Stranger anxiety and nightmares

I have been a stay-at-home mom since my 18-month-old daughter was born. Now that I'm back at work she is in day care. She seemed fine the first two days but then started having horrible nightmares. I trust her day-care provider but I'm concerned because she has been very sad when normally she's a very joyful little girl. I am also postponing weaning her from the breast, due to her distress. I am hoping you could give me ideas to help ease her transition.


This is indeed a difficult problem. At 18 months, your daughter is at the prime age for stranger anxiety. This is a developmental stage where the child first realizes clearly that her mother is a separate being, and different from other people. When she is gone, the child misses her and often reacts strongly. This may be what is going on in your daughter's situation.

Certainly, I agree with your decision not to wean your daughter completely at this time. She needs the extra comfort and support. Also, taking a day off to be with her in the middle of the week is a wonderful idea. It would be ideal if you could stay home with her until she's two, or or even three, so she could spend most of the day with you. I understand that this may not be possible financially, but if it is, then that is what I would advise. As your daughter turns two, the lure of playing with other children will become stronger and it will be easier to leave her in a day-care environmentonce she has learned to have fun and play with other children.

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