It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air – and we mean all kinds of love, including your baby! The first few years with your little one can be as tough as it is rewarding. Those sleepless nights and ringing ears (from all the screaming) can often have parents wondering ‘does my baby really love me?’

Well don’t you worry, we have done some digging, and the answer is a definitive YES! Babies are born to fall in love and can often show signs of emotion in the first few weeks. That’s right, those long gazes, snuggling and that cheeky smile (is not always gas) – it’s love!

Reading is one of the best ways to bond with your baby and teach them to love so BookTrust has pulled together their top tips and best books to teach your baby about love in the first few years.

TIP 1: Bump to baby chat

That’s right, all the hype is true – reading to your bump really is one of the first ways to bond with your baby. Studies have shown that babies are even more soothed by familiar nursery rhymes they heard while in the womb. Books you can read to your baby and soothe them while also being able to treasure them through the rest of their life!

We love….

Here We Are, Oliver Jeffers

When I Was A Child, Andy Stanton & David Litchfield

TIP 2: Unleash your inner clown

Even though your baby seems to just be sleeping, feeding and pooping a lot in the first few months, trust us, your little one is already falling head over heels for you! You can tell by eye contact, ‘gurgle conversations’ and because they’re starting to smile back at you! Their sight is starting to develop at this age so your little one loves faces rather than objects. Time to get a little silly and read books that let your little one observe your facial expressions.

We love…

Who?, Robie H Harris

Making Faces, Abrams Appleseed

                                                        

TIP 3: The perfect distractions

Put the jewellery away, tie up the hair (or beard) and fill their tiny hand with sensory toys and books! At the three to seven months mark your baby has finally found their hands and, boy, do they learn to grab quickly. They will be and be fascinated by sensory stimulations, rattling, shaking (baby games). Their sight will also develop to see in colour so bright colourful sensory books are the way to go. We love…

Where’s Mrs Ladybird, Ingela Arrhenius

TIP 4: ‘Let’s get physical’

Between seven and twelve months it’s playtime! Your tiny tot is exploring and learning different emotions. The downside – moodiness, the huge upside – starting give hugs and kisses and maybe even first words! Love is as thick as concrete and there is an extra burst of brain development as attachment bonds are made at this point. Being able to sing songs and use interactive books will help you increase bonds with your bub. We love…

Five Little Ducks, Yu-hsuan Huang

Hug, Jez Alborough

TIP 5: Be nice! You have yourself a copy cat

Has you baby been replaced by a fully-fledged little person running around? Between 12-24 months your tiny tot will be showing lots of different emotions and will pay attention to how you act, mimic your actions and understand symbols and themes. This is also the age your little one will start to socialise more – so make sure you show them how it’s done: how to share, how to be brave, and much more. Researchers have found a direct link between books and emotional growth for this age group. The best books are books that have stories and themes which show affections for those around them. We love…

Love You Hoo, Rachel Bright

Love, Emma Dodd   

                                            

Learning love through reading and bedtime stories is an incredibly intimate way to bond with your little one and teach them lessons of love that will last a lifetime!

Emily Drabble, BookTrust  

References
Bowlby, 2007. Passionate about attachments
Krueger & Garvan, 2014
DeCasper & Spence, 1986
Gerhardt, 2004
Schaffer & Emerson, 1964
Colombo, 2001
Butterworth, 2001
Krishnan & Johnson, 2014 ß BookTrust research
Hoffman, 2000. Empathy and Moral Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Knafo, A., C. Zahn-Waxler, C. Van Hulle, J. L. Robinson, and S. H. Rhee. 2008. “The developmental origins of a disposition toward empathy: Genetic and environmental contributions.” Emotion 8: 737-752.).
Brownell et al., 2012. Socialization of Early Prosocial Behavior: Parents’ Talk About Emotions is Associated With Sharing and Helping in Toddlers
Bucharest Early Intervention Project
https://www.parents.com/baby/development/behavioral/month-by-month-guide-to-babys-emotional-development/
https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/c13m.html
https://www.parents.com/baby/development/intellectual/what-babies-love/?slideId=slide_e53a62ff-e084-4d0b-8900-9abaf404cc97#slide_e53a62ff-e084-4d0b-8900-9abaf404cc97)

About The Author

My Baba

"My Baba is packed with expert advice and information on all aspects of fertility, pregnancy, motherhood and parenting. We're constantly researching and reviewing the latest educational toys, gadgets and gizmos, and blogging about the latest crafts, activities, fashions and mouth-watering family recipes. My Baba is also the ultimate present guide with unique gift ideas for babies, toddlers and children of all ages." Leonora Bamford, Founder

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