This past weekend we witnessed firsthand Annabelle displaying stranger anxiety for the first time. She has never been a baby who screams when she goes into a new place. But this weekend, she clenched my shirt, hid her face, and then had a full out freak out after someone that wasn’t Mommy or Daddy held her.
I don’t think we’ve met…
Yesterday at the gym nursery, the caretaker took her out of her car seat while she was half asleep and placed her in the swing. Once she woke up in the swing, she looked around and saw she was somewhere different than home. And she started screaming.
One of the nursery girls came to get me out of my spin class and said Annabelle was making a sound she’d never heard before. I walked in to find a purple faced Annabelle, crying and clutching her bunny with fear. Once I took her from the poor, terrified worker, she stopped crying and buried her face in my shoulder. I spent the better part of the following hour trying to calm her down.
Early Signs of Stranger Anxiety in Babies
The What to Expect App on my phone described how stranger anxiety can set in around five months in a baby. Suddenly the baby is aware that the person holding them is not someone she sees everyday. Dr. Spock says, “By five months they become more sophisticated in the sense of being more discriminating about whom they know and trust (source).” That means baby actually thinks before she reacts when seeing a new person. It is a crazy thought.
Recommendations for Baby Stranger Danger
Remain calm – if you’re calm, then baby is calm. Babies can sense anxiety from their parents.
Act as a buffer – don’t hand off your baby too quickly. Let her watch you smile and interact with the person. After awhile, have the person come up to her (that you’re still holding). Then, once she seems comfortable, you can try to let the person hold her.
Prepare strangers ahead of time – let people know that your little one is uneasy with new folks. If the person has already met her, it doesn’t hurt to mention that the baby needs time to warm up to a new face in case she cries!
Annabelle will be attending daycare in August and I am so worried she is going to be traumatized the first few days that we leave her there. I know we can do a little test-run before we bring her in on a regular schedule, but I fear one day isn’t going to do much for her stranger anxiety. I am hoping by August she has outgrown this and that it’s only a phase. Then again… as she gets older, separation anxiety sets in too, so who knows how she’s going to react!
My little girl started this at 5 months too! She is 9 1/2 months old now and still can start crying her anxious around strangers but like the app said I try to stay calm for her. Now that she is teething/ cutting teeth I’m sure when she’s in pain she won’t want to be with strangers :/ the other thing is I’m a stay at home mama and hubby and I have only gone out on a date once since she was born and my parents watched her. I’m afraid nor because she has the anxiety to have a babysitter unless they come meet and play with her before while here. Ps. My parents and inlaws live 2000 miles away so anyone we have babysit won’t be too familiar. Sorry for the long post! I think it will pass and once she goes to daycare in August she will be fine:)
Thanks for sharing! I hate to hear that you and your husband have only been out together once in 9 1/2 months! Do you have any neighbors or friends that you could have start coming around so she gets used to them? I read that if you are going to introduce someone new to take care of the baby, you should bring them around a few times while you’re home first. Fingers crossed A’s issue is gone by August!
We’re not there yet, but there will definitely be an adjustment period for daycare! Even Beckett, who started at six weeks and probably didn’t know the difference between me and a wall had a couple of rough days at first. He wouldn’t nap at all and was eating twice as often as normal. There’s a poor baby there now who is 6 months old and stayed at home with her mommy until starting daycare last Thursday. Every time I’ve been in the daycare this little girl is screaming her head off. She will only stop if someone is holding her, but with two workers and 10 kids, holding her 24/7 isn’t an option. (Not to mention she’s breastfed and this girl is like the Michelin baby – she isn’t light to hold!) Anyway, I say all of that to point out that they won’t remember it when they grow up, and if you’re like us, you end up with an extra snuggly baby in the evenings and on the weekends!
Ahhh I hope that isn’t Annabelle!!! …. I do appreciate the snuggles though!
I won’t have any babies but I have watched my best friend deal with taking her baby to daycare, she started with half days before she went back to work and moved up to full days. Yes, Quinn was upset for a bit but she got over it and it was probably harder on my friend then the baby! I hope you have a good transition when she does have to go to daycare 🙂 I’m sure it will be fine 🙂