Being a mother, I thought I would bond with my baby as soon as she is born. But my little one was a bit more inclined towards her father. After birth, when the nurse took her to the nursery, her father accompanied her and spoke the same loving and caring words he used to do when I was pregnant. It turns out she remembered all things he said and turned her neck towards him with a sweet smile on her face.
“The connection and the love between them were so obvious that you could see how much they were getting to know each other in person. Now she got to know the face behind that voice. It was one of the most precious moments we have ever witnessed.”, said my colleague, who has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl.
A baby’s relationships with her parents or caregivers doesn’t begin when they are born; it actually starts in the womb. Babies can hear the voices of the people surrounding them during their fetal life. After birth, they start to recognize a face with that familiar voice they’ve heard for so long.
Studies have shown that babies start to recognize their parent’s voices in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. More precisely, they would recognize their mother’s voice in the 16th week of gestation and father’s voice in the 32nd week of gestation.
Who does my baby recognize first? Mama or dada?
Babies are closer with their mothers and spend most of the time with them. During fetal life, it’s their mother’s voice that they can hear more than any other voice. This is the reason that they can differentiate between their mother’s voice quite precisely.
Another reason why infants recognize their mother first is because of the smell of the amniotic fluid they can sense from their mother’s body.
If the mother is breastfeeding, the newborn will bond with her faster because they can taste amniotic fluid in breastmilk, making them feel familiar with their mother.
Fathers, you can bond with your little one too!
You can have a strong bond with your baby before birth; what you can do is talk to your baby while it’s in the womb.
- Talk about how was your day at work
- Say some good affirmation sentences and loving words
- Tell your baby how much you love her
- Read a bedtime story or sing a lullaby
The voice will be muffled but your baby will recognize you!
You’ll notice that after birth, your baby will respond to you when you’ll repeat these words and sentences. She’ll try to connect more with you, turn head towards you or pass a sweet smile.
Does my baby recognize me as a father?
Infants and babies have poorly developed vision and can only see clearly within 15cm of difference, the vision is blurred in the first 3 months. On the other hand, young infants don’t usually differentiate between the concept of mother, father, or stranger.
This is a little too complex for them to understand at this level. However, they will prefer you over any other person they don’t usually interact with. Little ones are usually centered around themselves.
Don’t be lament if your baby doesn’t recognize you; her brain just hasn’t developed much yet to differentiate between people. She isn’t able to differentiate between herself and another person also.
T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., founding father of the Child Development Unit at Children’s Hospital Boston, says in an interview:
We [the Child Development Unit at Children’s Hospital Boston] have evidence from our own work that the newborn baby knows the father’s voice and face within the first 14 days. By six to eight weeks, a baby has an entirely different behavioral set for the father than the mother. To me, this shows the passion baby has for two different ways [between mother and father] to react to his or her world. The baby sets the tone.T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.
How can I bond with my baby? I don’t feel it that way…
Many fathers by all means find it very difficult to bond with their newborn baby especially their first child.
Despite all the efforts, they don’t feel connected with their newborn, either fear or anxious. Or maybe they aren’t sure what they feel as they experience a mixture of emotions they cannot fully understand, and it’s totally normal!
Of course, mothers have more time to spend with their baby, and somehow they have developed the bond even before birth. It’s the feeling mother has felt for 9 months, so it’s not new for her except baby blues. You want to take care of your partner and your baby.
Bonding with a baby is not rocket science; take some time out daily and spend it with your baby. Her little giggles and sweet smile will make you fall in love with her in no time! Babies are a little bundle of joy, and they know how to make anyone fall in love with them!
- Have some tummy time and skin to skin contact
- If you are feeding formula milk then feed her once or twice a day
Studies have shown that those fathers who bond with their babies as soon as they are can feel the same hormonal connection with their father as they would feel with their mothers.
Bond while playing
Fathers have an advantage as they are the ones who play with their babies a lot. That parent who is a mood changer can bring out most giggles anyone else could. Every tummy time, peek a boo, and blowing raspberries is an investment in building trust in future development.
Making your baby giggle and laugh in fits is a pure joy being a parent
- Nodding head
- Playing peek a boo under sheets
- Sucking thumb
- Blowing raspberries
- Rustling a shopper or paper bag
Spending quality time with your baby and after when she grows up is crucial for her developmental milestones. And who knows, she might say the word “Dada” first (team dad wins) woohoo!
Will my baby forget me if I go away?
As babies can only detect faces within 15cm distance in the first few months, they aren’t yet able to remember your face for a long time.
They lack object permanence and don’t believe that something exists when it’s out of sight. So next time you are doing peek a boo remembers that when out of sight they think that you don’t exist.
What does baby stares at you a lot?
Until 5 months old your infant’s eyesight is developing but you’ll notice that now she has started to control her eye movements, they fine and precise.
At this stage, the baby starts to stare a lot at different objects and people because now they are able to remember and recognize a variety of objects and faces.
Do babies know their father’s voice?
Recent studies have shown that babies do remember familiar sounds they’ve heard during fetal life. However, they wouldn’t precisely remember your voice or your relation with them.
But after birth, if you repeat those exact same words you used to say during pregnancy, you’ll notice that your baby will turn her towards you or smile when you sing a lullaby.
Do babies instinctively know their fathers?
Babies don’t possess the ability to understand complex relations like parents. During the early stages, they are focused and centered around themselves, fairly ego-centric at this stage.
Your baby wouldn’t know or understand that you are her father but she can recognize and differentiate your voice out of many voices quite precisely.
How do babies know who their dad is?
After birth as a new parent, you are trying to understand your little one, at the same time your baby is trying to associate with you in certain ways and gestures.
By 3 months babies are able to recognize faces quite fairly, your voice clearly, and know your body’s scent.
Does my baby miss me when I’m off to work?
As described previously babies lack object permanence, this means that when your baby can’t see you she thinks you’ve gone forever they don’t understand day or time.
So if you baby is 6 month or old and you’ve gone out for some time, they can’t understand when will you come back and can become sad or irritable.
Babies are a precious little bundle of joy; they bring on happy moments in their parents’ life from just the moment they are born. All of the life is centered around their baby. They want to bond with their little munchkin as soon as possible, want to know what she likes and what makes her giggle.
Although fathers don’t bear their child for 9 months, there are certain ways they can bond with their little one during fetal life. From singing lullaby’s to saying positive words to your child, you can have a really nice trustworthy relationship with your child later in life.
Babies are thirsty for love and care. The more you make them feel loved, the more they get attached to you.