13 answers

Severe Seperation Anxiety in 6 Month Old

Does anyone have any suggestions for overcoming a severe case of seperation/stranger anxiety in a 6 month old girl? My daughter will not allow anyone other than myself to hold her (including daddy) and cries the entire time I leave her with grandparents. I leave her with a grandma 2 days a week for 5 hours for work, and she cries for 2 1/4 stretches with a short stretch in-between, since she was 8 weeks old. she doesn't seem to "learn" from it and reduce the crying, and her anxiety seems to be building. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Thank you so much everyone for your words of wisdom - here is a litte more information about us, as some of you requested, maybe someone can help me see where I've gone wrong or where I can make a change for the better. I work full-time in an executive level position in marketing - however I work from home every day except for two days a week, for four hours, when I go into the office for meetings, etc. I do not have a nanny, I care for my children exclusively by myself during the day, daddy gets home at 4:00 pm each day. I do the bulk of my work during their naptimes and after they go to bed at night, but remain available to my co-workers during the day via email, telephone and IM. I use a sling every single day, for many hours a day for the baby, and often my toddler also climbs in when she's down for a nap. I exclusively breastfeed, and I'm just starting to introduce solids. One or more of the grandparents come by almost every day to play with our toddler, so she sees them all the time. Do you think it is possible that I've been holding her too much? That is counter-intuitive to me - but I am really starting to blame myself for this situation, feeling like I've created some kind of defecit in her due to giving her too much attention. Any additional thoughts would be so appreciated!

Featured Answers

It is hard to say this but a baby usually cries a lot when you first leave her, but for the next 20 minutes she should stop if the person is not a stranger like daddy or grandparents. This is the hard part, the babymight not lke them because there might be something going on that you don't know about,that the baby don't like. So be suspicious of anything, seek help from a doctor or social worker which knows a lot about child development to help you deal with the problem. Be carefull you are the only person that baby trust.

More Answers

You don't say how much time you are spending with her when she's not with Grandma.
My daughter also went through a phase here and there where she only wanted me. Now she only has those moments once in a while. My son, only was like that when he was an infant but was pretty happy go lucky from about a year on. I was more emotional leaving him than he was of me leaving.

At 6 months old, your daughter is not old enough to learn anything from this situation. She is acting out of pure need and it's perfectly normal. (although having seperation anxiety from two months old is not usually the normal onset) She needs more of your time. When you're not working, try to spend more time with her, get a sling so you can wear her with you when you are home. It seems as though her crying for 2 hours+ plus at such a young age that she is missing you, terribly.
These are a few links in regards to seperation anxiety and a few tips to help.

2 moms found this helpful

I was in a similiar situation with my younger son. When I started school, he went to his grandmother's on Friday for a few hours. He would spend that entire time crying and wouldnt eat at all. I fixed the solution by taking pictures of everyone and put them in a book that we read often as well as hung pictures in his room so when he laid in bed he could see all the pictures. Your daughter is attached to you as you are the main person she depends on for her necessities. Another solution you could try when you do go to grandmas is let your child warm up to grandma and her father feeding her. Something could have caused her to feel she can only depend on you. So the next time you hold the child and have grandma/dad with the bottle and allow them to feed her. In no time, the child will become dependent on others feeding her. Hope this helps!

My daughter was like that too.
my neighbors watched her at about 2 1/2 months once and she cried the whole time. they said we were spoiling her, but how can you spoil a 10 week old baby.
daddy could never console her either just me.
she is almost 3 now and finally doesn't insist that i do everything for her. we finally had to lay down the line either daddy helps or you don't get it or cannot go. she responded pretty good. before this age though there was nothing we could do she didn't understand and could cry for hours with out stopping.
the day care said she wouldn't even let them touch her or hold her it would make her cry harder.(that was at 10 months old) they also insisted that i say goodbye to her instead of sneaking out which i know they say is wrong but she would just get so so so upset when i would leave her with daddy i would sneak out and she would do better that way.
i wish you luck and even though it seems like a long way away
it gets better at 2 and then much better at 2 1/2

I think its sad I am reading tons of ways to drop your child that you choose to have on other people to raise. If you choose to have a child, then why are we shoving them off on other people? I have 2 children, and lived poor for years till they were in school, and now I work 6 hours per day. I pick my children up and drop them off. Nobody raises my kids but me and my husband. My husband works 2 jobs to keep us in our new beautiful home and me part-time so I can be a full time mom and wife to my family. Quit renting your kids out!Think America, why have kids for others to raise! So you can have more materialistic things? Thats what you are teaching your children, that your possessions are more important than your children. Good for you!

