5 Months and Stranger Anxiety

Updated on November 14, 2013
J.M. asks from Melrose, MA
4 answers

I work one day a week requiring babysitter for 4 hours. Baby is breastfed and not great about bottles. She has screamed for about an hour each time and babysitter is so sweet, trying to do everything that might help. Last week, baby saw babysitter walk in and started screaming right away. She also did this at mall today when few people approached her. Ideas of what would help? She comes about 30 min before I leave and usually seems fine. I guess she wakes up from nap, gives a strange look and starts freaking out and nothing will calm her

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answers from Jacksonville on

Time will help. Something else that helps (over the long term) is to always be sure that your child sees you leave and that you are leaving the other person in charge. Sure, at 5 months, she doesn't know what it all means. But you will not do your child any favors if you eventually turn 'leaving while she's asleep napping' into 'sneaking out' so you don't have to see her cry. It undermines her trust if you sneak out.

The other issue is that this doesn't happen daily, so there is no routine for baby. For YOU, yes. You know that every (Tuesday? Thursday? whatever day of the week it is) the sitter will arrive and take care of baby for 4 hours while you go to work. Baby has no concept of the days of the week. If it doesn't happen every day, then it isn't routine.

So... time will help. Your demeanor can help some, too. Though it won't be enough to eliminate her anxiety completely. Separation anxiety is a normal developmental milestone. It means your baby recognizes that you are gone and she wants you back! She loves you! :)

She doesn't forget you when she doesn't see you. So she is upset b/c she can't see you.

I wish I had a magic potion, but sadly, there just is no such thing. Try not to sneak out on her.. hand her off to the sitter and tell her she will be fine b/c "so and so" is going to take care of what she needs until you get back just before dinner.
Over time... as she grows... things will get better.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Advice we got was, oh your baby will grow out of it.. UGH. Well he is 14 months and barely getting used to the same places we go to... Keep the same sitter, if ppl approach you at various places let them know your baby has stranger axiety/separation anxiety so when she does freak out in public etc. Oh, lady in charge of childcare at our church says play the game peek-a-boo, A LOT! It's supposed to help with separation anxiety. Does your baby have a "lovey" like a special blankie or toy? If not maybe get one for her, our son has a dog blankie from Target. Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I know this makes life really hard right now, but as far as your baby is concerned, it's actually a really good sign. She's demonstrating a secure attachment to you. This honestly is baby language for "You're the best mommy in the whole wide world."

The bad news is, there's not much you can do. As she gets older, you can do a big song and dance, "Yay, hooray, Jenny is coming soon, oh hooray, we get to see Jenny, it's a lucky day." You can also play peek-a-boo, which helps babies develop object permanence -- and realize that if you step outside, you'll come back.

But with a 5-month-old, honestly, it may be that all you can do is have the sitter come when she's awake, and then make the parting short, sweet, and simple. Even if you have to leave while she's crying. The sitter may have an easier time comforting her when you're not there.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

your child will grow out of it. i have 3 kids my middle always prefered me over my husband when he was a baby. i have been a SAHM with my kids. He was the only one that was like this. Once when he was about 5 mo. it really hurt my husbands feelings....as my son lurched out of his arms towards me.
now he is 9yrs old. when we go into a store out of 3 kids he is the one that is always right beside me.
this same son was leary of strangers as a baby but he grew out of it.

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