You can get an idea of how your baby goes from phase to phase in development of Baby stranger anxiety or Infant stranger anxiety at different ages. This is how it goes in a doctor’s office for a typical baby until he’s about a year old.
The process of Baby stranger anxiety or Infant stranger anxiety starts at two months as he pays little attention to the doctor. As he lies on the examining table, he keeps looking over his shoulder at his mother.
The four-month-old is the doctor’s delight. He breaks into a body-wiggling smile just as often as the doctor smiles and makes noises at him.
By five or six months, Baby stranger anxiety or Infant stranger anxiety improves as the baby may have begun to change his mind; by nine months he is certain: the doctor is a stranger and therefore to be feared.
When the doctor approaches, he stops his kicking and cooing. His body freezes, and he eyes the doctor intently, even suspiciously, for may be twenty seconds. Finally his chin puckers, and he begins to shriek.
He may get so worked up that he cries long after the exam is over. This is a typical Baby stranger anxiety or Infant stranger anxiety.
The nine-month-old baby is suspicious not only of the doctor; anything new and unfamiliar makes him anxious, even a new hat on his mother or his father’s clean-shaven face if he is used to seeing his father with a beard.
This behavior is called Baby stranger anxiety or Infant stranger anxiety, and it’s very interesting to think about what has changed to make your baby go from loving everyone to being a suspicious worrywart.
In Baby stranger anxiety or Infant stranger anxiety, before about six months of age, babies can recognize when they have seen something before (we know, because they tend to stare longer at such things), but they don’t seem to really think about things as being either strange or familiar.
This is probably because in a four-month-old, the thinking part of the brain—the outer layer or cortex—is not yet fully online. By six months, the cortex is much more functional. One result is that babies now have much better memory skills.
In Baby stranger anxiety or Infant stranger anxiety, Babies clearly recognize the difference between what is familiar and what is strange things may be dangerous. You can almost watch this thought process take place, as your baby first stares at the stranger, then back at you, then back to the stranger, and finally, several seconds, later bursts into tears.
At six to nine months babies are much smarter when it comes to Baby stranger anxiety or Infant stranger anxiety, but they still aren’t good at predicting, based on past experience, what is likely to happen next.
A six-month-old lives pretty much in the present. So when there is a stranger right in front of him, he can’t understand why it’s not a familiar person, and he can’t figure out how any good will come of this situation. He also can’t do much about the situation except protest and cry.
By twelve to fifteen months, when Baby stranger anxiety or Infant stranger anxiety is generally on the way out, the infant is better at learning from the past and anticipating the future: “May be I don’t know who this person is, but nothing awful has happened in the past, so I can handle this stranger without panicking.”
Some babies (about one in seven) become particularly anxious in response to strange things and people. Even as small infants, their hearts beat faster when they see something unexpected, and all through childhood they tend to be extracautious.
As toddlers, for example, they often hang back for a long time in a new situation before joining in. This temperament trait is sometimes called slow-to-warm-up, a very appropriate name.
It is inborn, a result of the way the child’s brain works, not early parenting practices. Most importantly, it is not an illness, and it is not something that needs to be fixed.
If your baby seems especially sensitive about new people and new places in the middle of the first year, it’s sensible to protect him from fright by making strangers stay at a distance until he gets used to them.
During Baby stranger anxiety or Infant stranger anxiety, don’t keep him from seeing stranger, though. In time, through repeated exposure, things that were strange become more familiar and even slow-to-warm-up children become more comfortable.