It is natural for an infant to remain close to its mother during those first few years as he or she is dependent on her for everything — especially food, warmth, protection, and emotional security. This way, mom is also able to attend to the baby’s needs as quickly as possible.
It is only logical for an infant to develop a strong attachment to mom because the two spend almost every practical second together. The bond between mother and child is enhanced every time mom picks the baby to feed them, play with them, change their diaper, rock them to sleep, or just cuddle. Babies naturally want to be with their caregivers and some will reject attention from other people and cry when strangers hold them.
Because of the constant proximity to mom, some babies will react when mom goes away — even if it is for a few minutes. They might not notice right away that mommy has left but when they do, they can start crying or throw a fit. Different babies have different reactions when they discover their caregivers are nowhere in sight. At times, it is also hard for moms to watch their babies’ sad faces when they leave. Nevertheless, it is important for them to reassure the baby that everything will be okay and that mom will return as soon as she can.
Here are 20 ways that the babies show they miss their mommies when they're away.
20 Crying More Than Usual
There will come a point in time when a baby will burst out into tears when mom leaves the room they are in. When moms stay out for long, babies tend to cry more than usual because they are used to the reassuring feeling that mom is close, according to madeformums. This can grow into a habit whenever mom leaves the house for a few hours.
Crying like this is a way for them to show that they will miss mommy when she is away. However, separation from mom does not bother newborns as much as it does toddlers. Toddlers are able to comprehend that mommy is not around while newborns can remain calm for a while as long as their needs are met.
19 Reserve Bad Behavior Just For Mommy
Mommies are sometimes surprised when caregivers or babysitters report that their baby was no trouble the entire time that they have been away. What mommies do not know is that sometimes babies reserve their bad behavior just for them because they miss them.
As claimed by parenting, toddlers like to test people — especially the ones that they love. It might not be the best thing to do, but Ph.D. professor Elizabeth Short told parenting that when a child knows that he is safe, he can act up because he knows you will still love him. It may be hard for moms to know what to do with the bad behavior but disciplining them is one of the best ways to correct bad behavior.
18 Refusing To Play Alone
Babies sometimes sit and play alone with their toys when their moms are around but when they go away, they can refuse to do so. This is their way of expressing that they miss their mother. As confirmed by babyology, some babies can get really affected by their moms being away that they are incapable of distracting themselves with play.
Moms who notice this behavior in their little ones should encourage them to play when the caregiver is around. Moms should also notify their kids when they are planning to leave and give them some sort of assurance that they will come back. Eventually, the little ones will learn to trust that their moms will always come back when they leave.
17 Hold On To Items That Mom Is Fond Of Leaving With
Babies might not seem like they know much but they can comprehend what is happening in their environment. According to parenting, they tend to associate items with certain scenarios. For example, babies may notice that every time mommy leaves she always puts on shoes, picks up her handbag, and grabs her car keys.
On top of imitating how mommy carries her bag, they may also decide to hold on to these items to prevent mom from leaving without them. If mom tries to take the item from them, they normally end up in a tug-of-war that mostly ends up with the baby crying hysterically.
16 Pretend To Be Sick Or Hurt
Some babies can tell that when they are sick or hurt, they get a lot of love and affection from mommy. When they run to mommy after falling down, all they know is that she will somehow make the pain go away, as stated by parenting. When they get hurt and she is not around, they may pretend to be in more pain than usual.
This pain might not go away until mommy comes back home. Some babies may even start crying all over again when they see mom because she was not around to comfort them the first time. This is their way of showing her that she has been missed while she was away. As soon as they are shown some affection, these babies will dry their eyes and run off to play.
15 Hold On To A Favorite Object
At around one year of age, when babies start getting used to the idea of mom being away, they will pick their favorite toy or blankie and carry it everywhere with them. This object symbolizes mom and her affection, as stated by parenting. A child will usually have a hard time letting go of that particular object because of that association they have made.
Gopnik explains, “The Object represents your love, but in a way, your child can control.” However, moms may notice that when they are around, the baby does not clinch onto the object as much as when they are away. They should let the baby have the object for as long as he wants to and in situations where he might feel insecure.
14 Stare At Mommy
During those first few months, babies are able to recognize their mothers face in addition to their voice and scent, according to parenting. This is because when they are breastfeeding, getting their diapers changed, or just being cuddled, their mothers face is always so close to them and they get to examine her up close.
The bond between mother and child grows during this time as both stare at each other, says babycenter. When mom goes away, babies likely miss this time with mom and when she comes back, they can hardly wait for the next time they get to be held by mom and look into her eyes. This is a way of telling mom that they missed them.
13 Stretch Out Their Arms When They See Mom
Babies do not start talking until about one year after they are born. Despite this, they can still communicate to mom some of their needs. According to parenting, babies communicate with gestures that they pick from people around them. By about six months, babies can wave bye-bye or stretch their arms when they want to be picked up.
When mom comes back after she has been away, they will stretch out their arms so that mommy can take and carry them. Even if another person was holding them, the baby will twist their body towards mom and hold out his or her arms.
12 Experience Sleep Interruptions
If a baby is used to having her mom around, then he or she can have interrupted sleep when their mommy is away. According to babyology, when a caregiver puts a baby to sleep, the little one will sleep for a shorter period; this is probably because they subconsciously miss the comfort of knowing mom is nearby.
The baby may also take time to fall asleep or take catnaps instead. This is just a way for them to express anxiety over mom being away. When mom comes back, they usually go back to their normal sleep routines, maybe because mom has her own special way of putting the baby to sleep.
