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Separation Anxiety

Month 6, Week 4

Soon, your baby will become visibly -- and audibly -- upset whenever you leave her sight. It's separation anxiety.

It happens because she understands that you still exist when she can't see you, and her poor concept of time means that she can't wait for your return.

Here's how to ease separation anxiety:

  • Don't sneak out when she's with the babysitter. If you don't tell her that you're going, she'll worry that you could disappear at any time.
  • Don’t add to her worry by making your exit emotional. A simple “Bye, honey, I’ll be back soon!” is plenty of goodbye.
  • Remind your baby that when you leave, you always come back. Then follow through.
  • If you need to leave, try to do so when your baby has just eaten and napped. A tired, hungry baby is more likely to cry.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Your house is probably filled with the happy babbles of a baby who loves the sound of her own voice. She already understands the basics of conversation and realizes that how you say something can be significant.

Here's what else she's learning about language:

  • Your baby knows that she can get you to say something by talking. Continue to make sounds whenever she pipes up.
  • She's starting to use her voice to show that she's happy or sad, instead of relying on laughter and tears.
  • She repeats long chains of consonants, like “dadadada,” to practice making different phonetic sounds.
  • She begins saying things that resemble actual words, like “baba.”

Month 6, Week 4 Tips

  • If she's able, let your baby crawl into the next (babyproofed) room by herself for a moment or two, so she gets used to a little separation.
  • Having your baby spend scheduled time with a trusted, caring babysitter can help ease separation anxiety.
  • When the babysitter comes, don't draw out your good-byes or rush back in because you hear crying. You'll just delay the drama.
  • Remember: Within minutes after you leave, your baby will probably be having fun again.
  • Do you feel you're doing more than your share of housework and child rearing? If you have a partner, revisit who does what.
  • Don't feel guilty for going to work; focus on the evenings and weekends when you and your baby are together, and make the most of that time.
  • Got a bike? Baby is still too young to ride along until her first birthday. Even then, a towed child trailer will be a safer option.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on September 12, 2013

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