This is also precisely the time when stranger anxiety as a feeling sets in, in your baby. From around the 7th month or so, your baby will start getting anxious when an unfamiliar person holds her.
Do not worry as this is a sign of healthy emotional development and attachment. Your baby now understands the difference between you and a stranger, and prefers you.
Stranger anxiety goes hand in hand with separation anxiety. Separation anxiety afflicts your baby and makes him/her wary of the fact that closest people will go away leaving him/her and not return.
Your baby will throw fits, shriek out aloud, and cry out the moment s/he sees you leaving the room. It will be the same when relatives come visiting and insist on cuddling and playing with the little one. This may get slightly awkward at times with people around, but remember that this is a natural occurrence and is indeed a good sign of development.
Some things that you as a parent can do to make your baby less prone to stranger anxiety are:
- Give ample time to new people or care-givers or baby-sitters to get involved with the baby. Do not leave your baby in someone else’s hand and go away. That will make her feel that you are not around to protect him/her.
- Be friendly to the new people who come to your baby. That will reassure your baby that all is well.
- Make your departures evident and playful. Initially you may also try to get your baby engrossed in other activities before leaving so that s/he will forget about you and get engrossed with other people. Kissing the little one adieu, or talking to him/her at length before leaving, will make your baby realize that you are leaving and though s/he may cry initially, when you return and repeat the gestures, with time the young one will know that you will come back after some point of time.
Separation anxiety will continue well up to two years for most babies. However it is observed that most babies tend to become less and less cranky with time.
Your 2-year-old may still get a tad bit upset when you leave him/her and go away or someone else comes to tend to the little one, but s/he will recover more quickly now because s/he is more secure. Experience and his/her budding memory skills have taught your little one that you’ll come back after being gone for a while.