We recently left our 5-month-old daughter with trusted friends overnight. We were so worried about how she'd react, but our friends said she was fine the entire time. Don't babies experience separation anxiety when they're away from their parents?
- Allia and Chris
The first time you leave your baby with a babysitter is likely to be harder on you than it is on your child. As long as their needs are being met, most babies younger than 6 months adapt pretty well to other caregivers.
Most babies start to have separation anxiety when they're 8 to 12 months old, with it peaking between 1 and 2 years of age. Separation anxiety usually happens once a baby grasps the idea of object permanence — that there's only one of you and when she can't see you, you've gone away. What causes the anxiety is that she doesn't understand when and if you'll come back. Playing games like peek-a-boo can help her learn that you will return after you go away.
Separation anxiety is a common developmental stage, and your baby will probably go through it sooner or later. Until then, be glad that her first time away from you was safe and enjoyable.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: May 2015
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|American Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.|
|Separation Anxiety Teary and tantrum-filled goodbyes are common with separation anxiety, which is a perfectly normal part of childhood development.|
|How Can I Help My Toddler With Separation Anxiety? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias Experiencing and dealing with anxieties can prepare young people to handle the unsettling experiences and challenging situations of life.|
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