A Complex World of Emotion: Anxiety and Independence
Over the next several months, your baby will undergo dramatic development. Her emotional world becomes more intricate by the day, a significant development that is accompanied by some challenging emotional stages your baby undergoes.
Baby's attachment with her primary caregivers and others in her life becomes deeper. She can now distinguish between people she knows and strangers. Stranger anxiety appears in full force - even causing some babies to burst into tears when they see someone they don’t recognize approach them. Stranger anxiety begins at about five months, reaches its peak between seven and ten months, and gradually fades a few months later.
Your baby is beginning to show signs of separating from you – the first hint of the exciting journey toward independence. As she continues to discover that she is a separate entity, she becomes more in touch with her own desires and needs. With this comes the realization that her parents can also "disappear," which at first may set off separation anxiety. Many babies compensate through a transitional object (blanket, doll, pacifier, etc). This comforts her when she experiences separation anxiety – at bedtime or when left with a babysitter. Between eight and ten months, when she feels distress, she will probably exhibit a specific preference for one single caregiver, usually her mother. She will be quite insistent until her mother appears to save the day. When this happens, it will be difficult for any other person to offer comfort. Don't worry - this too will pass!