Just because the baby cannot intelligibly speak their mind, doesn’t mean infants are unaware of what’s going on around them. Babies may just display unique ways of letting the world know that they are pretty sentient, and they actively take a mental note of almost everything they can.
Babies might seem a bit manipulative, thanks to their angelic chubby cheeks, sparkling eyes, and how they can give a smile that melts the coldest of hearts. However, since babies are unable to use language and have limited mobility, they may give in to bouts of crying, flailing limbs, and cooing to get attention. Babies learn by interacting with the world.
Over the years that humans have existed, babies have gotten naturally good at knowing what to focus on, when to cry, and to let mom and the whole world know they exist. And with good reason too, because the baby behavior is necessary for survival, bonding, and learning how to fit into human society.
Before mom takes pause to consider consulting a baby whisperer or needs a refresher course on how amazingly intelligent their bundle of joy really is, check out this article instead. Mom may have thought to watch their words when their kid is a parroting toddler, but babies soak up more than some adults may realize.
15 There’s No Going Back In the Womb
When babies are in the womb, they live in a dark and watery world. After delivery, babies definitely know that their world has been changed forever, and it’s a much drier one at that.
According to Live Strong, newborns will keep themselves in the fetal position to stay warm, because they no longer live in a womb with a constant temperature.
Babies may be fascinated by how much room they have to outstretch their limbs, or need to squint their eyes often, as they get used to a brighter world. Babies may also be on the lookout for mom and are quick to respond to the curious noises around them.
Babies deal with shedding vernix, getting used to baths, and cozying up to mom to hear her heartbeat and feel safe. It takes some getting used to, so patience with a baby is a definite must.
14 Recognizes Voices And Holds Eye Contact To Prove It
Even though babies are very nearsighted at birth, and use their sense of smell to figure out who is in front of them, two people the baby readily recognizes is Mom and Dad. Growing up in the womb, it is so vital that a mom and dad talk to the baby bump often. Talking to the baby bump encourages baby to become familiar with their mother tongue, and validates their existence and value.
All while the baby is in the womb during pregnancy, exposure to a language, and making the baby part of conversations builds strong bonds.
Babies love to study faces and especially love looking at their parents for long periods of time.
Baby will make all efforts to turn their head in their mom’s direction, on hearing her voice. And baby’s eyes will look for their mother, and hold a loving gaze for minutes.
13 Crying Will Always Get Attention
Although babies grow up hearing the sound of their mom’s voice in the womb, and the noises of the outside world, it still takes many years to eventually develop speech.
Until baby learns how to communicate using gestures and words, crying is their first and main method of communicating.
Usually, babies will cry if they are hungry, need a diaper change, or simply want to be held. If a baby does not feel like they are not receiving enough attention, they may cry just to make sure that someone is around to care for them, as babies don’t like being alone for too long.
Crying is not only a way for baby to communicate their needs and wants, but it can trigger a nursing mother to begin producing breastmilk right away. So, if baby needs anything in a flash, just turn on the waterworks.
12 Warm Baths Are Really Nice
Bath time can be quite the event for mom and baby. Some of the bathtubs made for infants are so adorable, and come in the shape of animals, include fun bath toys, and have great safety features too.
Temperature regulation is difficult for a little baby because they have yet to develop the capability to shiver, or sweat. Aside from getting cozied up next to their mom’s chest, being wrapped in blankets, or wearing a onesie, bath time is another opportunity to get warm.
Getting the baby into a regular routine for bath time is not only good for promoting baby’s hygiene, but helps encourage bonding, learning, and brain growth according to U.S. News.
Bathing helps baby stimulate their cognitive skills, sense of touch, and relaxes a little one.
Bath time can be a stress reliever for both baby and mom, which is a welcome event for a full day.
11 Recognizes Their Favorite Song From Before Birth
If the baby is breaking out into coos, bopping their head happily, or smiling from ear to ear, it might because they recognize a familiar piece of music. The world inside mom’s womb is not a silent one, and being surrounded by fluid can amplify sounds that baby picks up.
As a fun game to play with the baby or soothe them to sleep, mom can play pieces of music that she listened to while pregnant. It can be a lot of fun seeing a baby light up in response to a familiar song, that both mom and baby listened to often.
According to the Washington Post, the comfort of familiarity is something that many babies respond to positively, as they get used to life outside the womb. The type of music that baby is exposed to may stimulate brain development, building skills to meet milestones, and bonding.
10 Know Exactly Who Mom Is By Smell
Eyesight and hearing are not the only two senses that a baby relies on heavily to survive in the world.
The sense of smell is also important for a baby, who uses their nose to scout out their mother’s location and her breastmilk.
Even if mom decides to put on a new perfume, or bathes in a scented soap, the baby will figure out who their mom is despite. Mom may freak out if she is too tired to catch up on a shower or bath, but her baby will love her smell anyway.
A baby’s ability to be able to smell whether someone is the mom or not is a matter of survival, feeling safe, and making sure to get their needs met. According to WebMD the power of smell helps babies develop strong bonds to their mother.
9 If The Diaper Is Dirty
When a baby is in the womb they eliminate their waste without much worry. However, once the baby is living outside of their mom, and has to deal with answering the call of nature, mom is prepared for diaper duty.
Diapers can be a bit tricky for babies and moms because if a baby is wet, the diaper might not necessarily give that away. Unless mom is using those diapers that have images that disappear when the baby makes a wee. Diaper rash may have a higher chance of occurring if baby does not get changed soon enough, which can be problematic.
Babies will resort to crying to communicate. And according to The Bump, moms do have sensitive babes, who will cry out for a diaper change at the slightest tinkle of wee, or if they have heavily soiled themselves from a movement.
