20 Little Ways The Newborn Is Saying ILY

Caring for a newborn can sometimes feel like a thankless job. Parents feed, burp, bathe, change, rock and bounce their babies without getting much in return other than shrill cries that alert them it’s time to repeat the process all over again.

As babies grow up, they will begin to show signs of their affection through giggles, tight squeezes and eventually through the words they learn to speak. In the meantime, some new parents may wonder if their new addition cares about them and the tireless hours they are putting in to care for their babies.

Colleen Fisher Tully shared in an article she wrote for Today’s Parent, “The early weeks with my daughter were an endless blur of thankless days and nights. She fed every 90 minutes, cried for hours in the evening, and resisted sleep most of the time. But I’ll never forget the first time I saw love beaming out from my baby’s face.”

Debbie Laible, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Lehigh University wants new parents to remember that “attachment is a process.” It can be difficult for caregivers to determine exactly what their precious bundles of joy are doing to show their love, but it is possible to detect ways that the baby is falling for Mom more and more every day, and how he is communicating his feelings of love. Read on for 20 ways newborns are saying ILY.

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20 He Follows Mom's Voice

Your voice is a unique part of you that your baby has known from the very beginning. Tully explains, “As early as 16 weeks in utero, babies have been listening in on Mom, Dad, siblings and anyone else Mom is around frequently--even the family dog.”

Pediatrician Michelle Ponti advises parents to talk, read and sing to Baby as much as possible while he is in the womb. If parents follow this advice, by the time baby arrives, he’ll be familiar with the voices of those who love him, and be primed to turn towards them.

According to Claire Watson, a registered psychotherapist in Toronto, “[Babies] can’t talk, but they can communicate by gazing. They can wriggle and move their head from side to side.” When you talk and your baby turns your way, he’s showing you he knows who you are, and loves it when he hears your familiar sound.

19 She Snuggles Up Close

Quiet moments spent getting to know Baby are some of the most wonderful a new parent can experience. When you cuddle up with your little one and she rests against you with her full weight, it’s a sign she simply adores you.

Watson explains that babies are familiar with mom’s heartbeat and unique movements by the time they are born. For this reason, they feel safe, comforted and secure when they nestle against mom’s chest for a good snuggle.

According to Tully, “The more consistently babies receive warmth, nourishment and comfort from parents, the more they’ll respond to their embraces with calmness and the occasional wriggle to get as close as possible.”

18 He Gazes At His Parents

When Baby looks at you with an expression of adoration and appreciation, it’s a sure sign he’s in love.

Tully writes of the moment she realized her daughter loved her, “I was on the phone with my colleague, pacing around the room while my three-month-old slept in her bassinet. When my colleague asked about my daughter, I remember saying ‘Oh, she’s asleep--’ as I looked in her direction. But her little eyes were open, shining at me as she tracked my movements...I walked closer and her eyes shone even brighter.”

According to Watson, “The baby is sending signals that they want to attach, they want comfort, and they want an emotional response back.” She explains, “Even if they’re well fed, it’s not just food they need, it’s the emotional connection too.”

17 She Babbles And Coos When Mom Is Near

Little ones won’t utter their first words for quite some time after their arrivals, but this doesn’t mean they'll wait until they can speak to communicate, or to voice their adoration for their caregivers.

When babies cry, it’s usually a sign they are in need of something: food, a diaper change or some comfort, but wailing and whimpering aren’t the only ways Baby will tell you how he’s feeling. When babies coo, babble and squeal with delight, they are attempting to communicate the love they feel for you.

Tully shares, “I remember when my daughter first made a ‘Hey you!’ noise at me with an expression to match. Though the sound may have been indiscernible, the message was clear: she needed me.”

16 He Uses Mom As A Shield

Newborns arrive without any prior knowledge about the world around them. They leave the comfort and warmth of a womb and are thrown into a strange environment filled with unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells.

It only makes sense that life as an infant can be overwhelming. When your baby calms down as you hold him close or sing to him softly, it’s a sign that you are familiar to him. You are his safe place. You are home to him.

In short, your baby uses you as a shield from the bombardment of new colors, shapes, people and experiences he deals with every day. When he wants to be near you, he’s showing you in his own special way how much he loves you.

