My 15 mo old DS went through a phase at 10 mo of age where if a stranger seemed to be talking about him, while looking at him, he would cry. He seemed threatened by them, like they were going to eat him or something.
After a month, he was basically over it with most people, though a few random people here and there would still invoke the tears for maybe 2-3 more weeks.
He now handles strangers well if we are holding him (he even handles it well if in his stroller).
I've been the center of his world 24/7 since he was born, though he is fine with DH when I leave to run errands for 2-3 hours.
Which brings me to my question of how other moms would have handled the following situation:
I had a friend visit and she is a stranger to my DS, since she hasn't seen him in 9 months. I had to go to the bathroom and was ready to swoop up my DS to take him with me, when she urged me to leave him in the room with her, saying that he had to learn that if mommy left, I would come back. I was hesitant, knowing he would cry, but my friend coerced me saying it would be good for him. He dissolved into tears as soon as I left and she picked him up, while I hurriedly left and returned, and she returned him to me, still in tears.
He proceeded to sob uncontrollably for the next 20 min until she left (she had to leave anyway at that time) and I quickly nursed him to calm him down after she left. IFrankly, I just didn't think it was worth it to put him through that experience.
I don't know if the experiment of leaving him was the thing to do or not, particularly since she was a complete stranger to him. He has been super sensitive/high needs since birth (induced 5 wks early to boot) and very "slow to warm" to people.
I still feel bad that he went through what must have been traumatic for him, putting myself in his shoes, though at the same time, I wonder if I am coddling him/being overprotective had I not done what she suggested. I know this is a minor situation in the big scheme of things, but I'm still curious as to what other moms would do.
When my parents came to visit during the height of his stranger anxiety, it took DS 3 days before they could hold him. They were then also able to leave the room and take him outside without me and it didn't upset him. Again, slow to warm...
My thinking is that he needs to be eased into me leaving him with "strangers" (i.e. maybe another mom he gets to know through playdates or a sitter he gets to know before leaving him alone) rather than throwing him into the fire with a complete stranger.
He has never been in day care or with a sitter, since I'm a SAHM.
I've been socializing him with toddler classes 3 times a week and he is very timid and shy, wanting to sit in my lap, but toward the end of class, he starts to warm up (though the class is over by then).