How Your Baby Learns to Love

Showing Their Love

Before 8 months of age, a baby's signs of affection are rather subtle. That is, until stranger anxiety and separation anxiety kick in. Hand your baby to a relative or babysitter -- even someone he's met before -- and he'll cry for you. As flattering as this may seem at first, it'll get old if hysteria sets in every time you leave the room. Fortunately, separation anxiety will lessen over time, and the same tactics you've always employed to make sure your baby feels save and secure -- meeting his needs and showing him love -- will give him the security to explore relationships with others.

It's also around this time that babies start to demonstrate affection for their peers, provided they've spent lots of time with other babies. The signs may be subtle: Your 9-month-old lights up when a friend comes over and is sad when he leaves. You may also notice that as soon as your baby can crawl, he'll go to one special friend, adds Cohen.

Around the 1-year mark, babies learn affectionate behaviors such as kissing. It starts as an imitative behavior, says Lyness, but as a baby repeats these behaviors and sees that they bring happy responses from the people he's attached to, he becomes aware that he's pleasing the people he loves. As a result, your baby will start to use these behaviors more frequently.

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment