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Do babies get anxious? It’s a question that might have crossed your mind, especially if you’re a new parent. The answer is, they certainly do! Babies experience anxiety, as their brains rapidly develop the part responsible for processing emotions and feelings in their first few years of life. They are deeply connected to their parents and highly attuned to their environment during this preverbal stage, with their senses being incredibly active and alert.
Anxiety in babies has many causes, some of which are common. Separation anxiety is a normal developmental stage that all babies go through. Loud noises, dark places, strangers, animals, and being away from parents are situations that can make a baby anxious. However, these moments are short-lived, and babies can recover from them quickly.
It is important to note that while babies can quickly recover from stressful moments, as parents, we must be mindful of consistent stressors that may impact their development. For instance, conflicts and arguments within a parental relationship can cause significant anxiety for young children. When parents detach from each other, children may also feel detached and lonely. It can become very difficult for us, as parents, to connect and look after others when we feel disconnected ourselves.
Exposure to frequent conflict can increase the risk of depression and anxiety in children. Even in the very early stages of life, babies possess instincts that can detect danger and trigger a ‘fight or flight’ response. Consistent activation of this response can harm the developing brain.
While we cannot shield our children from all harm, we can address this issue to prevent anxiety from continuing into adulthood. Nightingale’s Parenting Consultant, Dafina, helps couples and individual parents from infancy to young adulthood. In addition to working with parents in a couple setting, she provides an online workshop on gentle parenting as well as a popular and effective counselling service for young adults aged 13 and upwards.
If you feel your baby is suffering from anxiety, or if you want to find out more about anxiety in infants, please contact the Nightingale team today. Our Parenting Consultant, Dafina, is here to help. Call our team on 0141 353 9373 or fill out the contact form on our Contact page.
Counsellor and Parenting Consultant
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