How to Handle Your Baby’s Stranger Anxiety

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How to Handle Your Baby’s Stranger Anxiety

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Your baby will start to notice a difference between you and other people at around four months of age, and around this time or after, they may start to show signs of discomfort or even fear around those they don’t know.

Stranger anxiety and separation anxiety often begin around the same time and can trigger similar fears in your baby.

Soothe your baby’s fear by taking things slow and modeling a safe relationship.

Introducing Your Baby to Friends and Family

Notice signs of anxiety.

Signs of stranger anxiety can begin as early as four months.

Some babies may go quiet or look at the stranger with fear.

Others may become clingy or bury themselves in you. Some children begin to cry, scream, or become fussy.

If you notice your baby having similar symptoms, it may be the beginnings of stranger anxiety and separation anxiety.

Prepare people before meeting your baby.

Let your friends and family know that your baby is afraid of strangers and may need some time to warm up.

Tell them not to move too aggressively and to respect your baby’s personal space.

Let them know to follow the baby’s lead and not to rush their introduction.

Keep in mind that your baby will probably show fewer signs of stranger anxiety around people who are not strangers and who they spend a lot of time around, such as family members and close friends.

It can be difficult from grandparents or aunts and uncles to be patient, but remind them that it’s important for the baby to feel comfortable around them.

Say, “My baby will grow to love you, but right now she needs some time as meeting new people can be scary.

Please give her the space she needs until she can warm up to you.”

Introduce new people in a familiar environment.

Have friends and family members come to your home to meet your child so that your baby is in a comfortable and familiar environment.

If your baby meets strangers outside of the home, hold your baby when introducing and don’t immediately give the baby over to be held.

Having a favorite toy or blanket can also help your baby feel more comfortable with a stranger.

Ask for some time before picking up the baby.

Ask people to wait a bit before picking up the baby. Babies tend to be more relaxed when people approach slowly and calmly and don’t rush to pick up the baby.

Let your baby feel comfortable before making contact with another person.

While many people are excited to pick up a baby, say, “My baby is a bit nervous around strangers.

She’ll respond better if you give her time to adjust to you.”

Do a gradual introduction.

If your baby struggles to adjust to new people, try doing a gradual introduction.

For example, introduce your baby to the person one day.

On the next day, have your baby notice or interact with the person for a few minutes.

Increase the length of time your baby spends with the person so that they can warm up gradually.

Be patient in introducing people to your child.

Take it slow and find a method that works for them.

Dealing with a New Caretaker

Act warmly.

Your baby will take cues from you and your behavior.

If you act distant or nervous around someone, your baby may interpret your actions and also be fearful of the person.

Treat people familiar to you but unfamiliar to your baby warmly.

Show your child that you feel comfortable with the person and your baby should feel comfortable, too.

Offer hugs, smiles, and other social behavior so that your baby interprets the person as safe.

Spend time with your baby and the stranger together.

To help your baby adjust, spend time altogether when first introduced.

If your child is upset, move your child closer to you and further from the stranger, then try again later.

Create a safe and comfortable environment for your child.

Have the person hold something your child is interested in and have your baby move toward the object and the person.

Schedule a new babysitter after naps and feeding.

Have all of your baby’s needs taken care of prior to meeting someone new.

Babies tend to be more anxious if they are tired or hungry.

Have the diaper changed, baby fed and freshly napped before making big changes.

Your baby should feel happy and be in a good mood for a good transition.

Avoid stalling, even if your baby is upset.

It can be difficult to see your child cry and be upset with someone new.

However, hanging around and waiting for your baby to settle may cause confusion and more upset.

Once you have taken the time you need to introduce your baby to the caregiver and help the baby feel comfortable, let your child know you are leaving and then go.

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ismael

ismael

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