Q&A: At what age is stranger anxiety common?
My daughter is 3 months old. She stayed with a sitter until she was 2 1/2 months old and did just fine. I'm home for the summer and she has become scared of strangers.
I took her to the sitter's house to visit and when she held my daughter, she cried like she was scared to death. I took her to my husband's work and the same thing happened when his secretary held her. I didn't think stranger anxiety started until 5 months. Does this sound normal? What can I do to help her get used to other people? She is going to have to go back to the sitter's house when I start work again in August.
Stranger anxiety usually begins in the 5th to 8th month, so yes, this is early to see this behavior, but it doesn’t mean your baby isn’t ‘normal’.
What stranger anxiety signifies is twofold: That the ability to discriminate familiar from unfamiliar is present and that there is a positive bond between the baby and her familiar caretakers.
Development, like most things pertaining to humans, is a variable process, happening earlier in some and later in others. Your daughter may be an early learner in this regard.
The second important variable is the personality of the child. Like adults, some infants need and thrive on more structure and may be sensitive to a deviation from the familiar.
Either way, the advice is the same. Continue the separation routine, but in little, progressive steps, at first with you present for shorter and shorter periods, then gradually in your absence.