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Q&A: Stranger Anxiety

Dr. Christine Wood, M.D


Q My daughter is 8 months old, and does not like strangers. My husband and I have to leave her with a babysitter in a month, and I am worried that she will scream the whole time I am gone. Is there anything I can do to make this transition easier for her and the sitter? And, what can the sitter do if the baby cries the whole time I am gone?

A This is common at this stage of development. You did not mention how long you will need to be gone when you are leaving in a month. If it is for a very extended period of time, you may want to have the sitter come over for little bits before this event. It is normal for babies to cry when you first leave. Most babies will settle down after 20 or 30 minutes. Occasionally, you get the very stubborn baby who can seem to cry the whole time. The sitter can try to distract the baby, go for a walk, or take the baby outside. This is just a stage, and usually becomes easier with time and easier the more frequently you use a sitter.

Christine Wood, MD

Click here to Ask Dr. Christine Wood questions about your baby's health

Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She attended the University of Detroit for her undergraduate degree in chemistry and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She was Chief Resident there and then worked in the emergency room at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. After three years doing pediatric emergency room medicine she went into private practice. She received her lactation educator certification from the University of California, San Diego.

She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. The book also covers information about environmental threats and the role of nutritional supplementation for children. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Christine is also the cofounder of Call Your a website designed to give concerned parents with non-emergency medical questions, solid, no-nonsense information that can give them information in deciding when to call the doctor and some home treatment advice. You can visit her website at

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