M.M. asks from Spring, TX on October 11, 2010
Stranger Anxiety- 4 Months
My 4 month old seems to have developed stranger anxiety suddenly. He was fine a few weeks ago and now does not like new faces. He cries if someone he does not know even looks at him. He only wants myself or my husband to hold him. He starts crying if people look at him or talk to him. It seems really strange to me. We have had him around lots of people, but during the week he is at home with the nanny.
I am looking for activities to expose him to more people. Any ideas for a 4 month old? Have you guys experienced stranger anxiety with your children at such a young age?
J.D. answers from Dallas on October 12, 2010
Completely normal! It will change over time.
You say he was around a lot of people early on and this can make things a little more intense. Babies can get sore from being passed around and may associate a group of people with this pain. They also get really tired and too much stimulation can irritate. He is just telling you he wants his comfort zone which is the people he knows daily and that is ok.
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J.L. answers from Minneapolis on October 11, 2010
This is totally normal for a baby this age. Don't knock yourself out. The baby will outgrow this phase. At this stage, all they care about is the mom and dad...everyone else can take a hike. I think this is a natural protective mechanism that actually keeps babies "safe" from stranagers. On a very simple level, they're alerting you that someone other than you is near them.
Sometimes babies this age don't like glasses, or people of different ethnicities, old faces, bald heads...anything that doesn't look familiar. Totally normal. Don't worry about it.
R.B. answers from Dallas on October 12, 2010
My 5 month old twins started the same thing around the same age. I read it is a normal part of their development, and my pediatrician supported that. It means that they have developed a bond with you and your husband and know you take care of them. I also read this will go away within a couple of months and it will be lots of smiles for strangers!
A.K. answers from Dallas on October 12, 2010
Yes, my baby was just like that. He is now 16 months and is mostly over it. He still gets upset if someone he doesn't know well picks him up, but he's very social. He talks to everyone and touches people and will even get up in a stranger's lap. He just gets uncomfortable when people pick him up without an invitation from him. Likes to get close on his terms. He had major stranger anxiety from the first few months until he started walking, really. Once he started walking, I tried to give him a lot of opportunities to walk up to people and he got comfortable with strangers after that. I also never picked him up and comforted him when he was scared. I would just get down and hug him and tell him they were nice and such. Picking them up just encourages the fear.
K.H. answers from Dallas on October 12, 2010
Completely normal. He (and you) will experience various stages and phases, so this is just one of many to come. Right now, he is really just coming into a cognative ability of choosing who he's comfortable with. Putting a 4 month old baby into activities to expose him to more people would cause anxiety and raise harmful stress levels. Your job ( and your husband's) is to nurture him and learn how to give him what he needs by considering his developmental phases and honoring them. Readress this if he's 5 YEARS old and having severe seperation anxiety then.