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Separation Anxiety-a Stage in Development

You’re spoiling her.

She needs to get used to it.

Crying is good for their lungs.

She has to get used to not being with you.

As a mom, these are some of the things I hear from well-meaning family and friends. My daughter is about to be six months old, and we have reached a new stage in her development: self-identity. She’s learned that she is autonomous of me, that she is her own person, and has begun to develop her own preferences in the world. With this newfound independence, separation anxiety has also begun.

We were pretty social from the beginning. With both sides of her family in San Diego, my daughter Sophia has been around pretty much everyone since the day she was born. We’ve even had family visit from San Francisco! She had been an easygoing newborn, and was sweet about anyone carrying her.

Recently though, separation anxiety has kicked in.

separation anxiety

She’s still sweet with family and friends, as long as I’m within reach. If you try to take her out of mama’s arms though, be prepared to hear a high-pitched scream. My girl has a set of lungs.

As someone who studied child development, I understand this stage. It’s a normal part of development, and a sign that she’s growing in the right direction. For others though, it sometimes comes off as personal.

Some people think I need to leave my daughter with them without me, some think I need to just let her cry it out, and some people think I’ve spoiled my baby by holding her too much.

I know all of the feedback I get is with good intentions, so I try to take each comment with a grain of salt. As long as Sophia’s dad and I are on the same page, that’s where it really counts because we are her parents. We know the difference in her cries, and can tell when she’s tired, frustrated, and truly scared. She has a very distinct “I want mama” cry, and when we hear this, in mama’s arms she goes. As her parents, we agreed that when she cries, it is for a reason, and if we know why and how to help her, we will. Its hard sometimes, because it goes against some generational and cultural beliefs with our families.

Our daughter is well cared for and loved. She may be spoiled, but with attention and affection, and that is something I will never be sorry about. She may also not want to held by you, and that is okay.

It doesn’t mean she doesn’t like you, it just means she’s learning about her world and figuring out what she wants and doesn’t want.

As her mom, I will be there to validate her feelings and wants, and as her advocate, will speak on her behalf. But it’s okay too, because she will grow out of this. Babies need to grow, in all aspects of development. Sometimes it’s fun, like watching them sit up for the first time, or take their first steps. Sometimes we need a little patience, like getting through the first tantrum. It’s just one of those things we go through and grow with together!

Any mamas out there going through the separation anxiety phase?

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2 Responses to Separation Anxiety-a Stage in Development

  1. Brittany
    Brittany July 22, 2016 at 8:32 am #

    Thanks for sharing! This was such a tough thing to experience as first time parents! We didn’t go to church for almost a year because our first born daughter would scream until the nursery called us back. I swear I still get anxiety when I see a number pop up on the childcare board. Everyone gave us a hard time about it which just made it worse. They said she would be fine after we left but they had to call us every single time. Finally after she turned two, she started loving it. Our youngest daughter wasn’t as bad, but still went through it. Hang in there and just keep doing what you are doing!

  2. Xochitl
    Xochitl July 22, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

    I love this. I always felt bad for family during this stage. They loved the baby and the baby saw strangers.

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