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My 9 mth old has horrible stranger anxiety! What should i do?
I am a stay at home mom and my 9 month old has had this stranger anxiety since he was 2 months old! He will not let anyone hold him except for me, my husband, or my husband's grandmother (who lives next to us and comes over 2+ times a day :/). I am glad that he wont go to just anybody but i know it hurts our parents and family's feelings. I can stand right beside him and reassure him that he is OK but that or anything else never works. I have to take him everywhere, which is fine for me but i need a little me time every now and again they tell me. Its been very stressful knowing i do not have a reliable sitter, that he will stay with. And im sure its pretty stressful on my son too and i just want what's best for him. Any advice?
Babies generally get some stranger anxiety around 9 months, but it sounds as if your son picked up on that tick a bit early! First thing, I would mention this at your next ped appointment, so that you can rule out any medical factors (and no, I don't know that there would be, but then I'm not an expert on medical stuff). In the meantime - start off slow. Think of your baby as a new puppy - you don't just go up to a new dog and pick them up and toss them in the air, right? You'll get bitten, and it's not the dog's fault. You go up to a new dog, let them sniff you and feel comfortable around you, and then maybe you pet them and play with them on their own terms. Same with your son. Don't just hand him off - let the new person introduce themselves, play with them a little, pass a new toy back and forth, talk to them, etc. Yeah, it's slower, but it's less likely to result in screaming fits of anxiety. Good luck!
With my twins, I just needed extra hands but maybe my idea will help. Find a reliable 9,10,11 year old in your area as a "mother's helper". That age is erfect as they can't take the babysitting course yet but are itching to help a mom with babies. Have her hang out at your house while you're home and baby is awake. You can pay very little or not at all, since you're helping her get experience without all the pressure at her age. Once she's distracting him with activities, leave the room and come back, each time lengthening the duration, coming and going, and he'll start to feel safer that you're around but he's not hanging off you. I even had 2 sisters some over, the more interactions helped with my girls. Point is, get others around him and you in his comfort zone, and eventually he'll grow out of the phase as he begins to walk & explore.