Stranger anxiety for ALL babies? - Mothering Forums
Life With a Baby > Stranger anxiety for ALL babies?
spiritmomma's Avatar spiritmomma 01:09 AM 06-03-2006
So my Dr. said that we can expect Isa to develop stranger anxiety around 8 mos. Do all babies get it? Is this just something our culture has accepted as normal due to generations of parenting that causes insecurity? Or is this a worldwide phenomenon? Talk to me about stranger anxiety from BTDT AP parents perspective....

What can I expect? Will my very social and unafraid babe suddenly be freaked out by new people?

turtlemama77's Avatar turtlemama77 01:12 AM 06-03-2006
There was a time when dd did NOT want anything to do with anyone who wasn't me or dh, even people she saw often. I read that separation anxiety is actually a good sign because your babe is attached to you (which is as it should be).
Fyrestorm's Avatar Fyrestorm 01:14 AM 06-03-2006
I have the opposite problem. My DD will go to ANYONE!! It drives me crazy. She has been like this since the day she was born...I could use some advice on how to teach caution to a 2 year old.
Persephone's Avatar Persephone 01:23 AM 06-03-2006
yep, stranger anxiety means attachment... dd hasn't liked other pepople-- even dh since 3 months-- hard on mama!
aanule's Avatar aanule 03:07 AM 06-03-2006
yep, mine is almost 5 months and screams for everyone but me or dh... i think its really a personality thing.
stlmomof2's Avatar stlmomof2 03:22 AM 06-03-2006
Alex is almost 8 months and ever since about 5 months, she has been complicated around strangers. She doesn't cry every time a new person holds her--usually, the person has to be facing her to make her cry. As long as someone is holding her so she can see my husband or me, she's fine, though sometimes she looks annoyed/uncomfortable. We went through a period where I couldn't leave the room without her crying but now that tends to happen more often when she's in a strange place--she's doing that less at home. There was definitely a rough few weeks when she didn't want Jason holding her and only wanted to be with me, but now he can not only easily hold her but also comfort her. I have found that when someone (i.e. relatives from out of town) works at getting to know Alex, she'll warm up to the person in a day or even a few hours. She crawls very well and will eventually approach and smile at the person whose arms she cried in previously. I really don't see any problem with her acting this way. After all, I don't let just anyone pick me up and talk all goofy in my face, either.
flyingspaghettimama's Avatar flyingspaghettimama 03:34 AM 06-03-2006
Funny, I was going to post about this too - my first didn't seem to have it at all but my son (6 mos) does seem to be developing it lately. Also, when I leave the room he squalls (particularly if tired, overexcited, etc) and he's not really freaking out on new people or friends, it's more like he has "anxiety" - he looks for me and if I just hand him off (like I used to), he gets really upset. He needs a minute or two to adjust first to the situation, then he's OK.

I'm parenting them the exact same way, so who knows. It must be one of those personality things.
la mamita's Avatar la mamita 10:49 AM 06-03-2006
I've seen it even in other non-Western cultures, so I don't think it's just a Western thing. DS has it very very mildly, he's a really friendly, sociable guy.
Beeblebrox's Avatar Beeblebrox 10:54 AM 06-03-2006
DD will be 9 months old in a few days, and while she does almost always prefer to be held by me, she loves interacting with people. Anytime anyone (strangers, family, etc.) start to play with her she gets very smiley and giggly. I've only seen her once shy away from a woman and bury her head in my shoulder. Maybe that will change? I don't know.
swebster's Avatar swebster 11:42 AM 06-03-2006
Originally Posted by Fyrestorm
I have the opposite problem. My DD will go to ANYONE!!
Bea is 10 months old and I'm still waiting for that stranger anxiety to kick in. She is very social and if plopped down in a room of strangers she will dilligently make the rounds, pulling herself up and presenting her hand for a high-five to each person. Sometimes when we're riding the bus it's a bit much, but she certainly makes people feel special when she smiles and reaches out for them.

I think it's definitely a personality thing, having nothing to do with AP. She also came to work with me (busy academic environment) for the first 7 months and was exposed to a lot of different people (allthough very much attached to me in her wrap or sling), so that may have had something to do with it as well.
anarchamama's Avatar anarchamama 12:46 PM 06-03-2006
My first DS never had it, he would go to anyone and will still try to initiate conversation with anyone and everyone he sees. We'll see with DS2 he is definatly more comfortable with me if he isout of sorts, people always think he must be hungry but then he doesen't want to eat he just wants to sit with me. But if hes in a good mood he'll visit/play with anyone, we'll see how it develops. I think its a big part personality.
Shanana's Avatar Shanana 11:00 PM 06-03-2006
My understanding is that separation anxiety is a developmental milestone that occurs when the child comprehends that s/he and mama are two separate people -- which means mama can leave, and this can be scary. But I agree with pp that the severity has a lot to do with personality. My dd is 10 months, is very outgoing, and shows no signs of it whatsoever. I asked a psychologist who specializes in children, and she said it really varies from child to child, although she did say secure attachment "might" ease things, although not necessarily (it certainly won't hurt things). There's a large continuum of "normal", so one child may have a very mild "case", whereas another may be scared and clingy for quite some time. Or anywhere in between!

ETA: Just to clarify, dd won't just go to anyone. She doesn't like my mom very much, for example, and is always a little reluctant when my mom holds her, and sometimes cries. I don't consider that separation / stranger anxiety, though. My mom is a really messed up person, and doesn't respect my dd, is rough with her, takes her toys away unexpectedly, etc. (and as a result is never left alone with her and sees very little of dd). So I feel that dd's reaction is perfectly legitimate. And she can be a bit tentative around new people for a little while, but I wouldn't like it if someone I'd never met walked over and picked me up either, lol, so I also don't consider that stranger anxiety. OTOH, I went for my yearly pap yesterday and set her on the floor while they were weighing me. When I turned around, she was headed down the hall and around the corner, lol. So in general, she has very little fear of new places or new people.
Joya's Avatar Joya 11:32 PM 06-03-2006
I kept hearing all about stranger anxiety and waited for it to appear. She engages with everyone and anyone (which could be dangerous later)My DD, now almost 14 months, has not shown any signs. When I leave her, she waves and continues doing whatever it was that interested her. When I return to her, she is ecstatic, but didn't even know I was gone.
la mamita's Avatar la mamita 10:58 AM 06-04-2006
Separation anxiety and stranger anxiety are two separate things. Separation= shows anxiety when separated from mama/caregiver. Stranger= shows anxiety when a new person approaches/interacts with baby, even if mama is around. Generally, they do show a level of attachment--but a kid's personality has a lot to do with it.
spiritmomma's Avatar spiritmomma 08:29 PM 06-05-2006
Thanks for all the responses. From what I gather here, I can expect to be surprised! Isa is my first babe and there's no telling symptoms that she has any stranger anxiety right now, but everyday she surprises me with something new. So I'm just doing my best to accomodate her changing needs as they change.
I think I have stranger anxiety for her! When our family went to DH's family reunion on Sunday, MIL dragged Isa all over the place (w/o me of, course.) DH noted how she was taking her around to "show her off" : and while I agree that Isa is gorgeous and definitely brag worthy, isn't that mama's job? After all, I pushed her out!
Isa seems to be just fine, though. I did see her look around (not anxiously, though) and when she saw me, she'd smile and I'd wave to her to let her know that I saw her too. I would love it if she stayed as social as she is now.
Only she can decide, though!