Stranger anxiety! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 07-10-2008, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
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DS is 6.5 mos old and has been showing lots of stranger anxiety for over a month already. He is a sensitive, usually calm and happy baby with me and DH and is very affectionate with us. When he met DH's mom (DS's grandma!) & brother in May, he freaked out about being around them. He cried in an anxious, high-pitched way and buried his head in my chest. Later when he'd been around them longer, my MIL was holding him. Then he started crying in that same way and burying his head into her chest. Like he didn't know what to do with himself! He's done this same thing with many other family members/friends. He eventually calms down when I'm holding him.
My mom lives right next door and sees DS at least 5 days out of the week, but he has freaked out twice now when he's seen even her. Same with my sister who is very much like me, but DS still sometimes gets anxious with her and wants me.
I had a dr. appt last week, and Mom came to be with DS in the waiting room. I could hear him crying in that freaked-out way all the way in the exam room. He wanted Mama! He wouldn't be calmed by Grandma, and the gentle nurses just freaked him out more. After 20 min of hearing him crying, I had to bring him in to the exam room with me. (Luckily the dr. is an understanding family practitioner and will soon also be DS's ped.)
I am going to be going for more dr. visits soon, including having oral surgery. I am mainly worried about how DS is going to be while I am having the exams/surgery. I would have Mom stay at home with him, but I need her to drive me. Plus, DS won't drink from a bottle. (We've tried lots of different times, with different people, and with different bottles, incl. giving him water instead of breastmilk. He just wants the breast.)
Am I catering to him too much??? I know I can be overly sensitive myself and wonder if he is the same way. Should I have Mom hang out with him more? She has been a bit anxious with him lately, worrying that he's going to freak again. Her energy is probably not helping him to feel calm.
Sometimes DS is totally fine with strangers/people-who-aren't-me-or-DH, and is happy and playful. I know he's a little young for stranger anxiety, and I've gotten comments that I am sheltering him too much and that he just needs to be held by more people.
Your experiences? Advice? Comments? Thanks for listening.
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#2 of 2 Old 07-10-2008, 09:32 PM
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My LO started demonstrating distinct anxiety of strangers at around 4 months, although she was supposed to be "too young" for that. She is almost a year now, and is really starting to get over it--now it noticeably depends on the person she's responding to. Personally, I think a child's fears, especially when they're really young, should always be catered to. So no, you're not catering too much to him! I know people think we spoil our DD too. However, when she responded exactly as you described to family members over Christmas (she was 6 months old) we decided to make an intentional effort to give her lots of positive exposure to strangers. We take it slow, but encourage her to go to other people. If she is uncomfortable, we take her right back, but try again later. It has generally taken her about 3 days of slow, gentle encouragement for her to begin to feel comfortable with someone new. DD is also very attached to me, but we noticed pretty early on that if someone (someone she knew, I mean) would take her from my presence (rather than me leaving her), she dealt with it a lot better.

I don't know if this helps you at all. At the least, you know you're not the only one. And remember, a sensitive child is likely going to grow into a sensitive adult, and a sensitive person is a rare and wonderful thing!

DD 7/07 DS 1/11

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