The Theory on Why Firstborns Look Like Dadby Elizabeth MacDonald
When my first baby was born, I had to laugh. I apparently gave birth to the female version of my husband. Over the years, she has slowly morphed into a mini-me, but that first year? She was unmistakably my husband’s daughter. (More like a miniature version of his mom!)
I’m not alone on seeing this similarity. It seems that most first-born children look like their dads at birth – and throughout that first year of life. But why? Now, none of my other four children came earthside looking like my husband – and yes, he is their father too. So why is it that just the first baby looked like him?
A recent article in Scientific American explains how the entire theory of newborns looking like their dads due to evolution and fathers recognizing their offspring at birth and during caveman days isn’t true – according to current studies. But I’m going to agree with the author of that article – and many other psychologists, midwives, doctors, and researchers who actually do believe this to be true.
Mothers tend to always see the baby’s father in their newborn, and fathers tend to agree – especially with firstborns. It’s the outsiders, the extended family and friends who see otherwise. I believe that this evolutionary theory is still very much true, especially with firstborns. A new dad - one who has no idea what he is doing with this whole parenting thing, tends to be immediately attracted to an infant who resembles him in some way. He may not even know what it is, but there is something there that makes him know that baby is his. I can go a step further and say that new dads who may not think they are ready for parenthood – they may really need that resemblance to help them make the transition.
You see, it all dates back to the cavemen. No real words were spoken, just drawings, hunting, animals, men, women, and sex. I may be wrong on all of that…. The cave-MEN would recognize their babies because they looked like them. I mean, that’s a pretty probable assumption.
As much as we have progressed, this still seems quite probable, and when talking to midwives and doctors who deliver babies every day, they seem to believe the same. Maybe, after the first baby, the men catch the drift and understand that the kids are all theirs – so they don’t have to look so much life them…. But that first baby? Oh, that firstborn, that one is all Dad.