How to Deal with Baby Separation Anxiety

June 9, 2011 by Dennis Berry  
Published in Motherhood

A common complaint among new parents is that their newborn baby has separation anxiety issues. While this issue can be stressful, there are a few things you can do to help.

Many parents of newborn babies understand that baby separation anxiety is an often stressful situation. What many of them do not understand, however, is exactly what causes the anxiety and how they can deal with it.

Most of the time when a baby suffers from separation anxiety it is focused toward the mother. The reason for this is because the baby has spent almost a year inside the mother’s tummy. The baby knows her smell, The baby knows the sound of her heartbeat and the sound of her voice. Sometimes the baby seems to be able to simply sense that mom is around. The baby is soothed by these familiar sounds and smells. When mom has to leave to go shopping, or to go to work, the baby is not able to understand why her mommy is not near her. All she knows is that the familiar smells and sounds of mommy are gone. This makes her anxious and, often, fussy.

For the person left to care for the baby while mom is away this can quickly become a very stressful situation. The fussy baby can cause you to get aggravated and sometimes even give you a headache. Many times no amount of holding, cuddling or talking to the baby will do any good. There are, however, a couple thing that you can do to help ease the baby separation anxiety.

First, many parents find it helpful to record the sound of mom’s voice. Mom can sing or simply talk to baby. Try to capture enough of mom talking and singing to last a while. Record moms voice onto a tape or CD and play it for baby whenever the anxiety creeps up. You would be surprised how quickly the baby begins to hear and search for the location of the voice.

Secondly, wrap the baby in one of mom’s shirts. Contrary to popular belief, it does not have to be a dirty shirt. Even after washing mom’s clothing will still carry a trace of her smell. Wrapping the baby in the shirt or other clothing will allow the baby to smell her mom when she is not available to hold the baby herself. This usually helps to calm the baby and make her feel more comfortable.

Finally, babies love skin to skin contact. Even with dad. When your baby is missing her mom try stripping her down to her diaper and hold her against your bare chest. Not only will the baby love the comforting feel of your skin against hers, but she will also be able to hear your heartbeat.

For the best experience try combining all three methods. Hold the baby skin to skin, covered with mom’s shirt while playing a CD of mom’s voice. This is almost guaranteed to calm baby.

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