As you get to know your baby, it gets increasingly easy to tell when your baby is happy, sad, frustrated, hungry and more. But does your baby learn to read your emotions as well? Does baby know when you're happy, stressed, grumpy, or any of the other vast range of emotions mothers experience on a daily basis?
It turns out that multiple studies have shown that babies are mini-experts at reading the emotions of their favorite people. One study published in the Journal of Psychological Science found that a mother's stress is contagious to their babies and that, "members of close pairs, like mothers and infants, can reciprocally influence each other’s dynamic physiological reactivity." Another study published in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology found that babies only a few days old showed preference for happy facial expressions over ones that were sad or angry.
So babies can quickly pick up on your stress, but what about other emotions? It turns out that by the time your baby is only a few months old, they're able to pick up on and differentiate between different emotions. According to Parents, babies that are only a few months old can recognize the difference between sad and happy expressions, and sometimes respond similarly. The article also stated that around the time of your baby's first birthday, they're able to display signs of empathy and even try to do things they know make you happy.
TIME magazine suggested that babies are able to read your emotions simply by looking at your eyes, which is pretty amazing considering that they're able to read our emotions before they're able to communicate effectively.
Before you get too comfortable — or stressed or anxious — around your baby, remembering that they're able to identify and relate with the emotions you display can be a great excuse to work on staying as calm and happy around your little one as possible.