Your baby this week
Your baby probably loves his toys but you are by far his favourite game. Who else responds especially to him? You're the one who tickles him, cuddles him, mimics his behaviour and knows exactly when he needs a nap. Your baby is beginning to learn about permanence and you may notice him looking for an object if it has been hidden. More importantly, however, your baby is becoming very attached to you! If your baby cries or becomes upset when you leave the room, he may be experiencing separation anxiety, where he becomes agitated when you are not in sight.
Try to play as many games with your baby (from about four months onwards) where you are hidden behind a doorway, chair or curtain and you peek at your baby saying ‘peek-a-boo’. You can also play ‘where’s mummy?’ by hiding things over your head or ‘where’s baby’ by putting a muslin over your baby’s head and asking your baby where she is. These games will encourage your baby to understand concepts such as disappearing and coming back again from an early age.
Dealing with goodbyes
As tempting as it is to creep away when your baby is distracted, try not to sneak away if you are going out and leaving your baby with a sitter or relative. Instead, let her see you go and play a waving and bye-bye game. Encourage the babysitter to bring your baby to the window to wave you off. The only way your baby will understand that you do come back is to watch you go.
When you return, say to your child, ‘Mummy’s back, I always come back’. If you are dropping your child off with a nanny, childminder or nursery and she is experiencing separation anxiety, make sure the caregivers/nursery teachers know this so they can have activities ready that will distract her. It might help if the nursery teacher comes and meets you at the gate carrying a fun activity that your child can do once inside.