Does my baby love me?

Q: I fell in love with my baby the instant I laid eyes on him -- did he feel the same?

A: We wish we could tell you that the fierce, amazing love you feel for your precious newborn was mutual from the start, but that wouldn't be entirely honest. The thing is, your baby does not have anything approximating the life experience and self-awareness you have, so by necessity this thing called "love" means something very different to each of you. Not only can you put your strong feelings into words, but you also go out of your way to show your baby how much you care -- picking him up when he's upset and feeding him when he's hungry. Your baby's tokens of affection are naturally more limited. When a baby bonds to his parent, he can't clearly express it. But rest assured, you are the center of his universe. From very early on, your baby will turn his head when you speak even when there are several women chatting in the room. Plus, in addition to recognizing Mom's voice, babies can distinguish her unique smell and methods of soothing. --Hagar Scher

Originally published in Parents magazine, October 2006. Updated 2009

Answered by Parents Team

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