, and if baby still
hasn’t settled, then be grateful for the hour and
go home. Things will improve and it is not worth that much
Remind yourself that all too soon baby will be all too
happy to leave you and you may long for these days when
you were the centre of your baby’s world and he really
wanted you to know that!
Seperation anxiety - Reason