Newborn Baby Features Determine How Adults Parent, Says Study

Newborn Baby Features Determine How Adults Parent, Says Study

This study uncovered that newborn baby features can largely determine if his parents will abandon him and how they will parent him in the future.

If you think your newborn baby is not as cute as you expected, you are not alone. A new research on newborn baby features reveals that most adults do not think newborns are cute!

In fact, they find babies most attractive when they touch the six-month mark, and this even affects the way they parent. Yes, you read that right!

Newborn baby features can influence parenting style

The said study by Brock University, Canada, has uncovered that new parents are not instantly attracted to their newborns. And even though many of them think this is abnormal, in reality it is a normal response. 

Tony Volk, Child and Youth Studies Associate Professor at the Brock University explains, “We want to let parents know that if they’re not instantly grabbed by this baby as much as they thought they might be, then that’s normal. The bonding will build and grow over time.”

How did they come to this conclusion?

For the purpose of the study, Volk along with two of his associates showed 142 new parents pictures of 18 babies. These pictures were taken when the babies were three-months-old and then six-months-old.  

newborn baby features

This study uncovered that newborn baby features can largely determine if parents will abandon him. | Image courtesy: stock image

They asked these participants to rate the babies on a scale of 1 to 10. The researchers wanted to know how adults react to a newborn’s facial expression and if they were willing to meet his needs based on his cuteness. 

They found that most participants believed that babies looked at their cutest at six months of age.

Parents like to invest in stronger and older children, proves study 

This study has real-life implications because an infant’s cuteness can largely determine if his parents will abandon him.  

Volk cited a 2003 study from a book written by ancient Rome historian Emerita Beryl Rawson. He said that historically also parents invested in kids who looked “stronger.”

He said while this study was shocking, it is not far off from his own study. 

Volk shared, “Parents back then had to make difficult decisions at times, whether or not they could afford a newborn baby.” 

“If parents have a newborn baby and the mother is still nursing a previous baby, she can’t nurse two babies effectively at once. The mother is going to invest in the older kid that she has because, in the point of view of the parents, that kid has passed the danger zone,” he added. 

They also discovered that men were likely to invest more time and effort in babies that looked like them. 

Men likely to invest in babies who look more like them

Newborn Baby Features Determine How Adults Parent, Says Study

The study says that men are likely to invest more in children if they see a resemblance. | Image courtesy: stock image

As per this study, men were likely to invest more money and nourishment in babies that resembled them. And while newborn baby features continue to develop, they are likely to look like their parents as they pass the six-month mark. 

Women, on the other hand, show more inclination towards health and happiness and not resemblance when it comes to caring for a baby. That’s because they are naturally wired that way.  

Volk says that the biggest takeaway from this study is how preferences evolve. 

“Preference for cuteness is arbitrary,” he said, adding “We could evolve a preference for things such as thinking centipedes are really cute while flowers are really ugly.” 

Invest in babies no matter their looks, say experts 

At the end of their research, the Brock University team urged parents to not think about newborn baby features and invest in their well-being. 

“We firmly recognise that every newborn infant offers the tremendously appealing, unlimited potential that all humans initially possess, and we fully encourage investing in all newborns as much love and resources as is possible,” the paper said.

So how can you make this investment? Well, there are a number of things that you can do that will surely make a difference. 

3 investments all parents must make in their kids 

1. Empower them with love

Newborn Baby Features Determine How Adults Parent, Says Study

Accepting our kids for who they free us from the tendency to mould them into what we want them to become. Each child has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, and even though as parents it can be challenging, it is crucial that you work on both. 

Do not force the idea of “perfection.” Instead, coach them to be more loving and empathetic towards everybody. 

2. Nurture them

To truly nurture your child, you must sow the seeds of love, encouragement, guidance and support. It is these values that will help them harness their true strengths in the long run.  

You must also make sure to weed out all negative thoughts and influences. Invest in a nurturing and positive atmosphere at home. 

3. Focus on actions

Newborn Baby Features Determine How Adults Parent, Says Study

Young daughter looking happy while bonding and baking with father

A key factor in guiding your kids to feel empowered is to encourage them to take action to realise their goals. Only through actions can they truly reach their potential and figure out ways to overcome challenges in life. 

Remember that without actions, no potential can be fulfilled and no dream is achievable. So invest in making your children independent and allow them to make decisions on their own.  


Sources: Brock University, CBC 

Also read: Weird things that new parents worry about

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Written by

Deepshikha Punj

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