Signs of Anxiety in Infants

Threat of leaving alone
A crying baby clinging to his mother's hand. (Image: Marie_Liss/iStock/Getty Images)

According to Kids Health, infants can experience anxiety in some situations. Infants may feel anxious when they are separated from their parents or are in a situation or around people that they are unsure about or experience loud noises or sudden movement. As a result, infants can exhibit signs of anxiety when they are stressed in a situation. These signs can go unnoticed to many parents because unless they know what to look for.

Clinging

Clinging to a parent is a sign that the child is experiencing some anxiety over a situation. For example, according to Kids Health, babies can experience stranger anxiety when they are confronted by people they do not know. This fear or anxiety can cause the infant to cling to their parent for security. The infant may not want anyone but his parents to touch him. He may bury his face in his parent’s chest or legs or stand behind the parent. Parents who see this occur in their infant should get down to the infant's level and talk to them softly and calmly to try and reassure them that everything is okay. Usually, after a little coaxing and reassurance from the parent, the situation improves.

Crying

Crying is one of the main symptoms that the infant is experiencing some anxiety. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, some infants cry when they are experiencing anxiety. This anxiety can come about through crying. The infant may become hysterical and cry until she has trouble breathing. When this occurs, it is very important for the parent to reassure the infant that she is safe and no harm is going to come to her. If it is a separation anxiety, it is also important for the parent to reassure the infant, but the parent may literally have to leave the room. The infant is usually able to adjust soon after the parent has left. If this is not the case, it may be necessary for the parents to take the infant to a physician to see if there is a medical reason for excessive crying and upset.

Sleep

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, sometimes infants who are experiencing anxiety can suffer from sleep problems. An infant may not want to go to sleep at night or may wake up several different times during the night. He may also want to sleep with his parents and may cry when the parent lays him down in his bed to sleep. This problem can severely interfere with the parent’s ability to sleep at night. Usually, consistency and understanding is the best way to deal with this problem. An infant needs a schedule and it is up to the parents to create the schedule and help the infant stick to it. Reassuring the child that he is safe is also important. Rocking an infant before bedtime or reading him a story is a soothing activity to do before bedtime that can help the infant feel more secure and less anxious.

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