Our 7 month old grand daughter over the last month will only let her mother carry her and when she's by herself, she will cry even if her Dad approaches her. Her Dad is very involved with her ever since was born and she loved it until last month. Her Mom is home, breast feeds, keeps apologizing that after we drive 40km to visit, her daughter cries even after we give her time to warm up to us.

Is there something that her Mom should do to encourage her to grow out of this separation anxiety. She plans in a couple of months to start weaning her off to a bottle and introduce her to blended foods. They live with their mother until their house is built in June, but she returns to her job in May and our son is at Law School. Her mother will be there for the child and we will likely start relieving them on the week-ends.

We hope this explanation of the setting will facilitate any suggestions that we can discuss with the parents. All ideas are welcome, as we are perplexed and so are all the parents relatives and friends.

Thank you

asked 22 Nov '11, 11:37

denbor6's gravatar image

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edited 22 Nov '11, 18:46

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Scott ♦♦

Hello! I moved this into its own question, where it should get more attention.

(22 Nov '11, 18:44) Scott ♦♦

"Separation anxiety" is a completely normal developmental stage in infants of around this age - some babies feel it more than others, but most go through it. It's an important survival strategy - they know who they are safe with and panic when that person is not around. Although what you describe is also called "stranger anxiety". Dr Sears has some ideas for dealing with it. He talks about Dad's being rejected, but the ideas can be extended to grandparents too.

I always felt that the important thing to emphasise, when going through this phase with my children, was that Mummy will be back, you can go back to Mummy when you want to. That way they had the confidence to be with another adult, since the "risk" was minimised as Mummy was still available.


answered 14 Dec '11, 11:19

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Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%


Nice answer but I would like to say that I think it's really interesting that you place the emphasis on "Mummy will be back" I personally think that Daddy and his role is equally important for baby as well as Mummy.

(14 Dec '11, 13:49) Emi

In this case the child is anxious about everyone, even her father, who isn't her mother. So what she wants to be reassured about is that her mother will be back. This was similar with my children (not as strongly as in this case though).

(14 Dec '11, 14:08) Meg Stephenson

I think that you have explained very clearly the situation.

You say that this happened quite suddenly between the 6th and 7th month and I am just guessing that as she is becoming more aware of her environs and if your granddaughter is with mummy the whole time then becoming more attached seems inevitable, though how your daughter in law deals with this may effect the amount of anxiety felt by your granddaughter.

Is your daughter in law able to reduce the amount of times she picks her up particularly when they are alone or when they are together as a core family ( mum dad & baby ) and talk about you ( grandparents) and what they plan to do ( "Shall we go to see Grandma and Grandpa today ? " ) with a warm voice tone and smiling face could be helpful.

For example while my mother is very good at handling all her grandchildren, all the grandchildren in my family have always loved being held by my dad more at times, because he is so calm and not overwhelming with children or babies. My in-laws also had to learn to contain their excitement at seeing their first and only grandchild, because my daughter would cry incessantly and cling on to me tighter. With time they learnt to be much much calmer and less overwhelming and she warmed to then more. But we really encouraged that with my husband in the ways that I have tried to explain above.

Feeding patterns could be a good time to get first dad and then you more involved too, but if she is still only breastfeeding then it is a more mother baby pattern at the moment.

When we started with solids ( vegetable purees etc after 6 months my husband would hold her while I fed her a few spoons or vice verse ) we made sure to share the duties so as she wouldn't be solely attached and associate eating to one of us. The as she grew a little older she would be in her swing/sleeper chair right next to us while we ate, or during family dinners so she could watch us all together. I can't say for sure whether it helped her to be less anxious but it certainly reinforced the fact that dinner time around the table meant dinner, which meant eating, which meant smiling and enjoying members of the family all together. She has a very healthy appetite and enjoys eating to this day. She is 7 now.

Good luck I hope that my answer helps you even a little bit and please let us know how things develop!


answered 03 Dec '11, 09:05

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Asked: 22 Nov '11, 11:37

Seen: 3,771 times

Last updated: 14 Dec '11, 14:08