8 If The Baby Is Hungry
Many moms may stress over whether they are feeding their little one enough to grow big and strong. Some moms may overfeed their babies out of worry. Babies do lose a bit of weight in their first months but soon regain it back.
Starting out, newborns will readily accept food very often, since their stomachs don’t hold their meals of milk or formula for long.
Sometimes a baby will not want to eat much because they are ill or going through a growth spurt. When in doubt, consulting a pediatrician is helpful. It is also good to keep track of the baby’s patterns for eating, soiled diapers, or fussiness.
According to Healthy Children, a baby when hungry will communicate with crying, sucking on their fingers, making smacking noises with their mouth, and going for the girls to be nursed.
7 Where The Breastmilk Is Located
When learning the ropes of breastfeeding, mom may focus on getting a good latch with the baby, or worry whether they produce enough breastmilk to keep baby sated. One reason mom should relax a little is that baby naturally knows how to scout out the girls to get fed.
Baby’s sense of smell is really amazing, as well as their sense of touch, and hearing.
According to Parenting, a baby knows their mom, and when hungry or seeking comfort, will use their nose and hands to find their way to mom for some milk.
Yes, the baby may need some help getting a good latch, and making sure to get the nips exactly in their mouth so nursing won’t be uncomfortable or distressing for mom or baby. However, mom should realize that their baby’s natural built-in senses really help guide baby in a positive trajectory.
6 Has Good Sense Of Taste
The tongue is an amazing muscle within the human mouth and is covered in tiny taste buds to help humans distinguish what tastes good and tastes bad. The two biggest flavors that babies already know at an early age, is the difference between sweet and bitter.
Of course, babies readily take to sweet things, and that includes breastmilk. Many babies would much rather go to their mother for breastmilk than a bottle of formula because they can definitely taste the stark difference. Babies naturally want the good stuff in life.
Babies also recognize certain flavor changes in milk quality too. Depending on what mom eats, according to ABC News, the baby develops a lot of their food preferences and related behaviors, based on mom’s breastmilk. Babies who are breastfed tend to be more open and willing to try new foods, versus formula-fed infants.
5 Friends, Family And Pets Are Different Than Mom
A baby quickly learns to identify the touch and smell of their mother. Although friends, family, and siblings may be well-meaning, a baby may feel unease if held in the arms of someone that is not their mother. And baby uses their nose and sense of touch to tell the difference.
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a baby develops a preference for the smell of their mother.
This is a matter of instinct and survival to feel safe and warm.
Babies learn a lot by staring or focusing on people and objects. Plus, babies can only focus on things that are about 8 to 10 inches in front of them, because their vision needs time to develop. Even if a sibling is flashing a neat looking toy, the baby might not care unless it has a sharp black-and-white contrast, or because they’re not mom.
4 Needs Help Getting Around
In the womb, baby got used to being in a really teeny tiny living space. The newfound freedom to be able to stretch out limbs can be terrifying and is one reason many parents choose to swaddle their infants for warmth and safety.
Cuddling, holding, nestling, and stoking a baby on the head or abdomen can help them feel more secure or safe. When babies are interested in what’s going on, in response to a noise, or mom’s voice, they may struggle to lift their head or flail their limbs.
Unlike the watery world where the baby could swim around until they outgrew the space, in the outside world, baby realizes they are not going anywhere without help.
Of course, mom and others may hear crying, whimpers, coos, or see outstretched limbs motioning they want to be picked up.
3 That They Are Loved By Their Mom
Love is a very powerful emotion that is intrinsic to the baby developing into a healthy, well-adjusted human. A baby who gets touched, cuddled, sung to, and doted on with loving vibes by their mother and others thrives on being loved. Babies know when they are being mistreated, feel abandoned, and are not being loved, and it can severely damage their health, physically and psychologically.
Humans are social creatures, and babies especially need to be loved, cared for and feel genuinely loved and wanted to feel safe, desire to grow and to spark cognitive skills necessary to survive.
It does help that Mother Nature uses hormones, which are released shortly after the baby is born, when mom nurses a baby, or when a baby is being coddled to create strong bonds, and health benefits.
2 Smiling And Cooing Get Attention
As baby gets used to the world around them, studying the faces of those who live with them, making noises to get responses, and adjusting to more leg room, babies realize that attention matters.
No mom should think that in the early months of life that baby is being spoiled by all the attention they may receive.
A baby takes in a lot of information, eventually using it to learn how to speak their language, use gestures, and how to integrate into the social fabric of their family and society.
Babies realize that they can make cooing or gurgling noises to communicate with their parents, according to Kids Health. Of course, crying may be the default reaction for a lot of things. But, baby loves getting good attention for smiling, cooing, and having conversations with mom or dad.
1 Those Strange Noises Mom Makes Is Language
Even if baby can’t repeat exactly what they hear, they are always listening. Babies are like little sponges, soaking up as much information about them as they can. Baby may have a moment of fussiness, and they will take to crying to get attention or voice their disapproval.
However, one reason that baby may fall silent and stare at mom or dad in awe is that they are listening with intense focus. Babies know that they are being spoken to because they heard people speaking to them when inside the baby bump.
Just as some adults may think that a baby’s babbling, coos, and crying amounts to a bunch of strange noises. Baby may think that adults are making some strange noises too. Except for the baby, just as a loving mom and dad, know that it’s a path toward developing communication and language skills.
References: Parenting Science, Parenting, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pediatrics Services, Kids Health, Healthy Children, Washington Post, Live Science, Todays Parent, Hopkins Medicine, Science Mag, Live Strong, Web MD, The Bump, US News, ABC News