Com­fort the Bye-bye Blues

Parents (USA) - - Ages + Stages - By LAURA ANAS­TA­SIA

Un­der­stand what’s hap­pen­ing.

Most ba­bies have sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety at some point, but the cry­ing is of­ten harder on par­ents. It de­vel­ops be­tween 8 and 12 months, once your baby fig­ures out that things ex­ist even when she can’t see them (the con­cept of ob­ject per­ma­nence). By that point, your baby un­der­stands that you are the main per­son who cares for her, so when you head for the door, she pan­ics. She has no frame­work of time and doesn’t know if or when you’re re­turn­ing. Sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety can ap­pear grad­u­ally or al­most overnight, and the age at which it first pops up can vary too. It can last for days, months, or even up to a year.

Man­age night­time fears.

Your “good sleeper” may sud­denly start cry­ing for you at 2 a.m. That’s be­cause when he rouses, he re­al­izes you aren’t with him, can’t fall back to sleep, and knows you’ll come if he cries. Once he learns to self-soothe, he’ll be able to fall back to sleep on his own. To en­cour­age this, have a con­sis­tent bed­time rou­tine that ends with putting him in the crib while drowsy. Leave the room and let him cry for a few min­utes be­fore you re­turn, at grad­u­ally in­creas­ing in­ter­vals, to re­as­sure him un­til he nods off. Do the same when he wakes dur­ing the night. Within a week, he should fig­ure out that he’s sup­posed to go to sleep when he’s in his crib.

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