Separation anxiety can be very scary for babies and usually can start occurring around eight months old. For some, it can happen earlier, and for other later. Making sure you know about separation anxiety and ways to combat it are important. Knowing your own feelings on leaving your baby can help because they can pick up on your own uneasiness.
Make sure you are exposing your baby to other caregivers at an early age. Making sure your little one knows not only you and your spouse, but grandparents, aunts and uncles, or any close family friends are essential for them to be comfortable when you and your spouse eventually go on date nights again!
Have Practice Separations
Practicing smaller separations before date nights or going back to work can help you see how your baby is doing when you’re out of sight. Saying something like, “I’ll be right back, just going to the kitchen” can help, even though they don’t comprehend language yet. Maybe even have another caregiver enter while your away to see how your baby does with them.
Keep Goodbyes Short
When saying goodbye don’t draw it out. If you are staying around, saying goodbye five different ways, the child will sense your own anxiety about leaving and they might become anxious themselves.
Create a Ritual
Having a goodbye ritual may help your child learn when you will be leaving and then a coming home ritual as well. Goodbye rituals may include kisses, hugs, saying a specific phrase. Same with coming home, maybe your baby is greeted with a hug, playtime or something else.
Know Their Favorites
You are going to know what your baby likes, what games, stuffed animals, books, sounds, etc. So knowing their favorites can be very important for when a separation occurs. If they have a favorite blankie or stuffed animal make sure they have that when you plan to go out so they will feel comforted when you’re gone.
Well Fed and Happy
Babies will struggle more with the separation if they are tired, hungry, or fussy. Trying to make sure they are fed, put down for the evening, or just relaxed (maybe by a bath), can help them stay calm and comfortable during the separation.