Where Babies Learn About Feelings
From you, of course! When your baby's between 8 and 10 months, she'll start looking to you for clues on how to act, especially in uncertain situations. Babies focus on your eyes and mouth as they learn to communicate "built-in feelings," according to Paul Holinger, M.D., author of What Babies Say Before They Can Talk. So while you can pick up the signals your child gives via her facial expressions, she's learning from you as well.
Here's an at-a-glance guide to what your baby learns from some of your feelings:
Face of Enjoyment
You might say: "Yay! You ate all your veggies."
Your baby may: Look at you, smile back.
She's probably feeling: "I'm really enjoying everyone's happiness."
Face of Distress
You might say: "Mommy has a cold today."
Your baby may: Arch her eyebrows as her lower lip quivers and she starts crying.
She's probably feeling: "I'm upset by what Mommy is doing."
Face of Surprise
You might say: "Daddy's home early!"
Your baby may: Blink and widen her eyes, and open her mouth in an "O."
She's probably feeling: "I'm very excited to see what will happen next."
Face of Fear
You might say: "Don't touch that -- it's hot!"
Your baby may: Open her eyes wide, turn pale, and begin trembling.
She's probably feeling: "I'm very upset!"