Development Physical & Emotional

When Do Babies Show Affection?

From dealing with never-ending diaper blowouts to taking that first magical vacation together, being a parent to a newborn can be both extremely challenging and extremely rewarding at the same time.

One thing that seems to make everything instantly better is when your baby reciprocates your affection, even if it’s just with a quick smile or sloppy kiss.

So you’re probably wondering when you can expect to receive some affection from your little one.

Babies start showing affection from as early as 2 months, which is when they may start smiling and being happy to see you.

More obvious affection such as cuddles and kisses occur later, from around 6-12 months of age.

But do babies actually feel love when you kiss them?

And what other signs are there that your baby loves you?

Let’s find out.

When Do Babies Show Affection?

Showing affection means different things depending on the age of your baby.

For very young babies that are only 2 months old, affection can mean being comforted by mom or dad, wanting to sleep while being held or looking happy to see you when you enter the room or they catch your eye.

More obvious signs, such as kissing, cuddling and bigger smiles, often occur between the ages of 6-12 months.

However, as with most things related to development, babies develop at slightly different rates, so don’t be too concerned if your one year old still isn’t showing you much affection, as this can be perfectly normal.

What Age Do Babies Give Kisses?

Receiving a kiss from from baby is absolutely adorable, so you’re no doubt wondering when you can expect to receive one.

Babies tend to start giving or blowing kisses from around 8 months onwards, but for some little ones this milestone may not occur until much later.

As a word of caution, don’t be surprised if your baby becomes much more selective and infrequent with their kisses after a while.

Although this disappoints many parents, it’s totally natural as your baby moves on from learning one fund and interesting new thing to another.

Do Babies Feel Love When You Kiss Them?

Babies love physical contact, especially if it’s skin to skin, so a kiss feels very comforting to your baby.

Kissing also has positive, lasting effects on your child that go way beyond providing immediate comfort.

Studies have shown that there are several benefits to kissing your baby, including:

  • It boosts their immune system. Amazingly by kissing your baby’s skin your body becomes aware of harmful bacteria that your baby is currently or will soon be fighting, so in turn antibodies are created and supplied via your breastmilk.
  • It helps them become smarter by increasing and nurturing their brain development.
  • The feeling of security from loving parents helps reduce your child’s likelihood or experiencing distress such as anxiety and hostility later in life.

When Do Babies Start To Cuddle?

Your baby may begin to recognise when a cuddle is coming their way from as young as 2 months old.

At this age they may slightly alter their body position to accommodate a cuddle, which technically means they are cuddling you back!

Once a baby reaches 6 months or older they start to show more obvious signs of cuddling, such as wrapping their arms around you and resting their head on your chest or shoulder.

Again you should keep in mind that while 6 months tends to be the earlies age when “proper” cuddles occur, for some babies it’s totally normal for cuddling not to occur until your baby is 12 or 18 months old.

So if you’re desperate for your baby to reciprocate a cuddle make sure you stay patient and don’t force the issue.

Related: Navigating Your Child’s Early Development

Signs Your Baby Loves You

There’s no doubt your baby loves you, even if you may be struggling to see very obvious signs of affection.

Here are some signs to look out for to let you know your baby loves you:

  • Your baby stares directly into your eyes.
  • They smile at you, not only reciprocating your smile, but often instigating a smile to get your attention.
  • They actively look for you and point at you when they see you.
  • They “talk” to you. Even though their words don’t make any sense, what they’re saying is directed at you and a sign of their affection.
  • Your baby wants to be with you, as they recognize you as someone they love and want to spend time with.
  • They try to copy you in your daily actions, and watch you closely in order to understand and learn what you’re doing.
  • They hide behind you when meeting new or less familiar people, because they love you and trust you to keep them safe from “strangers”.
  • Your baby baby lifts up their arms and wants you to carry them.
  • They turn to your for rescuing or for help when they are unsure of something, even with trivial things like not being able to play with a toy properly.
  • They get upset when you leave, and are happy when you return. Separation anxiety is your baby’s way of showing that they love and miss you and don’t want you to go away.

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Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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