Every morning my friend plays “hide-and-seek” with her baby daughter just before she leaves for work — she hands her to the yaya, distracts her with a toy, then stealthily inches her way out the door, hopefully unnoticed. It's the only way she knows that her child won't throw a big tantrum once she notices she's gone.
Her baby has reached that “separation anxiety” stage, which usually happens between 9 and 12 months. “Your baby has become more aware of the people around her and the people she's attached to — especially her mommy and daddy,” Laura Jana, M.D., a pediatrician, told Parents. To get through this phase, here are some things you can do.
See it from your baby's point of view.
Object permanence, or the concept that people exist even when they're not in sight, is settling in. Your baby is beginning to understand that even though he cannot see you, you are somewhere. In order to see you all the time, he will do what he can in his power to prevent you from disappearing, which is to cry.
Don't prolong your goodbyes.
Sneaking out, as my friend does, is actually not a good idea. Do say your goodbyes but keep it brief. Leave promptly after you kiss your baby, and don't make it sound like he's being left behind. With a cheerful voice, tell your baby that you will be back later, even if she still does not fully understand.
Make him feel safe.
Having too many “new” people around him may make your baby feel overwhelmed. Needless to say, allow him to adjust to the company first before leaving him with this person for longer periods of time. By talking to the person in a light tone while you carry your baby, the little one will understand that this person can be trusted, and he can be safe with her. Slowly but surely, the crying will diminish, and goodbyes won't be as hard anymore.