6 month old separation anxiety? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 12-16-2011, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My daughter is 6 months old now and have started to cry whenever I put her on the floor/bed and walk away. Once I make the movement of laying her down, she scrunches up her face and starts to cry. She stops crying when I pick her back up. 

 

She has been an easy baby-- didn't cry or fuss much. Whenever we set her down on the playmat, she could amuse herself for some time. Not so any longer. 

 

Sometimes I lie on the mat with her and read while she plays, and she's fine with that. When I stand up, even to go to the bathroom, she cries. 

 

I carry her in a sling as often as I can, on walks or for chores, etc. When I have to do work on the computer, I sit her on my lap, and she's content there. I've tried to move the playmat right next to my desk, but she prefers to be on my lap sitting up.

 

Now my dh and family say I've spoiled her by carrying her too much when she was younger. I generally attend to her cries quickly, so when she doesn't get what she wants immediately, such as my boob or being carried, her cries escalate pretty fast. I'm not sure what to do. 

 

How has other mothers dealt with this???


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#2 of 23 Old 12-16-2011, 10:48 PM
 
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These are very good questions! 

 

I hope some more experienced moms reply because my DP and I have been wondering the same kinds of things.

 

We want to continue AP, but want to know, how long is it really ok to let a baby cry? We want to go to her as soon as she cries whenever possible, but are wondering if we should let her self soothe a bit?

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#3 of 23 Old 12-17-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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My understanding is it's totally normal because babies develop "object permanence." You'll notice that she likes to play peek-a-boo or look for a toy you've hidden under a blanket. It's the same thing with mom. When you're out of sight she now realizes you're gone but doesn't yet understand that you'll be back in a second.
Both my sons have gone through - DS2 is 10 months and in the thick of it - and as much as it would be nice to pee alone I realize it WILL pass.
And don't beat yourselves up, mamas. Whenever possible I respond to my babe immediately but I don't feel like I'm a bad mom because I occasionally have to buckle my crying baby into his car seat to go somewhere or let him fuss because I really need to take a shower, change my toddler's pull up or serve dinner.

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#4 of 23 Old 01-02-2012, 01:21 PM
 
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So I was gonna post a new thread pretty much about the same thing. DD is 7 months and seems to need constant contact with me for the last couple of weeks.  She will only sit on the floor or in her little go-pod chair with some toys for a few minutes at a time now.  She was ok with my parents and good with DH, but there are times when she is inconsolable until she's in my arms.  There are times when others are holding her when they will hide me from her view, bc if she sees me she will freak out.  She has just gotten her first 2 teeth poking through... is this a teething phase? Please someone say yes...


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#5 of 23 Old 01-02-2012, 02:59 PM
 
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Here's how I have explained the whole "babies cannot be spolied" thing to clients.

 

1) Imagine you are on a boat in the water somewhere offshore of some Carribean Island (I'm from the Domincan Republic). Imagine it's 100 degrees with 100% humidity, and the water is clear and beautiufl, all you want to do is jump in and take aswim. Now, let's say the anchor of the boat is not fully engaged, or is not heavy enough to hold the boat in place. What are the odds you're going to jump out of the boat? It may be there when you come back, but it may not. Your job as a parent, while your child is still dependent on you for all of her/his basic needs, is to become the strongest, heaviest, most engaged anchor possible. That way, when your baby finally is ready to jump out of the boat (preschool, sports, college, etc), they will feel confident that it's safe becuase they will know their boat will still be there when they come back, if they need help. Now, since actions do actually speak louder than words, the only way you can help a baby understand that you are their anchor is by attending to their needs. Every time they express a need for something, be it by crying, fussing, pulling on ears, rubbing eyes, whatever, and you respond by trying to help them, you are making their anchor more and more reliable.

 

2) If I woke up tomorrow in Japan, paralyzed from the neck down, unable to do ANYTHING for myself (not even pick my nose or scratch my butt), I would cry...a lot. No one around me understand me, and if I am left alone, eventually I will stop crying but not becuase I have learned anything...because I feel helpless. No one is there for me, I am all alone, and I am scared. If there is someone, who tries hard to help me meet my needs, despite the fact that this person cannot understand my language, I will feel connected and attached to this person, and as I recover from my mysterious paralysis, this is the person I will come to trust and revere.