15 She Prefers Her Parents Over Others

Newborns arrive without any prior knowledge about the world around them. They leave the comfort and warmth of a womb and are thrown into a strange environment filled with unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells.

It only makes sense that life as an infant can be overwhelming. When your baby calms down as you hold him close or sing to him softly, it’s a sign that you are familiar to him. You are his safe place. You are home to him.

In short, your baby uses you as a shield from the bombardment of new colors, shapes, people and experiences he deals with every day. If he calms down when you are nearby, he’s showing you in his own special way how much he loves you.

14 He Imitates Mom And Dad

It has been said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and as your Baby grows and matures, he’ll prove how much he loves everything about you by mimicking things you do.

You may notice your baby sticking his tongue out at you when you stick yours out at him first or smiling his biggest smile right after you flash your pearly whites at him. He may even be lulled to sleep simply by hearing your breathing slow and seeing your eyes close as you drift off while holding him close.

Parenting.com explains that, according to Laible, “[Children] imitate the activities and behaviors of the people they love most,” Babies are no exception.

13 She Latches On To A Lovey

As Baby gets a little older, she may latch on to some sort of an object like a blanket, stuffed animal or binkie.

According to Gopnik, these attachments represent the love your baby feels for you. She explains, “It represents your love, but in a way your child can control.”

Parenting.com advises, “Let your child keep [her] lovey close by in situations where he might feel insecure, if that’s possible. Don’t worry that there’s some set time to get rid of it, as with a bottle. Chances are [she] won’t be clutching it as [she] walks down the aisle on [her] wedding day.”

12 He Stares At Mama

When you catch your baby staring, it’s a sure sign he’s falling hard for you. According to Laible, Baby is able to recognize Mom’s smell and voice from the very beginning of his life.

Julie Braungart-Rieker, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame explains that most babies don’t form permanent emotional attachments until they are approximately 7 or 8 months old, but this doesn’t mean Baby doesn’t love you from the very beginning.

Parenting.com explains, “The next step is linking those sounds and smells he trusts with something he can see. That’s why he’ll start studying your face as if he’s trying to memorize it. In a way, he is. He’s making sure he knows what comfort--and love--looks like.”

11 She Gives Kisses

One of the most heart-melting things your baby may do to show she loves you is shower you with slobbery kisses.

Speaking about her new daughter, one mom shared with Parenting.com, “When I ask my daughter Evvi for a smooch, she scrunches up her nose, tilts back her head and then swoops up to my face and plants her lips on mine. She totally melts my heart!”

According to Richard Gallagher, Ph.D., director of the Parenting Institute at the NYU Child Study Center, the enthusiasm described by this mom shows that little Evvi has been paying attention to how her caregivers show their affection, and she wants in on the action. The site explains, “Babies are eager learners when it comes to physical affection, and there’s no one they’d rather practice on than Mom and Dad.”

10 He Reaches Out For Mom

A sure sign that your baby is your biggest fan is when he reaches out for you whenever you are nearby, but not already holding him close.

Speaking about her son Leo, Kerry Smith of Prescott, Arizona told Parenting.com, “When someone else is holding him and I walk up, he’ll twist his body toward me and hold out his arms.”

The site goes on to explain that when babes hold out their arms to you, “It’s a body-language expression of how much they’ve come to trust and adore [you].” It’s a truly heartwarming gesture that will never get old.

9 She Bounces, Wiggles And Cheers Around Mom And Dad

As the bond between you and your baby begins to strengthen, you may notice your baby reacting more and more to your presence, or lack thereof.

If you notice your baby kicking her legs and arms or being extra vocal when you enter the room after being gone for a few hours, or even a few minutes, it’s a sure sign she’s in love. She may also wail when you leave, proving she adores you so much, she never wants the two of you to be apart, and celebrates when you are reunited.

Parenting.com explains, “Babies this age do their emotions big, so whether it’s heartbreak that you’re gone or earth-shaking excitement that you’re back, one thing is clear: You are loved.”

8 He Bats His Lashes

When your baby grins at you, gives you meaningful glances, and looks away from you then back again, he’s totally crushing on you. As he gets older, and adjusts to life on the outside, he won’t be able to take his eyes off of you.

