When do babies recognise their mother?

After carrying your baby for 9 months and giving birth to him/ her, it is pretty certain that you will recognise them anywhere. Your baby is precious and no matter what a funny trope in the movies suggests, a mother not recognising her baby does not happen in real life. But when does your baby start recognising you?

A lot of you are curious about how baby development in pregnancy and afterwards happens. When do their senses start working, how fast do their brains start functioning and just when the baby starts recognising the mother? Do they know you from the moment they are born, had they heard you singing to them inside the womb? For all these questions buzzing in your head, we have some answers for you.

When do babies recognise their mother?

Because the baby’s senses and the brain are functionally developed by the time they are born, it can be said that they have a recognition system already built-in them. Once they are born, they start to identify a familiar presence very soon indeed. When the baby recognises the mother, it is a combination of their senses working together.

When the baby starts recognizing the mother by sound

In fact, it is the sounds that they hear inside the womb that leads them to become increasingly familiar with your voice. It is one of the first ways in which they start to recognise you as a person who is always present and is the caregiver. Mothers often start talking to their babies in the later parts of the second trimester or in the third trimester of their pregnancy. You will be amazed to know that your baby starts to identify familiar sounds from even then. Since these voices continue after birth, it gets even easier to memorise them due to clearer hearing.

baby recognises the mother by touch

When the baby starts recognising the mother by touch

Newborn babies crave to be held and swaddled because to them, it feels similar to the nine months gestation period inside your womb. Other than the doctors and nurses during delivery, your touch is the first one that a baby feels. Being held or touched by their mother is the most common and happens most of the time. You also start breastfeeding your baby as soon as possible, thus developing a very intimate and deeply instinctual relationship with your child. They soon start to recognise your breasts and even the way you hold them. That is why they start getting fussy when held by those whom they identify as other people.

When the baby starts recognising the mother by looking

A newborn baby can see clearly up to 12 inches in front of them and your face usually appears under this distance in the daily care of the baby. Studies even show that babies prefer to look at the faces of people, especially yours. Once awake and active, a baby engages in the environment around him/her to identify different things. This is the way they learn to recognise different objects, others, themselves and also develop a concept of belonging. Here are the stages when babies start recognising others:

  • By the time your baby reaches 2 months of age, it will be a time when the baby recognises the mother. It is actually the caregiver who is most present and shows their face the most, that is recognisable. Since it is generally the mother who fulfils this role, he/she will now know you.
  • By the time your baby reaches 3 months, he/she can distinguish you from others. At this point in time, they will also develop favourites for the people and objects around them. In a vaguer sense, this the beginning of the concept of “my person” and “my thing”. Despite not understanding the word “Mother”, they will identify your as “My person/ mother”.
  • By the time your baby reaches 4 months, they will understand object permanence; meaning that something exists even when it is no longer in front of their eyes. While this concept commonly focuses on inanimate objects and toys, it will also help them recognise and understand your presence more dimensionally. 
When baby recognises the mother by smell even while asleep

When the baby starts recognising the mother by her scent

Along with all the other senses, his/her sense of smell is another factor that adds up when the baby recognises the mother. As they become familiar with your touch, your breast milk and the affection you provide, your smell adds to the whole experience for them. So when you hold them even while they are asleep, your own scent lets them feel safer in the arms of a person they recognise.

When baby recognises the mother better through fun activities done together.

If you are about to become a new mother or have become the mother of a newborn, know that the little one will start knowing you as Mommy soon enough. Things like making funny faces at your child, playing peek-a-boo and doing other activities that focus on identifying people will only quicken their pace. We hope that the question of ‘when do babies start recognising their mother’ has been answered for you now. You don’t have to make any special extra efforts for this, just take care of your baby as it naturally comes to you.

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