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Resolving Your Baby’s Fear of Strangers

Resolving Your Baby’s Fear of Strangers

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There is no greater joy than knowing that you are special for your baby. From the very first week of her birth, a baby becomes attached to her parents, especially to her mother. And because of this, she begins to prefer them to anyone else’s company.

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Between 4-6 months, your baby starts feeling uneasy with strangers.

Because of the preference for parents, you notice that between your baby’s 4th and 6thmonth, she begins to feel distressed with strangers and may get scared of them. Although before this, she has never reacted to an unknown person, she does so now, as she starts to understand who’s a stranger and who’s not.

 Two kinds of anxieties.

Different babies have different reactions - while one may feel shy, another may burst into tears or even scream when someone unfamiliar comes close to her, even if it is for a short while. They do this because of a trait called Stranger Anxiety. When babies understand that they’ve been separated from their mothers, they feel what is known as Separation Anxiety.  
It’s alright, it’s just a part of the learning process.

This is hardly anything to worry about. These two ‘anxieties’ aren’t bad things. They’re actually exciting parts of your baby’s learning process. Your baby is soon going to figure out whom to trust and whom not to, just by observing their faces and the way they behave. This way, they can spot the differences between their parents and others and also prefer a familiar face to an unfamiliar one.

Also, this is just a temporary phase and Stranger Anxiety slowly goes away after 16-18 months, as your baby begins to explore the world more and more.

How to deal with Stranger Anxiety.

It can get slightly difficult to handle Stranger Anxiety in your baby especially when you have guests, or you are at someone else’s house, or if the baby reacts to the parent who’s not the one who takes care of her most often. So  even though these anxieties are merely stages in your baby’s development, her distress can be reduced by simply keeping these points in mind .

Slowly familiarize your baby with the strangerAll that needs to be done is to make her feel more comfortable and secure. And the best way to go about it is to tell the new person to approach the baby slowly, smiling and soft-talking, with a favourite toy of the baby in hand. All this in either your presence or your spouse’s. This way, the baby is going to like what she sees, shows interest and also gets familiar with those unknown to her. 

Allow your baby to take her time. Give your baby some time to adjust to the new persons without pressurizing her or trying too hard. You can do this by talking gently to your baby about the new people. This helps her relate to them.

Always pay heed. Make sure the baby has your attention when she becomes upset. This makes her feel safe and secure.  

Visit more places, meet new people. Take your baby out to new places so that she comes across new people more often.

 Shower lots of love. More than anything, reassure your baby by showing lots of love, comfort, cuddles and soft talks, not only in the presence of strangers but always. Of course, you know how to do it best!

Just the way all of us, given enough encouragement and love, can easily overcome any sort of difficulty, so can your baby. As you nurture the baby and allow her to grow, she naturally gets over the fear of the unknown. And again, there’s nothing better than knowing that your baby feels safe because she is in the presence of those she knows and trusts.

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