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Home / Baby Care

What you may not know about maternal instinct

 As a mother, you need to educate yourself on baby care (Shutterstock)

Have you ever confided in someone about not being a good mother and they downplayed your insecurities with, “when the baby comes you will know what to do.’’ Huh?

First time mothers especially know this all too well.

Blame this on the notion that all females are born with an innate motherly instinct. And when you think about it, it is somewhat true.

No baby comes with a guide but somehow, no one has to teach a mother certain things. When the baby needs a diaper change you will somehow know from when they’re hungry or grumpy from a fever.

But before you throw everything to the wind and solely rely on your motherly instincts, you should know that it can be misleading.

As a mother, you need to educate yourself on baby care from mothers and other readily available resources to help you navigate through the complex path of motherhood.

So, what exactly is maternal instinct? It is a biological response to a stimulus that assumes there is an already learned knowledge and set of behaviors that come automatically to mothers.

Although there is still no clear evidence that maternal instinct is actually a thing, below are some traits attributed to motherly instincts

  • Nursing comes naturally

Not every mother will get the position right the first time. But for generations, women have naturally been known to feed their babies without requiring any assistance or guidance.

The way a woman’s body is made and how the baby should lay in your hands somehow fits like pieces in a puzzle.

  • You change
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Not all women are obsessed with babies. But once their own baby arrives, everything changes. Due to a change in perspective, mummy mode kicks in. She is able to connect and bond with her child deeply.

Her nurturing and soft side automatically kicks in and it all becomes about the baby. The carefree lifestyle she enjoyed is put on hold and she is making better decisions for her and the baby.

 Remember that not every mother will get the position right the first time (Shutterstock)
  • You can distinguish your baby’s cry

In a room full of other babies, there are claims that a mother can still identify and distinguish her own baby’s cry.

Crazy as it may sound, they say it has to do with the brain and the bond mother and child usually have. And some say that since the mum radar is always on, she can somehow know when her baby is crying.

  • Each cry means something

Yes, the rabbit hole goes even deeper. Since babies can’t talk, they cry and coo to communicate.

When they are hungry, sleepy or unwell, there is a straightforward cry that will trigger the mother to almost know what is wrong.

When they are happy or excited, they give off certain chuckles and coos that let’s the mom know how they feel. When they don’t enjoy the company of someone their cry will let the mother know too.

  • The urge to nest

Once it is almost certain the baby is about to arrive, mothers in their third semesters start to prepare.

They buy toys, paint the room, organize the baby’s clothes and generally do all they can to ensure the baby’s arrival is comfortable.

It is also during this stage where the house will be cleaner, more organized and safer for the baby. You will find yourself unknowingly cleaning everything before you give them to your child.

  • Love comes

Many women fear not being able to connect or love their baby once it is born especially if they feel they are not ready.

But usually, once the baby arrives, strong emotions and feelings flood you and the connection you have cannot be explained.

  • You know when your child is lying

Since you are so in tune with your child’s emotions, personality, behavior and facial expressions, it becomes very hard for them to get away with lies.

They may try but a parent can always tell when something is not right.

  • Instinct to protect

Similar to animals, mothers will fight and face risks to protect their children. They become more protective and when challenged she will react with equal force.

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