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Does Your Baby Have Separation Anxiety?

Don't worry, it's not always a bad thing. Here's what you need to know about infant separation anxiety

by: Elizabeth Pantley

In This Article
    

I

f you leave the room and your baby cries as if you’ve left the country, she may be suffering from separation anxiety. First of all, don’t worry that you’ve somehow spoiled her–nothing you’ve done has “made” your baby act this way. It’s a normal and important developmental stage and nearly all children experience separation anxiety between the ages of seven and 18 months.

What is separation anxiety?

The development of separation anxiety demonstrates that your baby has formed a healthy, loving attachment to you. It is a sign that your baby associates pleasure, comfort and security with your presence. It also indicates that your baby is developing intellectually (in other words, she’s smart!). She has learned that she can have an effect on her world when she makes her needs known and she doesn’t have to passively accept a situation that makes her uncomfortable.

But she doesn’t know enough about the world yet to understand that when you leave her you’ll always come back. This stage, like so many others in childhood, will pass. In time, your baby will learn that she can separate from you, that you will return, and that everything will be okay between those two points in time. Much of this learning is based on trust, which, just as for every human being young or old, takes time to build.

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