 

 

It is impossible to spoil a baby. I second and third what megan73 said about Object Permanence and want to also add that as babies become more mobile and begin to get nourishment from places other than mom (generally speaking), they also begin to realize they are not the same as mom. So not only are they begining to see that they are seperate entities, but they also now see that mom can leave and possibly never come back. How terrifying? The best way to help them with this is to keep attending to their needs, read those cues, and remember, all of this ridiculously hard and exhausting work is going to lead to happy, well adjusted, securely attached children one day. Hopefully before we all lose our minds...

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#6 of 23 Old 01-02-2012, 03:01 PM
 
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And if it makes anyone feel any better, my 4 month old seems to already have a mean case of seperation anxiety. And I start work next week. Awesome.


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#7 of 23 Old 01-02-2012, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It sure does take a lot of faith to parent like this in the face of all the criticism! Whenever anyone sees me carrying my baby for awhile, they tell me I'm making trouble for myself in the long run. It put me in the position where I don't feel comfortable asking for help because my relatives are so ready to jump on my decisions (breastfeeding, babywearing, etc). 

 

Fortunately, dd is thriving, which helps a lot. 

 

Still, this separation anxiety thing is getting hard. She starts wailing whenever I set her down. 


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#8 of 23 Old 01-02-2012, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What are you going to do??
 

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Originally Posted by Mama2ChicknLil View Post

And if it makes anyone feel any better, my 4 month old seems to already have a mean case of seperation anxiety. And I start work next week. Awesome.



 


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#9 of 23 Old 01-02-2012, 06:13 PM
 
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Drink.

 

Ha! Just kidding. I'm lucky, my DH and sister will be helping watch him during the week and he's very comfortable with them. When I've left him with them recently he will initially cry himself to sleep (in arms of course) and when he comes to they feed him and love on him. Of course as soon as he sees me again he loses it.

 

As for this being hard...it really is. I never appreciated just how hard until Kai came along. The hardest part for me has been listening to my intution and trusting my voice. you are doing such a beautiful thing for your DD by honoring her spiriit, and teaching her that her voice DOES matter, and that she can affect change. Kudos to you for doing it under pressure.

 

As for how to hadle the SA...I always recommend talking/singing if you are out of sight or not touching her. Play peek-a-boo too, helps some kids. Otherwise?it's a difficult phase she will eventually grow out of, find  other mamas in your area to commiserate with (thats wgat I use LLL for).

 

 

Good Luck, you are doing great!!!


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#10 of 23 Old 01-03-2012, 12:10 PM
 
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We started seeing signs of separation anxiety at 5 months with DS. At 7.5 months I got a terrible stomach bug and was admitted to the hospital overnight. My dad took care of DS that night, but when I got back home the separation anxiety was out of control! Things got better over the next few weeks. I'd say that by 9 months the issue had passed. 

 

I actually see it as a sign of intelligence. DS knew that I could leave, and if I did I might not come back for some time. We did a lot of cuddling, rocking, and slinging, especially during the first couple of weeks after my hospital stay.

 

Like your family, DH was worried that this might spoil him and start a downward spiral of general whininess - a totally understandable and logical conclusion. I sat him down and explained that not only is separation anxiety a normal part of development, it is very healthy. Helping DS learn that his parents will be there for him is our job. And I emphasized that this might last a few months now, but it is very normal to go through multiple rounds of separation anxiety throughout the toddler and preschool years (so he wasn't caught off-guard down the road). 

 

Of course there are times that you will have to leave your LO in the care of another person. We came up with a goodbye routine that we consistently used with DH when we left him in the church nursery, with grandparents, etc. and we still use it at 15 months. We give him a quick kiss and/or hug and say something like, "I have to go, but I'll be back soon! I love you bye-bye!" while waving. (A good routine should be short and consistent. Never try to "slip out" on your child). At the time he would cry, but we always left him with a person that understood child development and would hold him & help him work through it. Now when we go through this routine DH happily participates - hugging, kissing, and even initiating the waving.

 

Here is a website to share with family. It a government site, not a pro-AP site, which I know would help with my in-laws who think we're too granola...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002509/

 

And here is some info about goodbye routines. I really believe in the importance of having a short & simple routine. I know slipping out is easier for the parent, but it is NOT easier for the child, especially in the long-run...

http://www.ehow.com/how_8219675_soothe-infant-day-care.html

 

Good luck! This too shall pass!

 

 

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Quote:
Here is a website to share with family. It a government site, not a pro-AP site, which I know would help with my in-laws who think we're too granola...

great link! I love that it's not "too granola" for the very same reason!

