Why Your Baby Doesn't Look Like His/Her Dad

Why Your Baby Doesn't Look Like His/Her Dad

Baby looks more like Mom? Here’s why:

One of the most amazing parts of having a baby is looking down and seeing a tiny version of yourself. Unfortunately, some fathers don’t get to experience that joy. You might be happy to note that your baby has your ears or your eyes, but you might also wonder why he or she doesn’t look like dad.

The good news is that it’s perfectly normal to see a baby who looks like mom but who doesn’t look like dad. Some babies look more like one parent than the other, and that’s fine. If you are wondering why your baby looks like mom to such a strong degree but doesn’t look like dad, you’re in luck. A baby’s looks tend to boil down to the following factors:

  • Genetics
  • Nurture
  • Age
  • Behavior

All of those factors play a role in why a baby doesn’t look like dad. Fortunately, the latter three factors can all lead to a baby who looks like mom turning into a child who looks more like dad.

Simple Genetics

Genetics plays a pretty big role in what your child looks like. When we say a child looks like mom, what we are really saying is that a child has inherited traits that favor his or her mother. When we say a child doesn’t look like dad, then, we’re really just talking about the preponderance of certain traits. It is normal for a child to express more traits from one parent than the other. In fact, you probably discussed the reasons why this happens back in high school.

Dominant and Recessive Traits

If you want to grossly simplify the concept of inherited traits, you might want to think of traits as having one of two values. Certain traits are dominant, which means that they are stronger and thus always expressed. Other traits are recessive, which means that they are ‘weaker’ and tend not to be expressed. If both the mother and father have different mixes of traits, then, it would make sense that some of them won’t stand out in the child.

Take eye color as a simple example. Colors like brown tend to be dominant colors – if either parent has brown eyes, that means the child will probably have brown eyes. Colors like blue, on the other hand, are recessive – they tend to only be seen in a child if both parents have blue eyes. Nature’s a little more complicated than that, of course – one parent or the other could have a recessive trait that got inherited – but in most cases, the dominant traits are going to stay dominant.

What does that mean for your child? Well, if you have several dominant traits, it might not be that uncommon to see that your child doesn’t look like dad. That doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with the child or wrong with the father, but rather that genetics shook out in a very particular way. The good news for most fathers, though, is that certain traits aren’t expressed until later on, so there’s a good chance that your child who looks like mom today will later end up being more of a mixture between both of his or her parents later in life.

Nurture, not Nature

It’s also important to remember that there’s more than genetics at work when you’re talking about a child’s looks. The way that you and your child’s father look today has quite a bit to do with the lives that you have lived. In many cases, that means that your child’s father might have certain features that it’s just not possible for your child to express – at least, not yet. These features make us who we are, but they aren’t the kind of features that get passed on. As time goes by, the way your child is raised will impact how he or she looks.

The Impact of the Environment

When your child doesn’t look like dad, it might be because of the life that dad has led. Environmental matters play a huge role on everything from the color of our skin to our height and weight, so it’s never a given that the way a person looks like as an adult will be reflected by how a child looks. In fact, for a child to look like mom, the mother would have to have some features that just haven’t been all that impacted by the environment. If he or she doesn’t look like dad, it might be because he or she hasn’t gone through the environmental pressures that will cause the change.

If your father’s child works outdoors or spends a lot of time outside, there’s a good chance that he probably has darker skin than your child. If you think about it, this should be a given – after all, your child has rarely been in the son. Certain features might also change based on the child’s father’s diet – rounder cheeks, for example, might be more due to weight than genetics. You probably have certain features that were changed by time rather than genetics, but your child still looks like mom to you.

Old Pictures, New Points of View

One great way to get a clearer view of whether or not your child will look like his or her father is to look at old pictures of the father. A child who doesn’t look like dad today might, after all, look a lot like dad when he was a baby. What you really want to look for is the basic set of features your child’s father had at birth, not those that he has today.

Growing Babies

The way a child looks at birth is not how he or she will look in the future. There’s a lot of growth to be done and a lot of features to change. Your child looks like mom now, but he or she might not look like mom in a few months. If he doesn’t look like dad, don’t fret – it could just be that those features are going to come out later.

Changing Bodies

There are many features that won’t really start to become apparent until your child gets older. Height and weight, for example, are very hard to gauge when a child is young. When he or she hits a growth spurt, though, you will notice him or her start to take after one parent or the other. Hair color is another thing that changes over time – a child’s hair could get lighter or darker as he or she ages. Even things like your child’s complexion might change over time. The child that looks like mom now and doesn’t look like dad may not stay that way forever.

Change Over Time

The way a child looks is also determined by his or her personality. New parents tend to forget that their children are very much blank slates, assuming that the way the child looks is always down to what happened before birth. In truth, though, an awful lot of a child’s looks will come down to expressions. There are plenty of adopted children out there, after all, who looks a lot like their adoptive parents simply because they share expressions and gestures.

Attitude vs. Visuals

A child who looks like mom when resting and doesn’t look like dad might not be the same way in motion. As your child gets older, you’ll start to see a lot of both parents, often in interesting ways. A child who looks like mom might, for example, still have dad’s laugh. Just because the child doesn’t look like dad won’t mean that he or she won’t make the same expressions that dad makes when he is confused. In many cases, it’s the way that a parent expresses himself or herself that has the most impact on the way that the child will look later in life.

Conclusion

If your child’s father is discouraged because the child doesn’t look like dad, make sure that he spends more time around the child. Little things like the way he looks while concentrating or the way he acts when he’s surprised might soon rub off on the child. Not only will this time help the father to see more of himself in his child, but it will do wonders for the bond between parent and child at the same time.