8 month old cries when I leave the room...any advice? - Mothering Forums

8 month old cries when I leave the room...any advice?

Neve's Avatar Neve (TS)
03:13 PM Liked: 0
#1 of 19
01-20-2008 | Posts: 177
Joined: Jan 2007
My 8 month old daughter seems to cry every time I or her caregiver leaves the room. We used to be able to give her something entertaining, and leave for 10-15 minutes at a time (with the monitor of course) and she would be just fine playing. This allowed us to clean up, prepare meals, take a shower or whatever.

This could just be early separation anxiety, but whatever we call it, how do I teach her that it's ok if I leave the room? I don't want to teach her that whenever she cries I will come running. But I also want her to feel safe etc.

Any tips??!

Thanks Moms!!
Neve's Avatar Neve (TS)
10:27 PM Liked: 0
#2 of 19
01-20-2008 | Posts: 177
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Pyxi's Avatar Pyxi
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#3 of 19
01-20-2008 | Posts: 691
Joined: Feb 2007
I have an 8 month old who does the same thing. I try to talk to him and tell him Mommy is right here, and it's okay, and I'll be there in just a minute. Usually it's when I leave him in the living room and go next door to the kitchen to check on dinner.

Babies do go through this phase where they have seperation anxiety and it's completely normal. Remember that your babe depends on you for everything, and when you go away it's scary. She is just beginning to think ahead, like "Mommy is going out of sight, what if I need her?!"

I understand that you're worried that she'll try to manipulate you into running to her every time she cries, but she's just a baby, and at this age they don't think that way. If she's crying for you, it's because she needs you. My advice through this phase is to keep her within sight of you (or a caregiver) so she knows that she isn't alone and you're right there if she needs you.

ETA: I've just also discovered that babies at this phase are easily distracted. If you can find a way to make a game of it and make the baby laugh, or sing to her, that will help too.
loziermusic's Avatar loziermusic
10:42 PM Liked: 0
#4 of 19
01-20-2008 | Posts: 107
Joined: Jun 2007
I have a 12 month old and I believe at that age he wouldn't let me leave the room hardly at all... I rarely ever left him alone or put him down until he was probably close to age 9 months. I've also only left him with a babysitter or relatives 4 times in the 12 months...

I am of the Dr. Sears mentality that you can't spoil a baby.... to me my son will be more independent if I don't leave him if he cries or keep him with me or my DH if he's not ready to be left with a babysitter. The only way that your baby can communicate is through crying... so if my baby cries.. I do come running and to me that's fine... then he'll know that I'll meet his needs and he'll be free to go off on his own.

Is is possible that you baby is teething? Aeden was super clingy and wouldn't let me leave the room when he was teething.

We're finding that at 12 months (which is supposed to be one of the times when they have serious separation anxiety)... that he is more and more friendly and independent and will play by himself. I'm now comfortable leaving him with Grandma.

Some ideas you might want to try are
wearing him in a sling so you can get things done ( I love ones that you can do a back carry.. ERGO, BECCO, Mei Tei)... I get a ton of things done that way and Aeden gets a break or falls asleep.

You could also take your baby in the shower/bath with you.. Aeden still takes showers with me and really enjoys them.

Those are my thoughts.. hopefully others reply too.
EricaRain's Avatar EricaRain
11:00 PM Liked: 0
#5 of 19
01-20-2008 | Posts: 279
Joined: Nov 2007
I've heard that playing peek-a-boo helps to reinforce the idea that just because he can't see you doesn't mean you are gone forever. That and practicing leaving the room for a very short period at a time. I also read that it's best to say goodbye and let them know you will be right back, so they don't get anxious when they've noticed you're gone that you'll never come back. Soon they get used to the farewell and realize mommy will be back later, mommy just doesn't disappear into the ether.
coobabysmom's Avatar coobabysmom
11:42 PM Liked: 0
#6 of 19
01-20-2008 | Posts: 1,195
Joined: Nov 2005
This could just be early separation anxiety, but whatever we call it, how do I teach her that it's ok if I leave the room? I don't want to teach her that whenever she cries I will come running. But I also want her to feel safe etc.

