Separation Anxiety

Month 6, Week 4

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

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

Here's how to ease separation anxiety:

  • Don't sneak out when they are with the babysitter. If you don't tell them that you're going, they'll worry that you could disappear at any time.
  • Don’t add to them 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 their own voice. They already understand the basics of conversation and realizes that how you say something can be significant.

Here's what else they are learning about language:

  • Your baby knows that they can get you to say something by talking. Continue to make sounds whenever they pipe up.
  • They are starting to use their voice to show that they are happy or sad, instead of relying on laughter and tears.
  • They repeat long chains of consonants, like “dadadada,” to practice making different phonetic sounds.
  • They begin saying things that resemble actual words, like “baba.”

Month 6, Week 4 Tips

  • If they are able, let your baby crawl into the next (babyproofed) room by themselves for a moment or two, so they get used to a little separation.
  • Having your baby spend scheduled time with a trusted, caring babysitter or family member 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. They have already forgotten about the drama that just took place (but may start up again if they see you run back in for something).
  • 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 their first birthday. Even then, a towed child trailer will be a safer option.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on March 20, 2020



American Academy of Pediatrics: "Developmental Milestones: 7 Months." 

Mayo Clinic: "Language Development: Speech Milestones for Babies."

Nemours Foundation: "Kids Health, Delayed Speech or Language Development."

Nemours Foundation: "Kids Health, Separation Anxiety."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Soothing Your Child's Separation Anxiety."

WebMD: "Baby's First Year."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Changing Family Roles."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Baby On Board: Keeping Safe on a Bike."

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