Parenthood is a lot of work, but those moments where your child flings their arms around your leg or when they tell you that you are the "best mommy ever" make up for every difficult moment. But parenting a baby? It's not quite that easy to get the reassurance you need. Babies aren't really known for their great verbal skills or, you know, acting like they give a sh*t, which is why knowing the signs your baby loves you can put you on cloud nine after the fourth diaper and meltdown of the day.
According to Parents, babies have the emotional skills to show and feel affection pretty early on, even if it feels like all your baby is doing is, well, being a baby. It makes sense that your baby would be attached to you as soon as they're born. As Parents noted, they have been hearing, feeling, and smelling you during your entire pregnancy. But learning to actually love you? That comes as you care for them. Babies develop attachments and love for their caregivers, which is why adoptive parents feel love from their children just like a biological parent does.
So if you're the one caring for your baby, know this — your baby loves you. But sometimes that isn't enough when you're exhausted and covered in spit-up, right? So here are nine signs your baby loves you to help you through the rough days.
1. They Prefer You Over Everyone Else
It doesn't matter which parent your child prefers, it can be a sweet sign that they love you. According to Parents, babies generally prefer their primary caregiver, and because they learn love through the person who is taking care of them, when they choose one parent over everybody else in the room, it's proof that they love you.
2. They Stare At You
You ever feel like your baby is trying to bore holes into your eyes with their own laser-like stare? That's because they love you. According to Psychology Today, babies often use their gaze to control their environment, so focusing on you is an obvious choice. And The Bump noted that when they do this, they're showing their attraction to you and wanting to know you better by studying your face.
3. They Turn To The Sound Of Your Voice
According to The Bump, your baby can hear the sound of your voice as early as 20 weeks into your pregnancy. So it makes sense that they would turn towards it when they love it so much, right? Because it's such a familiar sound, you may see your baby whipping their head every time you speak, further cementing their love for you.
4. They Reach For You To Hold Them
Your baby reaches for things they want, right? Well, they want you because they love you. What to Expect noted that once babies realize they can reach things, they'll start reaching for whatever they want, including you.
5. They Are Excited When They See You
Dr. Pete Stavinoha, a neuropsychologist at Children's Medical Center in Dallas told The Bump that if your baby lights up when you enter a room, with cooing, kicking, giggling, and general happiness on their face, it's because they have a serious love attachment to you. It doesn't matter if they are happy with the person they were with; they are happiest to see you because they love you.
6. They Cry When You Leave
Separation anxiety isn't just something that happens for no reason. According to Psychology Today, it's a very real thing that children feel when they are separated from their caregiver — you. You are their home base and the place they feel most secure, so when you leave, it can be very distressing.
7. They Relax In Your Arms
Parenting noted that when you pick up your child, you're offering the ultimate comfort and reassurance they need. So when they seem to melt into your arms and totally relax, it's a sign that they know you are their comfort base and that they love you for it.
8. They Open Their Mouth Around You
When a baby wants attention from you, Baby Center noted that they may open their mouth in an effort to "call" you or coo. It's incredibly sweet and just shows how your baby is trying to communicate with you, even if they aren't sure how.
9. They Come To You While Playing & Exploring
There are few things sweeter than when your baby randomly reaches for you or crawls to you while they're in the middle of playing, especially if it seems like that's all they needed before they go off to continue exploring. According to The Bump, it's a sign that while your baby is gaining independence, they know that you are their safe place, so they will routinely come to you for snuggles and that extra security only you can provide.