Stay with me baby!


Separation anxiety is a real struggle for many parents. When the moment comes to leave your baby for the first time, your motherly instinct kicks in. Even if your child is in safe hands, you can’t help but feel anxious and fretful simply because you’re not there with them.

Baby brand, Nuby, explores how to cope with separation anxiety and make sure that your child is safe and happy.

The earlier you overcome it, the better

Separation anxiety in children is normal and usually affects young children between the ages of six months and three years. It usually fades after that, but if the symptoms persist, it can have a long-term impact on your child. The earlier you start practising leaving them, the easier it will be for them to get used to it and overcome any potential separation anxiety. And, crucially, knowing they feel safe and settled will help to cut your anxiety too.

Do it gradually

You don’t have to jet off on holiday the first time you leave your baby. Instead, practise being separate gradually. At first, you might dedicate a two-hour slot where you leave them in your house with their grandparents. It’s advisable that the first times you leave them, it’s with someone they know and in a familiar setting to ease the shock of separation. Later, you can start trusting a nanny or a childminder to take care of your baby while you’re away.

After the first trial, you can slowly start extending the time you’re away from them and even leave them at their grandparents’ house for a night or two. The more often you do it, the easier it will get.

Don’t hold on to guilt

It’s normal to feel guilty when you first leave your baby. But guilt is not a healthy feeling to experience. Try not to fall into the trap of self-agonising over the fact that you’ve left your child in the hands of someone else. It’s something that you need to overcome, as it will help develop a healthy relationship between the two of you, and not a co-dependent one. You’re teaching your baby to trust you, but not rely on you for everything. And you’re learning that your child will eventually grow and separate from you for much longer than an hour-long coffee break. So, the earlier you start the process, the better.

Give clear instructions

Babies have their own individual routines. Whether they like to have a snack right before bed to help them nod off, or be read their favourite bedtime story, they are happier with what they’re used to. It’s important to communicate your baby’s precise routine with your childminder. This will help your baby settle and reduce stress all round.

Pack a comforter

Pack a bag of essentials that will be at hand for your babysitter, and make sure to include a comforter. Perhaps your child has a specific toy they like to cuddle, or a blanket they like to be wrapped in? Prepare these items in advance, so that your baby can feel secure in an unfamiliar situation.

Don’t sneak away

Dedicate some time to help your baby get used to their babysitter, whether that’s a childminder, a nanny or their grandparents, while you’re still there. When you’re leaving, don’t just sneak away. Instead, kiss your child and say a happy goodbye. After that your babysitter should immediately engage their attention and hopefully stop them from crying.

It also helps if your babysitter picks up your child right away, so that they feel secure in their hands and build a positive relationship. Practising healthy separation from early on will ensure children becomes their own individuals and able to cope on their own.