The 8-month breastfeeding crisis – separation anxiety

The 8-month breastfeeding crisis – separation anxiety

Is there an 8-month breastfeeding crisis? Your baby has grown a lot in the last months, not long before they reach their first birthday, and there are still many things they have yet to learn. When babies are 8-9 months old, many changes happen, which can surprise and worry us at the same time. Is this also one of those stages called a breastfeeding crisis?

So what happens at this stage?

The first thing that is usually noticed is that babies are very attentive to their mothers during this stage, and if they lose sight of the mother or if a family member tries to hold them or talk to them, they are likely to cry. This is the stage when people tell mothers their child is “too clingy.” And they don’t consider that a good thing.

Also, babies often wake up now more at night, they are demanding to breastfeed more often, and it feels like they want to have breast all night long.

What’s wrong with my baby? Why does she only want to be with me now?

Now your baby wants to be close to you at all times and is terrified when she realizes that you might suddenly disappear. Before this stage, babies are convinced that they are part of their mother’s body and an inseparable whole. From this stage onwards, they will discover that this is not the case and that their mother can disappear at any moment. And what’s worse, they don’t know when she’s coming back. If you look at it from the baby’s point of view, it’s very scary. The fear they feel is real, and that’s why they always want to be close to their mother so that she doesn’t disappear. That is why this developmental stage is also called separation anxiety

When does this go away?

Usually, after a month or two, they begin to understand that mommy disappears, that this is not forever, and that she will come back, and nothing serious will happen. During this stage of separation anxiety, they will always want you to be close, even at home, and it is not even enough for them if you talk to them from another room; they have to see you and, if possible, be close to you.

Why do people give me to understand that I have done something wrong or that this happens because I am breastfeeding?

Mothers are an easy target of judgment, and as you may have gathered by now, everything seems to be your fault when it comes to your baby. You’re going to get these kinds of comments a lot, and sometimes they’ll come from people you love, which hurts even more. This is definitely not your fault, you haven’t done anything wrong, and it’s not related to breastfeeding. Formula-fed babies also experience this separation anxiety stage. It is a developmental stage and not related to the type of food the baby receives.

So what happens to my baby at night?

Babies begin to understand that things happen at night. For example, “I fall asleep with mom in the living room, and I suddenly wake up in the crib or bed. And I don’t even know how I got there, or what happened, or what I missed.” At this stage, babies mainly resist sleep. They fight not to fall asleep and often struggle during breastfeeding when they feel they are falling asleep when suckling. In addition, when they wake up, they now usually go from 0 to 100 in a few seconds. They sit up in bed and cry desperately until you give them breast. And this can be exhausting.

So, is breastfeeding making them wake up more and for longer?

On the contrary, breastfeeding helps babies to relax quickly and go back to sleep. What is likely, though, is that they don’t want to let go of the breast.

Is there anything I can do to help my baby?

Mothers naturally want to help their babies to get through this stage as quickly as possible. Just as when they start walking, they will fall down, and this is also part of their learning process. The same thing happens in these stages of developmental leaps; babies have to get through them on their own.

Do you have any more questions?

You can consult with our experts in online visits and in the consultation channel of the LactApp app, free to download for iPhone and Android, where you can find lots of information on breastfeeding and maternity.

One thought on “The 8-month breastfeeding crisis – separation anxiety

  1. My 19 month old is going through seperation anxiety I think.
    I breastfeed her before her nap and bedtime, she will take a bottle from Dada. But if I leave the house and am not there for the nap or bedtime she takes Dada by the hand and brings him to the door.
    She will hyperventilate and scream and protest until I’m home.
    We have not let her cry it out as I feel it’s cruel.
    Is this somewhat normal behavior it just started?

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