Supporting Separation Anxiety

Updated: Feb 13

Separation anxiety generally starts anywhere from around 8 months onwards and is a completely normal stage of development for little ones to go through. Symptoms of separation anxiety can be hard to distinguish from normal, typical behaviour. If you notice any of the below behaviours are heightened and coincide with other factors I have referred to in this blog post, it is likely that they are actually symptoms of separation anxiety:

  • Crying as soon as you are out of sight

  • Needing to be held by you more often

  • Challenging bedtimes or night wakes that are different to the norm

A baby going through this phase is often described as clingy, needy or molly coddled but this really isn’t the case. This is a very normal stage of development and what these little ones need is support and reassurance.

When does separation anxiety happen?

Up until around six or seven months, your baby considers the two of you as one person. They don’t understand that they are a separate entity to their parent. They start to develop the understanding that you are two separate people somewhere around the eight-month mark. Separation anxiety generally hits a peak anywhere between seven and ten months so this can be a really challenging time for sleep – typically known as the 8-month ‘sleep regression’ which also coincides with learning new skills but I’ll come onto this in a separate blog post!