Help my Baby has Stranger Anxiety

 

 

When I was pregnant one thing that I used to think about a lot was my mum being able to hold her first grandchild as much as she wants (she has wanted one for a very long time!). I would go to her house every weekend whilst pregnant and all she talked about was how much she was looking forward to having days out with the baby and babysitting.

For the first two months or so T was exactly like what we had spoken about, he enjoyed being held by my mum, although she couldn’t look at him for long because he was refusing to take a bottle and I was breastfeeding. She could hold him, cuddle him to sleep and hold him to her heart’s content.

Sadly, once he reached 3 months old he started to cry when anyone but myself or his dad picked him up. I didn’t think much of it I thought that after a while he would grow out of it.

He is now approaching 6 months and it seems he has gotten worse, now he will burst into tears if he looks at someone other than myself or his dad for too long. If they even attempt to touch or hold him he will start crying out loud.

At first, it was funny just like a game of hot potato seeing who would set him off but now I feel really bad for my mum as she hasn’t been able to hold him or have a cuddle with him for nearly three months. This also means anytime I want to have some alone time or go out with my partner I can’t as he wants to be around us constantly. It feels so intense sometimes.

So I did what any new mum would do and turned to googling his behaviour and discovered that he could have stranger anxiety. I had no idea this was even a thing so I spoke with my health care visitor who told me it’s possible he could be anxious about new people or places.

Baby Stranger Anxiety is explained as,

“Stranger anxiety is a form of distress that children experience when exposed to people unfamiliar to them. Symptoms may include: getting quiet and staring at the stranger, verbally protesting by cries or other vocalisations, and hiding behind a parent.”

How is it possible for T to be anxious about my mum holding him, she was there when I went into labour and was one of the first people to hold him when he was born. She was the one who would stay over at ours at night and make sure I could rest and only need to be awake to feed him.

She was the one would come over and help sooth him when my partner was at work and I had no-one to help me stop him crying and now I am wondering why he doesn’t let someone who has been there for him at every step as he should be as used to her as he is to us.
I keep thinking that it’s my fault that for the first few weeks after we got home that we didn’t really leave the house as I was so exhausted or that maybe I should have taken him to a baby and toddler group to get him used to strangers. Maybe that way he would have been more comfortable around other people.

It can be quite frustrating at times when we are around family members or out with friends and he won’t let anyone hold him but I just have to remember that I am all that he knows and when we are in a new environment and around other people I am his comfort.

When I think about it actually I love that he clings to me, I love that I am his number one and I love that all he needs is me close to him to make him happy and I have to remember to enjoy this I know it won’t last long.

I have been advised that I can ease his anxiety a bit by trying the below techniques.

1- Prepare Strangers

Advice people beforehand especially new people that your baby is a little sensitive and let them know not to overwhelm the Baby. Advise people to approach the baby/ child calmly and slowly, maybe advise them to play with one of the baby’s toys as this may engage the baby/child. The parent can hold the baby and introduce them to new people.

2- Don’t show your anxiety

The baby will take the cue from you if you are anxious about them crying around new people they may pick up on this and become anxious as well.

3- Show Them Who to trust / Lead by example

When around new people or even family members you should smile at them so your baby can see you smile at the person, that way they know that the person can be trusted. Sooth and reassure your baby and talk to them about the person.

I will be trying these out with T and I hope that in time he will grow to trust family members especially my mum because my heart is breaking seeing how sad she gets when he won’t let her hold him.

I would be really interested to know if anyone else has experienced this and what have you done to make your baby or child more comfortable around other people.

Thank you for reading

Mummy Bee

One Messy Mama

MummyB

Hello Welcome to my Blog. I decided to write a blog to share my experience and life as a new mum and more. I hope you enjoy reading it. Mummy Bee

  • One Messy Mama

    My youngest is 2 and she still shuts down and refuses to look/speak to someone she doesn’t know. I allow her to just do what she feels is the “safest” for her. It can be frustrating at times I do agree. These are great points to work with. I hope it all works out! Looking forward to reading about it! #globalblogging

    • Bridgette

      Oh thanks for reading, yes I am just following his cues and if he feels fine with someone holding him i let him if his not then I wont let them hold him. I hope it passes soon

    • Oh thanks for reading, yes I am just following his cues and if he feels fine with someone holding him i let him if his not then I wont let them hold him. I hope it passes soon

  • Mindful Mummy Mission

    I know you’ll probably want to hit me for saying this but this phase will pass as all the others do – all perfectly normal, but something that makes things a bit tricky for you at times I’m sure. #globalblogging

    • Bridgette

      Yeah it is. I guess I will just have to wait for him to get out out of this phase. x

    • I know I will just have to wait it out and hopefully it will pass soon.

  • My Danglish Family

    Sounds like you are going the right way about it! Can’t say I’ve got any advice except follow your boys lead, he will open up when he is ready. In the meantime I’d enjoy all the lovely cuddles I can get xx #globalblogging

    • Bridgette

      Ooh yes I am enjoying the cuddles I know soon he won’t want to cuddle xx

    • Yes I am enjoying all the cuddles 🙂

  • Lucy’s Locket

    Yes, Lilly is the same. It’s quite common. I usually wear her in the sling when we go to new places while she is getting familiar with it. After a while she’s usually happy to get down and will play happily on the floor but still still doesn’t like other people holding her. I just go with it.
    If she doesn’t want to be held that’s fine by me, I probably wouldn’t either! #GlobalBlogging

    • Bridgette

      Yeah I have learnt to just let him lead and not force people on him so I don’t hand him over to people I just wait for him to warm up to them first.

    • My new favourite thing is the sling it you be close to them and still get things done. Yeah i just let him lead if he doesn’t like anyone I just let them know that sadly they wont be able to hold him which is never nice.

  • Twin Pickle

    The twins aren’t fans of strangers either. We’re approached ALL the time because of the twin cuteness and all they’ll do is grimace and occasionally burst into tears. People are very disappointed! Good luck, I hope it improves 🙂 #GlobalBlogging

    • Bridgette

      I hope it improves soon as well and he outgrows it otherwise it will be really hard when I go back to work.

    • Me too , I really do hope it improves soon.

  • kristin mccarthy

    This is a tough stage for sure. All four of my girls went through it- the twins even went through it with their daddy every time he walked in through the door after work. Makes it hard on mommy for sure. Hang in there- for about 18 more years! Thanks for linking up!

    #globalblogging

    • Bridgette

      Yeah it really is but I know that it won’t last long so I just try to make him comfortable around new people.

    • It really is a tough stage, I think T gets like that with his dad in the evening and he only wants me to hold him.