Comfort the Bye-bye Blues
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.