The arrival of a newborn is undoubtedly an awe-inspiring moment, marked by the anticipation of new beginnings and the promise of a growing relationship. While the initial days with a newborn may seem to be a blur of feeding, diaper changes, and sleepless nights, it’s crucial to recognize that, beneath the surface, these tiny humans are far more remarkable than they may appear at first glance.
If you’re a new, excited parent, a newborn may initially seem disappointing. It doesn’t seem like they can do much and it can be tempting to dismiss newborns. Contrary to the misconception that newborns are merely bundles of basic instincts, they possess surprising traits that reveal how their intelligence and relational capacity unfolds from the very moment of conception.
Learning How to Talk Begins in the Womb:
The journey of communication starts long before a baby utters their first words. Astonishingly, research suggests that the process of learning how to talk begins in the womb. Even before birth, newborns can recognize their parents’ voices, and studies indicate that they may even distinguish between the voices of the mother and her partner. As soon as babies are born, they exhibit an innate familiarity with their parents’ voices, responding to the comforting tones that have accompanied them throughout their prenatal development.
Observant Mimicry and Imitation:
Newborns are not passive observers; they are active participants in their environment from the very beginning. Renowned psychologist Andrew N. Meltzoff’s research has unveiled the surprising extent of newborns’ ability to mimic and imitate the behaviors of those around them. From the earliest days of life outside the womb, these tiny individuals are keenly observant, rapidly processing information and imitating gestures, expressions, and movements. This early mimicry lays the foundation for the developmental journey ahead, demonstrating an impressive capacity to understand and respond to the cues in their surroundings.
Formation of Desires and Preferences:
While it may seem that newborns are driven solely by basic needs, they are, in fact, highly attuned to the desires of the people in their lives. Meltzoff’s research uncovered compelling evidence that newborns possess a remarkable capacity to not only observe and mimic but also extend this ability to the realm of preferences and desires.
If a parent demonstrates a desire for a particular food or shows interest in a specific object, newborns may exhibit a surprising inclination towards the same. This suggests an early cognitive awareness and the capacity to interpret and respond to the preferences demonstrated by their caregivers.
Full Spectrum of Human Traits:
Contrary to the perception of newborns as a mere collection of instincts (or that preborn babies are a “clump of cells”), these tiny humans possess the full spectrum of human traits – even from the moment of fertilization in the womb. Even in the early stages of development within the womb, preborn babies carry unique human DNA, complete with organs and body parts that will continue to mature and develop after birth. The journey of development is a continuum that begins in the womb, emphasizing the incredible and miraculous nature of each newborn as a unique embodiment of humanity.
Far from being passive recipients of care, these children showcase a deep intelligence and relational capacity that sets the stage for a lifetime of learning and growth. Understanding and appreciating the surprising traits found in newborns allows parents to cultivate meaningful connections and nurture the incredible potential that unfolds from the very beginning of life. As we marvel at the wonders of early development, we gain a deeper appreciation for the intricateness of each newborn.
Are you pregnant and confused about what’s happening in your body? Are you nervous about connecting with your baby after birth and being a good parent? Make an appointment with Choices for a free ultrasound and/or more information about pregnancy, parenting, and your next steps.