Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board
We’ve already talked about baby’s relatively new, oh-so-mature understanding of object permanence…. and it’s unsettling flipside: separation anxiety. Your formerly malleable, go-with-the-flow baby is now a tough little customer who will do everything in her power to keep you from leaving the house. And she’s pulling out all the stops. So if it hasn’t started, beware, the day may not be too far away.
No one’s gonna say it’s easy to walk away when baby’s crying and you’re devolving into a bundle of frayed nerves. But resist the urge to project your own emotions onto the situation. Baby is not being harmed irreparably. She is not going to grow up to hate you. You do not need to line up her future therapist. Do your best to channel her majesty Oprah and try to let your child FOLLOW HER FEELINGS.
A couple concrete tips:
1. Though you shouldn’t sneak out the door without a goodbye, you shouldn’t make a whole to-do out of parting, either. Don’t linger. Baby will be fine a few minutes after you leave, so leave already!
2. Before you go, transfer your trust. That is, show baby that you are connected to this caregiver; eventually baby will begin to view this person as an extension of you. So, talk warmly with the sitter, act like you like her (you’re not even acting, right?) and make sure she and your baby engaging in an activity together, like playing with a toy or favorite book.
3. Ask the caretaker to text you with an update. Chances are you’ll learn that baby stopped crying moments after you left, and this relieving news will allow you to go on with your day with a little peace of mind. Best of all, you’ll project this confidence the next time.
This phase is much harder on you than it is on baby. Really. So make it your mission to keep it together like the calm, cool and collected mom you are (or want to be). And remember: this, too, shall pass. For reals.