Everyone needs to feel loved. It’s the kind of emotion and motivation we all use to get through our days and enjoy our lives. Our families may be our primary sources of love, or it might be our friends or chosen family. As mothers, we feel loved by our babies, too. But do we actually know that our babies feel the same way? How can we know that our babies feel loved? Must we wait for them to finally say those words to us when they’re 2, or 3, or 5? Or are there other signs we can focus on before they're able to verbally communicate?
It really isn’t all that different than figuring out if an adult feels loved. Adults might show they feel loved by stating the fact, or by acting very comfortably around those they feel loved by. They might express gratitude when given a gift, or when receiving another act of kindness. Perhaps they return the favors to those they feel loved by, or share more of themselves and open up if they feel loved and trusted.
Babies, however, can’t really get us one of those “World’s Best Mom” mugs. They certainly can’t write a Facebook post about it, either. So what can they do to let us know they’re feeling secure in the love that we shower them with? Here's a start:
They Smile A Lot
Babies don’t smile right out of the womb, but it doesn’t take them too long to figure it out. It’s not to say that babies who don't smile as often somehow feel unloved, or that a baby smile can mean something else entirely (like a case of gas, for example). But if you had to take a guess at one sign they’re feeling the love, a smile would be a good start.
They Give Kisses
Most people reserve kisses for people they care about. In fact, these days many will admit that they feel that kissing is more intimate than sex, which might surprise some folks. But when we talk about babies, it’s a safe assumption that they will peck at your cheek or hand when they feel loved by you.
They Coo & Try To “Talk” To You
No one wants to talk to someone they don’t like or don’t get along with. Babies likely wouldn’t want to, either, but they know you love them, mama, and that’s one reason why they may be doing their best to coo and communicate with you as best they can.
They Copy You
They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, and babies learn to follow their loved one's lead early on. Copying is basically how they learn to do things (even when you mess up). But learning aside, they also just think you’re a really super cool human and they want to be just like you... at least, until they his those teenage years.
They Nuzzle You
Nuzzles are an easy-to-read indicator that a baby is generally content to be around you. Most animals do this, and humans do, too. Of course, babies also nuzzle as part of their rooting reflex, but that’s not to say it couldn't be a sign of mutual love, too. Babies love a good cuddle session with mom, because that’s who they love and know they can rely on.
They Hold Your Hands (Or Fingers)
Can you imagine trying to hold hands with someone who makes you feel awful? Not a fun experience, and one you're unlikely to repeat. Babies show their love by grabbing on to you. If they never felt like they got love back from you, they’d likely stop trying to interact.
They Laugh Often
A happy baby is a well-loved baby, and a well-loved baby will generally be the kind that enjoys plenty of laughs. Babies start laughing around three or four months after they're born, and they respond to their mamas acting silly and making faces — just one of the many ways mamas love on their babies. When your baby is a giggler, you know they’re likely feeling the affection.
They Try To Get You To Laugh
When someone you care about is having a bad day, or even when you’re just feeling silly, you might feel inclined to make them laugh. Babies do this for their own parents by making their own goofy gestures. They’re basically showing you how loved they feel by making sure you’ve got a smile on your face, too.