June 06, 2024

Are you struggling with your bubs Separation Anxiety?

Are you struggling with your bubs Separation Anxiety?

As parents, watching our little ones growing up and reaching developmental milestones is a happy and fulfilling experience. However, amidst the smiles and giggles, there can be moments of frustration and exhaustion, too.

One of the common challenges that you may see is having to navigate separation anxiety with your little one.


This is a normal part of a child's emotional development, signaling their growing awareness of being separated from mum and dad. While it's a positive sign of healthy attachment, it can make for a long day with a baby or toddler on your hip, and can also cause massive sleep battles or overnight disruptions to surface.

Separation anxiety can start to emerge around 6 to 8 months of age, often having a massive peak around 8-9 months with the development of object permanence (the understanding that something exists even if you cannot hear or see it anymore).

You’ll find that separation anxiety can come and go well into toddlerhood, and often correlates with new developmental milestones and common sleep regressions (12 months, 15-18 months, 24 months, etc).


  • Crying when you leave the room
  • Refusing to sleep without you nearby
  • Crying at bedtime when previously they did not cry
  • Wanting to be held more often
  • Clinging or crying when exposed to new situations
  • Sudden waking overnight crying when previously having slept through
  • Preference for one parent
  • Fear of strangers


  • When you're leaving them in a new environment, spend a bit of time there to help your baby settle in! This could be daycare, a family members house, etc. This will help your baby feel safe and more comfortable in their new surroundings - potentially with new people.
  • Playing peek-a-boo style games with your baby will help them start to understand object permanence, that things go away but that they also come back! As this is part of what causes their fears, helping them gain some understanding can help alleviate some of the stress for you both. Reading lift-the-flap books is a great way to do this as well.
  • Have small periods of practice separation throughout the day. This could be leaving the room while they are playing independently, letting them know you’re going to the washroom and that you’ll be right back, etc. This small periods can help build the trust that you will always be back.
  • Use a key phrase when you’re leaving and remind your baby that you’ll be coming back! Creating a simple phrase and always using the same words can start to act as a trigger for your bub that, yes, you are going but that you’re returning too.
  • Don’t prolong your goodbyes, keep them brief and avoid sneaking off.
  • When your baby is old enough, introduce a comforter. Red Nose Australia suggests from 7 months, and the American Academy of Paediatrics states it is safe from 12 months.
  • If your baby is experiencing night time separation anxiety then it’s even more important to have a consistent wind down routine to help make going down for sleep a calming experience and keep your little one at ease. It is also a great way to ensure they’ve had plenty of 1-1 connection heading into bedtime. Around these peaks of separation anxiety, it can also be a huge help to increase the length of this wind-down routine.

Above all, it's essential for you to honor this development for your baby and help them through these periods of separation anxiety. For this reason, we never suggest maintaining rigid boundaries around settling techniques or bedtime expectations during this time.

This means that we often need to transition to more hands-on or in-room approaches while working through these anxieties around bedtime and help provide reassurance and comfort during this time.

Remember, like all things, separation anxiety is temporary phase in your baby's development, and with time and support, both you and your little one will navigate through it together, emerging stronger and more connected than ever before.

If your previously great sleeper is struggling with separation anxiety and bedtime battles or night wakes have started, our 30 minute Quick Chat is the perfect option for you.

We will help you with strategies to help coach your little one through the battles of separation anxiety while ensuring that everything else is in place in terms of routine and wind-down.