When you hold your baby for the first time after delivery, you will feel a profound sense of love. It’s no wonder most parents call this day the happiest of their lives. You’ll immediately feel that strong attachment and feel committed to keeping your offspring safe and happy forever. When you bring baby home and start your new life, you might begin to wonder whether or not your baby feels the same way about you. Sure, she needs you to take care of her—but does she love you? I decided to research the topic when a friend of mine was explaining how she felt as though her four-month-old has finally started showing signs of affection, such as smiling and grasping her arm. As it turns out, babies probably can’t feel the emotion of “love” as we know it at such a young age. Their brains are not fully developed, and love is a complex feeling, as it involves many levels of caring and trust. However, as your offspring, there is no doubt your baby feels attachment and positive emotions. One way you’ll be able to tell is with her eye contact.

By the time your baby is eight weeks old, she will start making eye contact with you. As you’ll proudly notice, she’ll rarely do this with strangers. When this happens, your baby is actually taking a mental picture and studying your face. She is making sure she recognizes you and you only, since you are the caregiver and protector. Eventually, her same gaze will be a sign that she recognizes you, and her face will light up with joy when she sees you.  You think it’s adorable now, but wait until you have to leave that gazing, loving face behind at daycare for the first time; you’ll wish you were blind!

In other words, your newborn baby’s stare is actually a sign of neurological growth. It means that her brain is developing swiftly, and that she instinctively realizes that sticking by your side is in her best interest. If your baby doesn’t seem to have this gaze by eight weeks, don’t panic, but bring it up with your doctor. For a little while, her recognition could translate to her getting fussy when you hand her off to relatives. If your baby gives you that loving gaze, gaze right back and be proud, because you’re doing a great job as a mom.

Source: Tina Bruce: Early Childhood. A Guide for Education Students Edition 2 2010

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