Here's The Psychology Behind Baby Talk, According To Science
By the time you're four or five years old, you're able to form full sentences and speak like an adult. It seems like you'd want to keep doing that forever — and yet, later in life, you may find yourself madly in love and talking like a baby once again. Sure, baby food is delicious (I just love a good apple sauce), but how many times have you heard a couple baby talking in public and thought, "no, stop, please?" I wanted to know more, so I did some research to learn about the fascinating psychology behind baby talk.
I’ve had the great joy of dating men for over a decade, so I’m pretty used to adults who act like children. But baby talk is different from not changing your sheets (which I believe adult men should all do, FYI!!) Even though it might be perceived as annoying for people outside the relationship, it's not a sign of immaturity. Actually, there are very legitimate biological and psychological reasons why you might engage in baby talk with your partner, and understanding them can help bring you closer together.
Read on to find out everything you ever wanted to know about the three little words: “I wuv you.”
It's A Sign Of A Healthy Relationship
Baby talking isn’t just a way to create intimacy in a relationship — it actually means your relationship is healthy. According to NBC News, baby talk is a sign of emotional closeness because it brings you and your partner closer together when you let another person speak to you as if you're a child. It means you don’t need to put up your defenses around them, and instead, you can behave in the same way you did when you were young.
It Mirrors How Your Parents or Guardians Spoke To You
Part of why baby talk creates intimacy is that it might mirror the way you were spoken to when you first arrived in this world. The first people you bonded to on this planet may have been your parents (I was actually super close with the gynecologist who delivered me, but I'm a special case). According to Psychology Today, when you baby talk, you're actually trying to replicate that initial love from your parents or guardians. Of course, it’s a different type of intimacy, but it’s still the same feeling delivering and receiving love.
It Displays Vulnerability
Baby talk allows you to feel as loved as you were as a child, but it also lets you feel safe and protected by someone. According to Psychology Today, when you baby talk, you show that you don't need to impress your partner; you're able to show them your most innocent form. As with your parents or guardians growing up, you're vulnerable to your partner when you talk like a child. I even tried to display my vulnerability to my mother by asking "will you pwetty pwease pay my went this month?"
She said no.
It Doesn't Mean You're Actually Immature
Glamour recently recounted the story of a 31-year-old lawyer with her own home getting joy out of speaking and hearing baby talk. She described how she and her partner both find baby talk endearing, and that they like the intimacy that it brings. However, it doesn’t make anyone less adult — much like other things you do in the bedroom, baby talk is simply part of the relationship rather than a reflection on you. Not flossing, though — that’s a different story.
It Provides A Brief Escape
Do you ever wake up on Saturday morning after a long week of work and want to do nothing but watch cartoons? It’s not because you’re regressing into childhood, it’s because you need a brief respite from #adulting. Same goes for baby talk. According to Mel Magazine, baby talk is a way for partners to connect while also temporarily escaping the responsibilities of adulthood. So if your partner unexpectedly calls you "poo bear," it might mean they need a little break from the big kid stuff.
You Often Do It For Your Own Sake, Not Your Partner's
Baby talk can be more beneficial or intimate for the person doing the baby talk than the person receiving it. Even when parents are talking to actual babies, the baby talk benefits the adult because it allows them to see the baby as someone they need to protect, and this creates intimacy. Similarly, in romantic relationships, the person speaking like a baby develops warm feelings by doting on their partner.
I’ve heard people complain about couples’ baby talk more times than I can count (and certainly more times than a baby could count), but it can actually be a healthy part of a relationship. Sure, at first it can seem odd to have grown adults speaking to each other like infants, but there are very good reasons for doing so. So, if you have the urge to tell your partner, “I’m weery ti-yud” when you’re sleepy — don’t hold back!