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#12 of 23 Old 01-03-2012, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for these websites! 

 

I never thought about the good-bye routines. I always just slip out whenever I get a chance (when she's with dh, or when occupied with a toy). She notices right away these days, though. 

 

I keep reminding myself that this will pass!!
 

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Originally Posted by KathrynH View Post

Here is a website to share with family. It a government site, not a pro-AP site, which I know would help with my in-laws who think we're too granola...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002509/

 

And here is some info about goodbye routines. I really believe in the importance of having a short & simple routine. I know slipping out is easier for the parent, but it is NOT easier for the child, especially in the long-run...

http://www.ehow.com/how_8219675_soothe-infant-day-care.html

 

Good luck! This too shall pass!

 

 



 


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#13 of 23 Old 01-03-2012, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm commiserating with mamas on MDC, lol! We live in a relatively rural area in India, no LLL, and most ladies here believe crying is good for baby's lungs, and carrying the child too much prevents proper development of spine. 

 

I'm starting to talk more to her when I'm just stepping out for a second... it takes some effort because I'm generally not a talker. 

 

Funny, she doesn't get anxious when dh stands up to leave, only me! But she's comfortable around him as well, and is okay when I leave when he's around. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama2ChicknLil View Post

 

 

As for how to hadle the SA...I always recommend talking/singing if you are out of sight or not touching her. Play peek-a-boo too, helps some kids. Otherwise?it's a difficult phase she will eventually grow out of, find  other mamas in your area to commiserate with (thats wgat I use LLL for).

 

 

Good Luck, you are doing great!!!



 


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#14 of 23 Old 01-07-2012, 09:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama2ChicknLil View Post

Here's how I have explained the whole "babies cannot be spolied" thing to clients.

 

1) Imagine you are on a boat in the water somewhere offshore of some Carribean Island (I'm from the Domincan Republic). Imagine it's 100 degrees with 100% humidity, and the water is clear and beautiufl, all you want to do is jump in and take aswim. Now, let's say the anchor of the boat is not fully engaged, or is not heavy enough to hold the boat in place. What are the odds you're going to jump out of the boat? It may be there when you come back, but it may not. Your job as a parent, while your child is still dependent on you for all of her/his basic needs, is to become the strongest, heaviest, most engaged anchor possible. That way, when your baby finally is ready to jump out of the boat (preschool, sports, college, etc), they will feel confident that it's safe becuase they will know their boat will still be there when they come back, if they need help. Now, since actions do actually speak louder than words, the only way you can help a baby understand that you are their anchor is by attending to their needs. Every time they express a need for something, be it by crying, fussing, pulling on ears, rubbing eyes, whatever, and you respond by trying to help them, you are making their anchor more and more reliable.

 

2) If I woke up tomorrow in Japan, paralyzed from the neck down, unable to do ANYTHING for myself (not even pick my nose or scratch my butt), I would cry...a lot. No one around me understand me, and if I am left alone, eventually I will stop crying but not becuase I have learned anything...because I feel helpless. No one is there for me, I am all alone, and I am scared. If there is someone, who tries hard to help me meet my needs, despite the fact that this person cannot understand my language, I will feel connected and attached to this person, and as I recover from my mysterious paralysis, this is the person I will come to trust and revere.

 

 

It is impossible to spoil a baby. I second and third what megan73 said about Object Permanence and want to also add that as babies become more mobile and begin to get nourishment from places other than mom (generally speaking), they also begin to realize they are not the same as mom. So not only are they begining to see that they are seperate entities, but they also now see that mom can leave and possibly never come back. How terrifying? The best way to help them with this is to keep attending to their needs, read those cues, and remember, all of this ridiculously hard and exhausting work is going to lead to happy, well adjusted, securely attached children one day. Hopefully before we all lose our minds...



These are good things to remind myself that his anxiety is very real, esp when he's screaming and I feel like he's spoilt and I want to rip my hair out.  Thanks for the perspective!


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#15 of 23 Old 01-16-2012, 09:12 PM
 
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"I'm starting to talk more to her when I'm just stepping out for a second... it takes some effort because I'm generally not a talker."

 

azhie, so interesting you should say that (the above) because i sometimes feel exhausted when i try to keep up a constant chatter with my dd. starting to realize it's really ok and i don't have to talk all the time. lol! for those moms/caregivers that do, that's great but it's just not me. i do talk and sing when i move away from her though. doesn't always appear to work, but you never know the effect it may really have deep down inside.

