Separation and Stranger Anxiety
Babies go through many stages of social development, just as they go through phases of language development and motor development. Between 6 and 12 months of age, babies begin to show separation anxiety and stranger anxiety.
Stranger anxiety may begin between 6 months and a year, usually around 8 to 9 months of age.
While the word “anxiety” makes it sound like something is wrong, these are in fact normal stages of development.
Separation anxiety is fear of the parent leaving. Babies who seemed perfectly happy to stay with a sitter or grandparent may change dramatically during this time and only want to be with parents or even one parent in particular. Leaving the baby with a sitter or in childcare can be much more upsetting for the baby and the parents.
Related to this is stranger anxiety. It means that your baby has learned the difference between people they know, and people they do not know. It also means that they are bonding more strongly to you. Stranger anxiety may begin between 6 months and a year, usually around 8 to 9 months of age. With stranger anxiety, your baby may cry when approached by an unfamiliar person. This may happen at your baby's nine-month doctor visit. They may not want to see the doctor and certainly will not want to be picked up and taken over to a table to be examined.