A few weeks ago, bub developed an aversion to the bathroom door. Any time that I went in for a shower or to use the loo, the minute he heard the door click, he would come crawling over as fast as he could and bang at the door crying until I came out and comforted him. This went on for at least 6 weeks.
I racked my brains as to how to deal with this new phase and short of letting him in the bathroom to sit while I did what I needed to do simply wasn’t the answer. Some mums have told me that they let their children into the bathroom while they are showering and for me that’s just not possible. The bathroom is my private space and I definitely wasn’t going to shower while bub crawled around in there! He needed to know that the bathroom wasn’t the enemy and even though the door was closed, I would come out of there eventually.
So keeping in mind that this could be a phase and that he might be going through separation anxiety meaning babies develop a sense of object permanence and begin to learn that things and people exist even when they can’t see them.
When bub couldn’t see me, he thought I’d gone away and didn’t know if I’d come back. Experts say babies don’t have a concept of time and so they will do whatever they can to stop the parent from disappearing (He never did that with hubby, only the primary caregiver has the pleasure of this phase!).
In order to cope with bub’s separation anxiety:
1. I would shower when he was down for his naps – at least then I could shower in peace without the perpetual banging and crying at the door!
2. I took to leaving the door open only when I was brushing my teeth in the morning or last thing at night, anything else had the door closed and I’d let him cry until I finished. I found this quite stressful though and found myself hurrying through whatever I needed to do.
3. I would walk him into the bathroom once I’d come out and show him what it was and speak to him soothingly all the while not making a big deal about his reaction.
4. I avoided running in to see bub as soon as he began crying so that he wouldn’t learn to use that as a tactic.
Then quite suddenly as it began, the bathroom door became less interesting to him and now he happily plays about outside the bathroom even if I’ve closed the door and in there for quite some time.
Did your bub experience separation anxiety and how did you deal with it?