Sounds exactly like separation anxiety. Ds had it at the age and again at 18 mos. I think it lasted a good month or so... Can you sling her until she's confortable again? It will pass.
Pumpkin_Pie's Avatar Pumpkin_Pie
12:14 AM Liked: 55
#7 of 19
01-21-2008 | Posts: 4,587
Joined: Oct 2006
My son just outgrew the worst of this, and he is 9.5 months, so your babe sounds right on track. Just try to bring your baby with you wherever you go. I literally had to pick him up and carry him with me into the next room, even if I was just going to go grab a glass of water. I also encouraged him to crawl after me sometimes when I needed both hands. It was so hard to listen to him cry, but occasionally I did have to run to the bathroom. Now he will cry for a second, but I try to talk to him when I step into another room, and he calms down, and even babbles back at me.

This too shall pass mama.
Rumba's Avatar Rumba
02:01 AM Liked: 0
#8 of 19
01-21-2008 | Posts: 81
Joined: Dec 2007
7 and 8 months were the worst. When dd was 6 mo she would happily play alone for 20 minutes each morning. Then 7 mos hit and she cried if I even stood up from the floor! Just me trying to brush my teeth and hair without her on my back (she'd be on the floor, screaming and clinging to my legs) would result in pitiful crying and a scared attitude for hours later!

Now she's 9 mos and she's happily playing alone again (up to 1 hour at a time, with frequent check-ins!). If she's sick, tired, teething, she goes back to her 7-8 mo separation anxiety. It's frustrating but completely normal. They will grow out of it. In the meantime, they need to feel loved, safe and not alone.

Hang in there!
Rumba's Avatar Rumba
02:04 AM Liked: 0
#9 of 19
01-21-2008 | Posts: 81
Joined: Dec 2007
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I also encouraged her to crawl into the next room, or across the room, to come to me. It eventually worked and I think she was empowered by this. At first she would just sit there looking at me and crying. Later, she would crawl to me crying. Now she crawls to me with a big smile on her face. She knows that if she wants me, she just has to crawl on over and get me.
_betsy_'s Avatar _betsy_
02:10 AM Liked: 14
#10 of 19
01-21-2008 | Posts: 4,615
Joined: Jun 2004
It's totally normal seperation anxiety, and this too shall pass.

I'm totally not comfortable leaving my child alone, awake in another room for 10-15 minutes. I haven't been to the bathroom alone unless DH is home in, well, in months and months! But DD is not one to be content to play alone and never has been.
momazon4's Avatar momazon4
09:16 AM Liked: 0
#11 of 19
01-21-2008 | Posts: 724
Joined: Dec 2006
I would absolutely suggest a baby carrier, our current favourite is a Mai Tei. You can tie babe on back if you need to get stuff done. Babies do not begin to grasp object perminance until at least a year old. There for- if she can't SEE you, you no longer EXIST. Pretty scary, if you think of it.
franklinmarxmom's Avatar franklinmarxmom
10:58 AM Liked: 12
#12 of 19
01-21-2008 | Posts: 630
Joined: Nov 2007
We went through the same thing at the same age. It is very frustrating! I hear you, OP, about not wanting to feel manipulated. DH and I went round and round about that one. It is just a phase, though--she's not old enough to manipulate you, she actually is scared when you leave. I couldn't even walk by a doorway where he was without massive crying! But we negotiated it, and I was able to respond without feeling the manipulation.

Here's some strategies that worked for us:

1. Routine, routine, routine! As a WOHM, he had to leave me at daycare. This was actually never a big deal, b/c he came to trust his caregiver and went to her just fine. He loves to eat, and so our routine was that when I dropped him off at daycare I put him in the highchair, and we timed it so that he immediately had his breakfast. By the time that was done, he was happy and on to his day.