11 Refuse To Feed
As much as babies demand to feed when they are hungry, they can refuse to eat as they normally do in an attempt to show that they miss their mommies. The caregivers left with them may sometimes mistake it for being full but on such occasions, they can refuse food because their mothers are not around.
Caregivers should know the quantity of milk or food a baby takes and should be able to notice when the baby is eating less and encourage them to feed more. However, they should also be on the lookout for other reasons that could be making the baby refuse her food like an illness.
10 Refusing To Respond
Some babies act up when they miss their mothers. They may refuse to talk or engage in an activity because their mother is away and no one else can fill her place. Some even reject their new caregivers as a result. According to kidshealth, when babies cannot see or hear their mom, then they know she has gone away.
Kids often have such meltdowns because they have not developed good coping skills, according to parents. When moms come back home, they should ensure that they spend quality time with their kids as this gives them a better foundation of reassuring themselves that mommy will return the next time leaves.
9 Takes Time To Calm Down
Babies notice when their mothers are away and because they are used to her comforting them when they are upset, they may take time to calm down when someone else has to do. This is because they miss their mother and would rather have her instead of this other person.
According to babycenter, there are various ways of calming down a baby like; rocking them, playing their favorite songs, using a white noise machine, or giving them a pacifier. Moms might also have a specific way of calming the baby that is different from what the caregiver does, which may cause the baby to take longer to calm down.
8 Will Not Try Anything New
Babies spend months bonding with their mothers and because of that bond, they are able to trust and feel safe around them. As stated by WebMD, bonding can take place anytime when mommies feed, play, and generally care for them.
When moms go away and leave their babies with someone else, they can be reluctant to try out new things probably because they do not trust or feel safe around that person. Because mom is their number one fan, they would rather have her instead. They will not seem eager to be adventurous or try out new things, but as time goes by, they can build their own bond with this other person.
7 Reject A Caregiver Because They Don’t Have Mommy’s Scent
More often than not, babies recognize their mothers through their sense of smell. According to parenting, newborns are even able to differentiate their mother's milk from that of another breastfeeding mom. They also associate their mothers with feeding and may not let anyone else do it.
Sometimes when babies miss their mothers, the caregiver left with them can give them something that smells of their mother, and this can calm them down immediately, as stated by parenting. The item can be a t-shirt or blouse which reassures them that mommy is nearby. This method works because babies associate mom’s smell with comfort.
6 Express Love
Babies imitate a lot of what their mommy’s do, so if mom is used to showering them with love by kissing and hugging, you can be sure they will reciprocate the same, eventually. By the time the baby is a year older, she will be able to imitate most of her mother’s actions. If mom shows excitement through screaming, then she will most likely do the same.
Moms should not be surprised when they walk into the house after being away for some time and their babies run to them with hugs and kisses. According to parenting, babies above six months can show their affection towards mommy in very many adorable ways.
5 Become Clingy
Babies, who have experienced their mothers being away, tend to cling to mom before she goes and/or when she comes back, this is because they miss her when she is not around. They will not allow mom to put them down, even for a second, and may not allow anyone else to hold them, hence giving mom no option but to hold them for some period.
This can be exhausting for mom and according to babycenter, it may cause mom to feel guilty for leaving her baby with someone else and worry about him or her when she is away. Moms, however, should keep reminding themselves that the clinginess is just a phase and that their kid will outgrow it as they develop their independence.
4 Becoming Fussy
Whether they spend time in a daycare or with a loved one, babies tend to fuss when their mommy is away. They can seem unsettled, sad, and on the breach of crying. This is their way of showing mommy they miss them.
According to babyology, babies become fussy because they are not sure mom will come back. Often, moms sneak out when the baby is not aware though this is not always a good idea. Instead, they should foster trust between them by developing some sort of goodbye/see you later routine for every time mom has to leave. This is the baby’s way of giving mom permission to leave but she must make sure she comes back.
3 Gets Excited When They Finally See Mommy
Babies have their own ways of showing their mommies they miss them. They usually get very excited and jumpy when they see mom especially after she has been away for a while. By the time babies are six months, they can recognize their mothers very well and get excited just by seeing them walk through the door.
This is more than enough proof that babies miss their moms and have a great attachment to them. Moreover, moms should make sure they respond with the same enthusiasm because, according to parenting, face-to-face interaction is part of how babies learn about the concept of give-and-take.
2 Throw A Tantrum When Mommy Leaves
As babies grow, they get too attached to whoever is with them for the longest time, and in most cases, this is usually their mother. Whatever age the baby is, it is perfectly normal for them to lash out when mom leaves them with someone else, says babycenter.
According to babycenter, one way to help deal with tantrums is to have moms to spend time with their babies as a new caregiver is around. This shows them that mommy trusts the caregiver. Moms can also start by leaving for short periods only to run quick errands. When they get back after a short while, they reassure their babies that they will eventually come back when they go.
1 Develop Separation Anxiety
Some babies develop separation anxiety when mommies start leaving the house often. Separation anxiety starts at around eight months and gets worse as the child continues to grow. It eventually goes away gradually as the child matures and develops an interest in other things, according to raisingchildren.
This form of anxiety is normal and shows how well babies have bonded with their mothers. Moms can help their kids by leaving them in places or with people that they are familiar with. They can also ensure that they settle them with an enjoyable activity before they leave. It is a good idea to inform a child that their mom has left so that they do not get more upset when they notice that she is not around.
Sources: madeformums.com, babyology.com, parenting.com, psycom.net, babycenter.com, mummypages.ie, kidshealth.org, raisingchildren.net,webmd.com, parents.com