You might have heard of those stories about babies and toddlers picking up the pregnancy of their moms even before the mom herself knows about it or before she tells anyone else about it. Can babies sense pregnancy, then?
Here’s the thing: there is no scientific and concrete proof that babies and toddlers can tell and sense if someone is pregnant. However, it is too hard to ignore this, considering all the anecdotal stories about it.
Can a Baby Sense When Women are Pregnant?
Can a baby sense pregnancy? The sad answer is no, babies can’t sense pregnancy.
Although it may feel wonderful and it is a beautiful idea for your little ones to be so in tune with you to the point that they can sense those hormonal changes triggered by pregnancy, there is no solid and proven scientific evidence to show that babies can sense other babies that are still in their mom’s womb.
But even if they don’t have that mysterious and intriguing sixth sense, babies and toddlers are more aware of what is happening around them than what adults often give them credit for.
Your baby might have sensed some changes in your stress levels. They might have also overhead some talks about pregnancy, or they might have also noted several of the physical changes associated with pregnancy such as bigger boobs or bloating.
Also, don’t forget that despite all those amazing stories you’ve read online, the internet still doesn’t show all those times that babies weren’t able to guess correctly that someone is pregnant, as well as the times they talked about a baby sister or brother without being right.
All the positive biases are the reasons why these anecdotal pieces of evidence don’t hold up well in proper research conditions.
What are the Common Behaviors in Babies with Pregnant Mothers?
Based on forums and message boards about babies sensing pregnancy, it seems that there is a trend when it comes to the behaviors that babies exhibit once they sense the pregnancy of their mothers.
Even if it might just be pure coincidence and might just be a part of the natural behavior and development of babies and toddlers, the following might convince you otherwise:
Most pregnant moms notice that their babies start to rub and touch their bellies even if their baby bump doesn’t show yet. It is very common for kids to be touchy, and they also love to cuddle and be in close contact with their moms. But when their mom is pregnant, babies may feel more inclined to touch her belly.
Toddlers tend to become more independent as they age. They will start to play on their own and even insist that they can do a few things by themselves. But the moment they sense that their mom is pregnant, they may exhibit increased dependency on them.
These babies will start to cling to their mothers more and even follow them around wherever they go around the house. They may also cry if their mother leaves and they are left in the care of another member of the family like a grandmother.
Some mothers claim that their toddlers have a hard time sleeping unless they sleep in the bed with them. Some even want to have constant physical touch with their moms.
Why Do Toddlers Get Clingy When Their Mothers are Pregnant?
It is actually very common for toddlers to get clingy when their mother is pregnant, particularly when they have some kind of understanding that a new baby is soon on the way.
The new baby will be getting all the attention. Mom and dad will prepare for the new baby’s arrival, buy all the stuff the baby will need, and everyone in the family will be making a fuss over mom with her baby bump. Even though all of these aren’t meant to push the baby to the side, these may accidentally make them feel this way.
This is the reason why most toddlers tend to be extra clingy when their mother is pregnant. This is almost regressive behavior because they want to be treated and carried around like a baby all over again. This can be quite frustrating and tiring for heavily pregnant moms, especially when their toddlers never acted that way in the past.
However, it is important to look at things from the point of view of your toddler. This kind of clingy behavior will soon go away by itself. You can ease it, however, if you spend more quality time with your little one without mentioning the new baby. You can also try to make your toddler a part of the pregnancy by letting them help you choose some clothes and toys for their new sibling or making them feel your baby as it kicks inside your womb.
When is the Best Time to Tell a Toddler about Pregnancy?
In case your toddler didn’t figure out about your pregnancy just yet, you are probably curious to know when you should tell them about it. So far, there are conflicting suggestions about it.
The first thought process is that it is important to inform your toddler when you are happy for other people to learn the news. Besides, toddlers have the habit of mimicking what adults say, so it is likely for them to say “baby” often every time you discuss your pregnancy with them.
But if you are worried about the risks of miscarriage and you would rather not let others know the news until then, you might want to keep it from your toddler as much as you can until 12 weeks. Some experts even recommend until later in your pregnancy when your toddler can already see the changes happening.
Meanwhile, it has also been revealed that firstborn children who were informed about the pregnancy of their mom early on developed more positive feelings about their new sibling even before birth.
With all of these said, babies cannot really sense pregnancy, but you might want to tell them about it as soon as you find it practical and appropriate for you.