Baby's Inherited Behaviors

Just Like You

Your baby's facial expressions

Around her daughter's first birthday, RaeAnn Ulane noticed that whenever Maddie was concentrating, she tilted her head to her side and stuck her tongue out of her mouth. "That is a father's-side-of-the-family characteristic, without a doubt," says the New Castle, Colorado, mom. "Maddie, Daddy, and Grandpa all do it. We call it the Ulane Tongue Trait."

Surprisingly, studies have found that family members often use the same quirky facial expressions to convey emotions such as anger, sadness, and yes, deep focus -- and that those signature looks usually appear by the time a baby is 6 months old. It's not only a matter of your kid playing copycat: In a recent Israeli study, researchers found that even people who were born blind made facial expressions closely resembling those of their family members. So the squinty eyes and pursed lips your baby gets when she has a bite of green beans? Take a good, long look in the mirror before you laugh.

Your baby's sleep patterns

You wished on every star that you'd give birth to a champion sleeper, but your little guy probably had his own tendencies from the get-go. Sleep needs may run in the family, according to a study in the journal Science. If your favorite hobby is napping on the couch, you could luck out with a baby who loves to snooze as much as you do (although he may require your help getting on a healthy sleep schedule). But watch out: Insomnia and stress-related tossing and turning are also genetically linked. If you struggle to doze, your mini- me might be similarly wired for more wide-awake time.

One mother even suspects that her child inherited her favorite shut-eye position. Rachel Renshaw was regaling her husband with how adorable their son, Jace, looked when sleeping with his hands neatly clasped behind his head -- until her husband burst out laughing. "Jeremy told me that I lie the exact same way Jace does when I'm in a deep sleep," says the Charlotte, North Carolina, mom.

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