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#16 of 23 Old 01-16-2012, 09:16 PM
 
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hugs!

 

we've gotten flack too, especially for co-sleeping. 

 

and passersby sometimes say, "oh, she must be spoiled!" they say it in kind of a cutesy way, but it's still criticism i think. fortunately, we get just as many, or even more!, "oh, she's such a good baby!" :)  AP really does work! (even though DP still feels dubious from time to time).

 


 

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Originally Posted by azhie View Post

It sure does take a lot of faith to parent like this in the face of all the criticism! Whenever anyone sees me carrying my baby for awhile, they tell me I'm making trouble for myself in the long run. It put me in the position where I don't feel comfortable asking for help because my relatives are so ready to jump on my decisions (breastfeeding, babywearing, etc). 

 

Fortunately, dd is thriving, which helps a lot. 

 

Still, this separation anxiety thing is getting hard. She starts wailing whenever I set her down. 



 

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#17 of 23 Old 01-18-2012, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm so glad to see your reply! 

 

I do get somewhat tired when I try to talk nonstop to her because I feel like I should. It feels a bit unnatural to me, although I am getting better at it. 

 

My dd does seem to like it when people talk to her though. Sometimes I read aloud whatever I'm reading and she always laughs. 

 

She still has separation anxiety though!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NinasMommy View Post

"I'm starting to talk more to her when I'm just stepping out for a second... it takes some effort because I'm generally not a talker."

 

azhie, so interesting you should say that (the above) because i sometimes feel exhausted when i try to keep up a constant chatter with my dd. starting to realize it's really ok and i don't have to talk all the time. lol! for those moms/caregivers that do, that's great but it's just not me. i do talk and sing when i move away from her though. doesn't always appear to work, but you never know the effect it may really have deep down inside.



 


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#18 of 23 Old 01-18-2012, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Lots of people (almost everyone, come to think of it) says she will be spoiled and too dependent on mommy. Not even based on her behavior, although people do say she's a good baby in general, but based on my responses to their questions (e.g. co-sleeping, breastfeeding on demand, babywearing, etc). 

 

Yay for AP! :)

 

 

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hugs!

 

we've gotten flack too, especially for co-sleeping. 

 

and passersby sometimes say, "oh, she must be spoiled!" they say it in kind of a cutesy way, but it's still criticism i think. fortunately, we get just as many, or even more!, "oh, she's such a good baby!" :)  AP really does work! (even though DP still feels dubious from time to time).

 


 



 



 


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#19 of 23 Old 01-18-2012, 09:35 PM
 
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Ditto!

 

And, how interesting they don't practice baby-wearing/attachment parenting and have reasons against it in your area! I guess it's not just Western culture that has become "detached". Or, perhaps the attitude comes from colonial times? Ever since reading Our Babies, Ourselves I've been extremely interested in the anthropology of parenting.
 

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Lots of people (almost everyone, come to think of it) says she will be spoiled and too dependent on mommy. Not even based on her behavior, although people do say she's a good baby in general, but based on my responses to their questions (e.g. co-sleeping, breastfeeding on demand, babywearing, etc). 

 

Yay for AP! :)

 

 



 



 

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Sorry - I haven't read through everything so apologies for repeating stuff! Just wondered if you had tried telling your daughter what you are doing, and if you have to be out of sight "Mommy will be right back..." kind of thing? I find sometimes with my LO (now 8 months) that if I set her down and went to move away she would be unhappy but if I told her what I was doing, or that I'd be right there, or right back, it seemed to help. I really think she learned to trust me. She still isn't crawling, and of course i'm not leaving her alone, but if she is sitting on her mat and I have to go get something kind of deal.

Also, I know that many people suggest slipping out on your baby, so that they don't get upset seeing you go, but this just makes them distrust you and be even more clinging, so if you ever are leaving her, maybe be sure to always say goodbye.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by azhie View Post

Lots of people (almost everyone, come to think of it) says she will be spoiled and too dependent on mommy. Not even based on her behavior, although people do say she's a good baby in general, but based on my responses to their questions (e.g. co-sleeping, breastfeeding on demand, babywearing, etc). 

 

Yay for AP! :)

 

 



 



I get this from my whole family.  Isn't it frustrating?!

 


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#22 of 23 Old 01-20-2012, 09:45 AM
 
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i've found the same, alicemay! just in the past week or so, we've seen a lot of improvement in how she takes me going away. i always say bye, give her a hug and kiss, and tell her i'll be back. 