2. The crying usually stops shortly after you leave, so if you have to go--go! With DS, within 5 minutes after I left, (at most) he was fine and playing.

3. Ritualize goodbye. And make it quick! DS would start crying as soon as I started putting on shoes or finding keys or packing a bag. I waved goodbye, gave a kiss and left. The longer the goodbye-time lasted, the more anxiety he had.

4. Try not to "pop in"--every goodbye was traumatic, but once I left it was fine. So I didn't pop in to check on him, or even walk by a doorway where he was. It killed me--I loved going to see him at daycare midday--but it was better for him, so I abstained. More than once when I forgot something in the rush to leave the house quickly (b/c he started screaming at the sight of shoes), I called DH to bring it out to me in the driveway!

For us, it finally began to ease when he got the independence of crawling. Unfortunately, that didn't happen until 11.5 mos! Good luck, and this too shall pass.
Individuation's Avatar Individuation
01:01 PM Liked: 11
#13 of 19
01-21-2008 | Posts: 1,865
Joined: Jul 2006
I don't feel comfortable leaving a child that age alone in a room. They're kind of mobile, and yet can't really help themselves if something were to happen. I think separation anxiety has a really strong purpose at this age.
rumi's Avatar rumi
12:56 AM Liked: 84
#14 of 19
01-23-2008 | Posts: 1,365
Joined: Mar 2004
I can't recall leaving 8 month old alone while she was awake. Sling was definitely a major player, but even having her in the same room in some other form, like a baby swing, high chair or something usually was fine, i could sing or talk with her, or at least make eye contact with her, while doing other work.
mamadelbosque's Avatar mamadelbosque
01:55 AM Liked: 28
#15 of 19
01-23-2008 | Posts: 6,810
Joined: Feb 2007
DS does this every day. If the person who was most recently playing with him (whether thats me, Dh or my dad) leaves the room, he'll stand/sit and whine untill they come back, or someone else comes and gets him to play. Its like he forgets theres other people besides whomever
momazon4's Avatar momazon4
03:59 AM Liked: 0
#16 of 19
01-23-2008 | Posts: 724
Joined: Dec 2006
Originally Posted by Individuation View Post
I don't feel comfortable leaving a child that age alone in a room. They're kind of mobile, and yet can't really help themselves if something were to happen. I think separation anxiety has a really strong purpose at this age.
THAT, exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!
alegna's Avatar alegna
04:10 AM Liked: 144
#17 of 19
01-23-2008 | Posts: 42,826
Joined: Jan 2003
At that age/stage I simply did not leave their sight (unless dh was taking a turn to give me a sanity break ). Yeah, it can be a PITA at times, but it just goes with the territory.

Hippie Mama in MI's Avatar Hippie Mama in MI
04:22 AM Liked: 15
#18 of 19
01-23-2008 | Posts: 405
Joined: Jan 2008
My 17mo does this too, on a daily basis. Not as consistently as he used to, though. Nowadays, he is ok with me leaving the room if he is:
1. absorbed in a cartoon
2. busy with his toys
3. eating a cookie

I have been trying to train him that it's ok if Mommy steps into the laundry room for a dish rag. It's ok if Mommy walks back to the bathroom to brush her hair. Small steps. He was okay by himself for 20 minutes last week, while I cooked dinner; he was absorbed in his TV show. A miracle! (And yes, I could see him the whole time.)

Hang in there. it will get better.

Jen1977's Avatar Jen1977
05:23 AM Liked: 16
#19 of 19
01-23-2008 | Posts: 31
Joined: Oct 2006
I do not believe that she does so to control or manipulate me, I think she is expressing how she feels. I respect her feelings and I value her communication. The way that I express to her that I value her communication is by responding to her pleas (by returning to her and holding her as soon as I can, within reason) so that she will gain confidence in her communication and we can establish a trusting and secure relationship. I feel really good about the fact that I did this with my two older kids (6 and almost 4), I like to think that they are as awesome as they are at least partly because of our secure attachment to one another!
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