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Do Babies Know Their Parents?

Every parent is nervous when they find out they are expecting a new bundle of joy. But with this nervousness, there comes excitement and also a concern. Wondering when your newborn baby will be able to recognize their parents is a valid question that most parents have. The answer to this question is not an easy one to answer. The recognition of each parent depends on multiple factors, including the amount of talking, length of interaction, skin to skin contact, and other items.

Mommy & Baby

Your baby has already memorized your voice while they were nestled safety inside of your womb. It has been determined that while in the womb, babies will actively listen to their mother’s voice as she speaks.

Baby’s also love the smell of their mother. The natural scent that a mother gives off can help calm your baby down when they are upset. This is a portion of why skin to skin contact is so important in the first days of life because it helps your baby to relax and be calm. Your natural scent is also present in your breast milk. It is thought that a baby can tell the difference in breast milk just by the smell that it gives off.

As for your face, within a week after birth, your baby has already memorized our face because they are always so close to it. Indeed, babies can only see less than one foot in front of them for weeks, but since they are always so close to your face, this is not an issue.

Daddy & Baby

Your baby knowing their father is as important as them knowing their mother. While they are in the womb, they will learn their father’s voice as well as their mother’s voice. This will help them to recognize him once they are born. As long as their father is around talking near the end of mom’s pregnancy, the baby ill has a chance to learn to recognize his voice.

As for the father’s scent, this is a little more difficult than the mother scent. The mother scent is an easy one because they have spent forty weeks inside of her, but with the father, this is just not an option. For this matter, skin to skin contact is as important for the father as it is for the mother. The distinction between scents will more time with the father than the mother, but in time it will come. The development of learning their father’s scent will only take about three days, so do not worry, dads, they will get there quickly.

As long as dad is around and is actively helping mom take care of the baby, his face and scent will be recognized more and more each time he feeds, changes, bathes, or plays with his baby. All of these activities will help to create an unbreakable bond between dad and his baby.

Other Family Members & Baby

As with the birth father, babies will learn to recognize their siblings after they are born as well. The baby will most likely recognize their voices right away. As far as their scent and faces, this will take even longer than the father bond. The reason for this is that it is unlikely for siblings to be in charge of caring for the baby when they are newborn, so there is limited bonding time. Younger cousins also fit into this category. Some cousins are around more, some are around less, some are older, and some are younger. The bonding time with cousins varies dependent on each situation.

Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and more will likely take different amounts of time to form a strong bond with the baby. However, this is all dependent on how often these family members are in contact with the baby, how much helping they do as far as care goes, how often they are around, and more. So, each of these people is determined differently on a case by case basis.

Family Versus Strangers & Baby

One way that you can test whether or not your baby recognizes you or your family members is to take them around strangers. A baby prefers to be surrounded by familiar faces and is less comfortable around unfamiliar faces. Your baby may seem fuss and uncomfortable, or they may even cry or scream until they are in the arms of a familiar person. This is not the most pleasant way to test how well your baby can recognize you, but sometimes these situations can be unavoidable.

You will likely encounter this problem if you need to take your child to a daycare. If your baby is not a newborn, they are more likely to be visibly uncomfortable around new people. Sometimes introducing new people into their lives requires many repeat introductions until your child fully understands that this new person is no longer a stranger and that they are not a threat.

However, some babies are completely comfortable with everyone and will not react one way or another dependent on familiarity and unfamiliarity. Also, some children and baby’s will never be comfortable around certain people, even if they know them well. Baby’s and children are drawn to people that they believe are beautiful and that have beautiful features. We will never know what a baby believes is a beautiful feature, but it is an honor to be loved by a baby or by a child.


So in closing, it is true that your baby will recognize you by your scent, your voice, and your face. But, how quickly and how well they recognize you are hard to pin down. Each situation is different, each person is different, and each child is different.

When waiting for your baby to recognize you, it is important to have patience. These things can not be forced. Also, you do not want to scare the child by trying to force the recognition to happen faster, so just be patient. It will happen soon enough.

1 thought on “Do Babies Know Their Parents?”

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