My little did this as well. We still have times when she wants no one but me, usually when I have been gone for part of the day more then one day in a row. She finally has attached to a transitional object, in her case a blanket that is silky on one side and fuzzy on the other. I have had other foster kids that had similar issues and we found once they had an object they could love it helped. Does she have a stuffy or blanket to love while your away? Good luck.

I don't have advice, but I AM in the exact same situation and have been since she was born. She doesn't EVER let my husband hold her, so I have to do all the feedings, baths, waking up early. No one can watch her, so there is no break! I know how you feel so I hope you get some good advice I can use as well. I just always think...someday she'll grow out of it. she can't be 16 and still screaming her head off around people. :)

Hi E.:
Can you give us a little more info?Like...Do you take your baby to Grandmas? or does she come to your house to sit?Have you ever had anyone else sit?How much time does dad spend with her?It would really help to know a little more.thank you J.

I hate to tell you this but all you can do is to make sure she is feeling secure with you and wait it out. This isn't something she can control. She can't reason it out because, at six months and for quite a while to come, she's not yet intellectually capable of reasoning it out. She just knows how she feels. She WANTS MAMA!!!

Probably the best thing you could do for all of you right now is be sure that everyone involved in her care is only reacting lovingly to her even when it's SOOOOO hard when she's crying all the time at this point. She's NOT rejecting anyone really. She's simply acting her age. You all have to remember that she's going to feed off of all of your reactions.

If it continues for a long time past when separation anxiety is "Supposed" to be over (remember how all the timelines we're given are not necessarily applicable to any individual child) I would consider having her checked out for sensory input problems but it's probably good old fashioned separation anxiety.

Good luck and just remember to love her and let her KNOW it.


Hi E.,
I have a few thoughts for you...
1. Take some time and really look into your own body mind about your guilt and fear about leaving your child. Your own seperation anxiety, Did this happen to you as a child? Your tone, feelings, state of mind, translates to the child. If this is true for you, then find a way to come to peace with it, be confident and loving with your child completely at peace with leaving her with whoever you choose, knowing that she is going to be just fine. This has to be your tone your energy not just your words, it will take time to clean up the past.

2. You must be totally sure that the person your leaving your child with is really caring for your child in a loving manner. That means Grandma as well, what is her history, is she kind, loving and patient. Don't fool yourself for family or free child care, you will pay for it in a much bigger way if you stick your head in the sand.

Good Luck

I'm a gramma and have been with my granddaughter on a regular basis since she was born. Even though she is still quite young (is she sitting up unaided yet?), there are so many things to divert her attention from "mommyitis" that gramma can do. For example, as soon as you leave gramma should take her outside and look at the leaves on the trees, the flowers blooming in the gardens, and push her in a stroller for a walk all the while talking to her. Ask her opinion, tell her what you are doing, occupy her mind and she'll forget all about you. Change activities and have her pull things you've collected in a paper bag like a piece of cotton or a ball or ????. It's a fun activity and she should be able to do it. I keep my granddaughter busy every second. We go on the computer now that she is older, she loves to go to the park, take the dog on a leash. There's so much ahead. Also, is she hungry? Maybe she's old enough to try tasting different fruits or are you breastfeeding? She really is young and maybe she is confused with all of the transferring around and the anxious mornings of hurrying to get ready and leave. Try getting up earlier and enjoy a more peaceful morning alone with her at home. Good luck. She will stop crying. She has her reasons for crying--maybe it's fear, confusion, or who knows (a stomach ache, constipation, ask your pediatrician). Good luck. Tell gramma how lucky she is as her little infant will soon be learning how to sew, cook, scramble eggs, help in the yard, and teach her how to be a butterfly and a ballerina. You are all so lucky!

She doesn't "LET" Daddy hold her? My kids have all cried when Daddy has held them, but I just hand them over more frequently and they cry it out. Daddy assured them that they are safe and very much loved. They can still hearmy voice and I come up frequently and kiss them on the head. So far, when we drop them off at my parent's home, they simply say, "Bye," and give us a kiss and hug. They've never had any babysitters beside our parents.

When we dropped our 3 year old off at Pre-school, the kids were freaking out, screaming through the bars, holding on to their parent's legs. My son looked at me puzzled and said, "Don't forget to pick me up." I told him I wouldn't.

Have you tried to leave a shirt with her that smells like you? This seemed to help my son.

It is hard to say this but a baby usually cries a lot when you first leave her, but for the next 20 minutes she should stop if the person is not a stranger like daddy or grandparents. This is the hard part, the babymight not lke them because there might be something going on that you don't know about,that the baby don't like. So be suspicious of anything, seek help from a doctor or social worker which knows a lot about child development to help you deal with the problem. Be carefull you are the only person that baby trust.

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