Gopnik explains, “Within a month or so of being born, babies respond to the facial expressions of their mothers and without thinking about it, the moms start doing it right back.”

Experts encourage caregivers to return the flirtatious faces made by their coquettish tots. Gilkerson explains, “Face-to-face interaction is a part of how babies learn about positive give-and-take.”

7 She Is Comforted By Her Parents

If your little one calms down or stops crying when you pick her up, it’s a sure sign she is forming a bond with you that will last a lifetime.

The familiar smell and sound of mom comfort her, but the person who gave birth to Baby isn’t the only one who can calm her down.

According to BabyCenter.com, “A father’s touch can be just as calming as a mother’s. A study of premature babies in neonatal intensive care units found that attention from Dad can have profound, long-lasting benefits. The babies who received regular visits from their dads gained more weight in the hospital.”

6 He Cries When Mom Leaves

As the bond between you and your precious bundle of joy grows and deepens, he may began to show his love for you by crying when you leave him, and celebrating upon your return.

Gilkerson explains, “Separation anxiety is a sign he knows that the person he loves is different from others, and he’s beginning to have object permanence--an understanding that people and things don’t disappear the minute they’re out of sight.”

Gopnik adds that caregivers should remember that when they leave Baby, he will be just fine while they are away. She also notes that leaving Baby teaches him that, although he misses you, you will always come back for him.

5 She Recognizes Her Parents' Smell

In a recent study, researchers placed newborns between two breast pads, one of which belonged to the little ones’ mamas. The infants were able to recognize the scent of the one they were most familiar with, and turned towards the pads that belonged to their mothers.

Believe it or not, Baby is able to recognize the smell of her mother from the moment she enters the world. In fact, Mom’s scent is one of the first things that helps Baby to bond with her.

Immediately following her arrival, Baby may begin to root around searching for Mom’s milk, and he often automatically turns towards his source of nourishment.

4 He Wants Mommy Around

Does your baby seem all around happier and calmer when you are nearby? This is a simple-yet-sure sign he’s in love.

According to BabyCenter.com, “Your baby will care deeply about the people who hold [him] when [he’s] hungry. [He’ll] miss you when you leave the room, and [he’ll] be happy when you come back. It’s not exactly ‘love’ as adults define it, but it’s one of the strongest emotions your baby knows.”

Go ahead and shower your baby with as much love as you can muster. The site adds, “It’s impossible to spoil a baby with love, attention and affection. When you comfort your child, you’re building a foundation of trust and affection that will last a lifetime.”

3 She Talks And Responds

Baby talk another way your little one shows she is all about her caregiver. As previously mentioned, if she’s talking up a storm, she’s trying to communicate her affection, even if she isn’t making one bit of sense.

Experts agree that one of the best ways to help your baby learn to speak is to set a good example. When your baby babbles, carry on a conversation that makes sense, at least on your end, and your bond with your baby will continue to strengthen.

WebMD.com states, “Babies love to hear you talk--especially to them, and especially in warm, happy voices. Babies learn to speak by imitating the sounds they hear around them...The more you talk to your baby, the faster [she] will learn to acquire speech and language skills.”

2 He Shares Mom And Dad's Interests

The world of a newborn is a small one. His life is a constant cycle of eating, sleeping, being changed and starting the process all over again. His interests may be few, but one of the things he’s definitely interested in is his caregiver.

As he grows older, you may find your baby showing interest in the things you do and say. He may see you eating with a spoon and reach out for it in an attempt to communicate that he too wants to give holding a spoon a try.

Along with attempting to imitate things you do and say, as he gets older, your baby will want to do everything you do. No pressure, but Baby is always watching and learning from his favorite person: you.

1 She Smiles

According to Watson, it doesn’t take long for babies to learn that when they smile, their caregiver usually gives them a smile in return.

She explains, “When you respond to a smile as if the baby intended it, you set up this expectation for the baby: When I do this, someone responds. And that’s a good thing.”

Remember, like all good things, the beautiful bonds formed between caregivers and their newborns take time. “Babies are primed to fall in love, but love is earned,” Watson explains. “Parents who fall in love with their little babies have babies who fall in love with them.”

Sources: TodaysParent.com, Parenting.com, WebMD.com, BabyCenter.com

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