Khayla is going through a bad case of separation/stranger anxiety. She gets really uncomfortable around strangers (anyone apart from me, Mr. Sunshine, my family and the babysitter). She cries, fuss and screams(!).
We were back in Batu Pahat last weekend and we attended a kenduri on Saturday. She bawled her eyes out non-stop whenever Mr. Sunshine’s relatives held her ! We had another kenduri to attend that night and the same thing happened. She even resisted being held by Mr. Sunshine’s mum, dad and sister. She would only calm down whenever I or Mr. Sunshine held her. It was so bad that at the end of the day her eyes were swollen from all the crying and she had trouble falling asleep because she was so exhausted (or traumatized ?). 🙁

I felt so bad for Khayla’s grandparents (my mum & dad in-law) as they can’t hold their only granddaughter for one minute without her screaming her lungs out.

I did a bit of reading on stranger anxiety and this is what I gathered:

Your baby is going through one of her first emotional milestones — stranger anxiety. Children this age become very clingy and anxious around new and even familiar people and may cry if suddenly approached by a stranger. Your child may also be more anxious around new people when she’s tired, hungry, or sick. Keep this in mind when you’re around people she doesn’t know, and try not to be upset or embarrassed when she cries in someone else’s arms.I definitely get upset because I don’t like to see my baby cry, but I’m not embarrassed lah.

To calm her down, take her back and hold her yourself. – Check !

When strangers try to approach the baby, tell them to make slow gentle movements which will produce less anxiety than sudden ones.

If your child refuses to be held by a friend or relative, try a slow desensitization process:
1. Work on having her be comfortable in your arms while the other person is around.Rather than have the stranger immediately hold her, which what normally happens !
2. Then, have the person talk and play with your child while you hold her. 
3. Then, hand him over to the other person for a short time and stay close. 
4. Finally, try to leave the room for a few minutes, and see how it goes. 
If your child bawls, try again. Go in and out of the room and eventually, your child will be secure in the knowledge that even though you’re not around at the moment, you’ll always return shortly.

You don’t have to avoid being around strangers or introducing your child to new faces. She’ll benefit from getting used to being around people other than her parents. She needs your patience and understanding to get through this very important stage of development.


I’m gonna try the desensitization process the next time we go back to Batu Pahat. I also think that we need to spend more days in Batu Pahat for Khayla to get used to her grandparents, aunties and uncles. 🙂


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5 Comments on stranger anxiety

  1. same lah mel with zabi aydan… sometimes i get really stressed out when our family member says ‘eh kenapa anak kau ni taknak kat orang, or kenapa _____ ok je nak kat aku tapi anak kau xnak’ u know, they compare zabi aydan with other babies. its so hard for me to explain. geez.. but alhamdulillah it’s getting better now. the key is… SLOWLY n GENTLY… separation anxiety.. haha.. cute kan our babies… takut kena tinggal mommy n daddy!

  2. mel…farouq also jaranggg jmp my PIL..jarang balik melaka since hubby is not around kan..akak siap penah bdua blk melaka..n nasib baik dia stat melalak after skrg tobat xmo balik bdua!hahaha..

    so what i did..akak cari what he interested skrg dia minat tendang bola..dia minat dgr nursery rhymes thru hp or laptop..

    so akak brought ball whenever akak blk melaka..or blk kampung or pegi umah bila dia main bola, he started jumping around..n even still tkt..but dia xmo orang pgg but he can plays wit others..

    last time pn..farouq xmo kt my brother in law..but akak suruh dia pasang lagu “twinkle2 little star”..then trus drg duduk satu sofa..n akak leh breakfast ngan amannya..hehehe

    try it k..but all items that u listed tu..mmg kena buat…slowly k dik..dont give up 🙂

  3. Dina: Itulah, sometimes kecik hati when they say Khayla is ‘mengada sangat’ and I get stressed when they insist to hold her even when she’s wailing !
    Yeah, they love us too much, Dina ! Hee.

    Zurai: Hehe, Khayla pun suka lagu Twinkle Twinkle Little Star ! Boleh try gak method tu ek, slowly, InshaAllah. 🙂

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