 

after thinking about it, i felt like sneaking out just wasn't right. how could it be? i don't think i would like people sneaking out on me, and i'm not even a dependent baby!
 

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Sorry - I haven't read through everything so apologies for repeating stuff! Just wondered if you had tried telling your daughter what you are doing, and if you have to be out of sight "Mommy will be right back..." kind of thing? I find sometimes with my LO (now 8 months) that if I set her down and went to move away she would be unhappy but if I told her what I was doing, or that I'd be right there, or right back, it seemed to help. I really think she learned to trust me. She still isn't crawling, and of course i'm not leaving her alone, but if she is sitting on her mat and I have to go get something kind of deal.

Also, I know that many people suggest slipping out on your baby, so that they don't get upset seeing you go, but this just makes them distrust you and be even more clinging, so if you ever are leaving her, maybe be sure to always say goodbye.



 

 

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#23 of 23 Old 01-20-2012, 05:18 PM
 
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I love this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama2ChicknLil View Post

Here's how I have explained the whole "babies cannot be spoiled" thing to clients.

 

1) Imagine you are on a boat in the water somewhere offshore of some Carribean Island (I'm from the Domincan Republic). Imagine it's 100 degrees with 100% humidity, and the water is clear and beautiufl, all you want to do is jump in and take aswim. Now, let's say the anchor of the boat is not fully engaged, or is not heavy enough to hold the boat in place. What are the odds you're going to jump out of the boat? It may be there when you come back, but it may not. Your job as a parent, while your child is still dependent on you for all of her/his basic needs, is to become the strongest, heaviest, most engaged anchor possible. That way, when your baby finally is ready to jump out of the boat (preschool, sports, college, etc), they will feel confident that it's safe becuase they will know their boat will still be there when they come back, if they need help. Now, since actions do actually speak louder than words, the only way you can help a baby understand that you are their anchor is by attending to their needs. Every time they express a need for something, be it by crying, fussing, pulling on ears, rubbing eyes, whatever, and you respond by trying to help them, you are making their anchor more and more reliable.

 

2) If I woke up tomorrow in Japan, paralyzed from the neck down, unable to do ANYTHING for myself (not even pick my nose or scratch my butt), I would cry...a lot. No one around me understand me, and if I am left alone, eventually I will stop crying but not becuase I have learned anything...because I feel helpless. No one is there for me, I am all alone, and I am scared. If there is someone, who tries hard to help me meet my needs, despite the fact that this person cannot understand my language, I will feel connected and attached to this person, and as I recover from my mysterious paralysis, this is the person I will come to trust and revere.

 

 

It is impossible to spoil a baby. I second and third what megan73 said about Object Permanence and want to also add that as babies become more mobile and begin to get nourishment from places other than mom (generally speaking), they also begin to realize they are not the same as mom. So not only are they begining to see that they are seperate entities, but they also now see that mom can leave and possibly never come back. How terrifying? The best way to help them with this is to keep attending to their needs, read those cues, and remember, all of this ridiculously hard and exhausting work is going to lead to happy, well adjusted, securely attached children one day. Hopefully before we all lose our minds...

 

 

 

 

The paralysis example is similar to how I often explain it.

I haven't read every response but just wanted to add- I had a similar experience with a baby who never before minded being put down suddenly fussing when I would lay her down for one second. She would make an unhappy face and flap her hands and make a sound my mom calls a "fake" cry. as soon as I picked her up she was happy. My dh started to worry that we were responding too quickly and she was getting "smart" and we shouldn't respond to things that are just "wants" not needs. Basically he thought we were spoiling her by being over attentive. Then soon after that we discovered that she was having a flare up of a breathing difficulty that was aggravated by reflux (which we didn't know she had). Lying on her back she was in pain; the change of position made it better and she could breathe more easily. So it turned out she was doing the best she could to communicate with us about how to help her. It really renewed my dedication to trust her and let her trust me. I would feel really bad if I had tried to let her "self soothe" and it turned out I was making her struggle to breathe and have painful reflux while feeling suddenly abandoned by the person she depends on for help and comfort. When a baby feels good inside, all filled up by plenty of love and snuggles and mama milk and feeling listened to and responded to I think they fuss less and are more pleasant to be with as opposed to being more fussy and spoiled. In this situation there is usually a good reason for fussing even if you don't figure out what it is.



 

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