How do you know if your baby likes you? Most mums have had a moment where they’ve wondered, particularly if they’ve been up all night with a crying baby and aren’t feeling the love from their little bundle of supposed joy. Here are some signs your baby likes you (yes, you!) a whole lot.
- Making eye contact. Does your baby look at you, particularly at your eyes and mouth? When you’re holding her close or feeding her, does she look into your eyes? When they are born, babies don’t have very good eyesight, but they can see the shapes of your face and mouth, and if you are holding them close, they will look at your eyes — particularly if they sense other familiar things about you, such as your smell or the sound of your heartbeat. Looking into your eyes is a sign your baby is interested in you and wants to be with you.
- Relaxing when you hold them. When you pick up your baby, particularly if they are crying and upset, do they “melt” into your embrace and relax their body? Do they wriggle around a bit in order to find their “spot” against you, and fall asleep? If your baby is comfortable and wants you to hold them, they will relax into your arms or against your chest or shoulder and (eventually) quiet down and go to sleep. Or they will relax in your arms and look at you intently, or let you feed them without fuss. Sometimes it’s not immediate, so if your baby is really upset or fussy and won’t settle, don’t think it’s because they don’t like you — it just takes them some time to give in and calm down.
- Mouthing you. Does your baby “root” at your chest to find the breast, or open their mouth when they look at you? Babies have a heightened sense of smell, particularly for their mothers — studies have shown that babies can identify their mothers simply by smell. Your unique and personal smell is comforting to your baby, and one of the things that will help strengthen your bond. So if your baby sometimes seems to be trying to latch on to your shoulder or hand, or they’re opening their mouth like a little fishie when they look at you, it’s a sign they want to be near you.
- Turning toward your voice. Babies can hear sounds as early as 20 weeks into pregnancy, and even before they are born, your voice is soothing and comforting to them. Newborns will become quiet when they hear their mother speaking, and older babies will turn their heads and bodies (when they are developmentally ready) toward the sound of your voice.
- Smiling at you. Between six weeks and three months of age, your baby will grace you with their first smile. And then they will start practising something called “social smiling” — they work out pretty quickly that if they smile at you, you will smile or coo back at them, so they continue to try to elicit a reaction from you by smiling more and more. Soon you’ll be able to smile first, and they’ll smile back at you. They want to interact with you, and this social smiling will help forge that connection.
BUMP & baby is New Zealand’s only magazine for pregnancy and early babyhood. Our team of mums and mums-to-be understand what it’s like to be pregnant in this connected age, and that’s why BUMP & Baby online is geared toward what pregnant women and new mums really want to know.
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