One of the most exciting milestones in your baby's development is the moment when they begin to recognize people and objects. The best part of that is when they finally recognize you—their mother! But when exactly does that happen? How does the stage of recognition develop? Even though a baby has some ability to recognize their mother from the very moment they are born, full recognition does not happen on one fine day. There are some preliminary steps.
Here they are:
Newborn to Three Months
From the moment of birth, babies recognize their mother. However, this is not a complete recognition similar to what we experience as adults. A baby's ability to recognize its mother is based on a sensory experience:
Identification Through Smell
One of the first senses newborns rely on is the sense of smell. Studies show that babies can recognize their mother's unique scent just a few days after birth. They are innately programmed to recognize the distinctive smell of their mother's milk as a survival instinct, as well as for the purpose of attachment.
Identification Through Sounds
Did you know that your baby recognizes your voice while in utero? This is why many professionals recommend pregnant women to speak, read, or sing to their babies during pregnancy. After birth, the baby will react to its mother's voice, instinctively recognizing it.
3-6 months: Visual Recognition Ability Development
After birth, children can see at a distance of 30 cm and are drawn to faces. However, their vision is blurry, and their ability to recognize their mother's face is limited. Babies' eyesight becomes clearer around the third month, and they begin to recognize facial features. By five months of age, babies can recognize their mother's face not only in one-on-one encounters but also through photos.
6-12 Months: A Deeper Connection
By the time a baby is six months old, they will have developed a strong emotional connection with their mother. They may cry when separated from her and express joy upon her return. Some call this "separation anxiety," and it serves as a clear indicator of identification and the process of connection. Between the ages of six to twelve months, babies begin to expect events as part of their routine, such as feeding or going to bed. They recognize the sequence of activities leading up to events and know who is involved in these. This knowledge is another indicator of them recognizing key figures in their life, including you—their mother.
12 Months and Older: Developed Identification
After a baby turns one, their recognition abilities continue to develop. They begin to identify different facial expressions, and when it comes to their mother's expressions, they can start reacting to various emotions. They also start to understand more complex relationships: Mom is not only their friend but also someone's wife or daughter.
That's My Mommy!
There is no moment more exciting than when your baby recognizes you! The moment of this special identification is a beautiful journey that has several milestones, beginning with the sense of smell and the first sounds, and eventually evolving into a complex connection based on visual recognition as well. It's important to note that every child develops at their own pace, and these milestones are only guidelines. The connection between you and your baby is unique, important, and exciting!