No matter how prepared you are for your baby to arrive, that first moment alone with your newborn can be pretty shocking. I was in the recovery room after my C-section when a nurse handed me my bundled baby girl. I remember staring at her in awe and thinking . . . nothing. I loved her, sure! But that momentous moment didn't hit me until a few hours later. And shortly after that, I began wondering when my baby will love me back.
Turns out that it's pretty normal not to have an instant bond with your baby, and it's also normal for your baby to learn to love you. According to Parents, while babies have an undeniable attachment to you when they are born (given that they were just hanging out inside your body for a while), love comes a little bit later. Totally makes sense when you consider adopted children or babies born from a surrogate and the love they feel for their mother, right? But when does it happen?
Your baby will love you when they realize you are their caretaker. I know, it doesn't sound very sweet or romantic or worthy of a poem, but it is. Parents notes that babies have to be taught love, that they don't have any life experience or awareness like you to understand what it means when you say you love them. What they do understand is that you are their caregiver. You are the one soothing them, feeding them, and rocking them to sleep.
I know it feels like all you are is a robot there to meet your baby's needs, but the act of caring for your child is what makes her love you. And as your baby recognizes those moments, they will begin to show you their love. Dr. Pete Stavinoha told The Bump that when your child begins to make deep eye contact with you, that's a moment you can chalk up to them falling in love with you. All of the little things they do, like turning their head to the sound of your voice and relaxing in your arms, are all signs of your baby loving you.
So while it may seem like you have to wait forever to hear your little one say "mama" or for them to throw their arms around your neck in a hug, know that as your baby realizes that you are their source of comfort, food, and relaxation, they begin to love you back.
Remember this when everyone tells you you're going to spoil that baby if you don't put them down, OK?