A newborn baby who went viral after smiling at her father is now an adorable toddler.

Antonella’s parents, Flávio Dantas and Tarsila Batista, were overjoyed when she was born in August 2019. But even when Antonella was still in the womb, Flávio and Tarsila made sure to tell her how much they loved her. Every day, Flávio spoke to his unborn child, telling her nothing but sweet things. “He always told her how much he loved her,” Tarsila told the Brazilian magazine SoNoticiaBoa. “‘Good morning,’ I said as I walked into work. ‘I’ll always be there,’ he said, stroking my belly.”

And something incredible happened every time her husband did that. “Amazingly, she always seemed to start moving at the same time every day,” Tarsila added. Flávio’s habit of talking to Antonella in the womb proved beneficial. Antonella’s bond with her father was evident even before she was born at Marcilio Dias Naval Hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Adorable toddler being carried by her dad

Flávio leaned in close to say “hello” to his precious girl as the medical staff handed her over to her parents for their first embrace. He said the same things he said to her every day, but this time Antonella responded. When the baby first heard her father’s voice, she burst into the biggest and sweetest smile! Hearing her father’s familiar voice now that she was outside made her heart so happy that she couldn’t help but smile.

“They put her on top of me, sleeping, and as soon as he spoke to her, Antonella opened her eyes and smiled,” Tarsila recalled. The ecstatic new father, Flávio, described his love for Antonella as “too big to fit inside his chest.” Tarsila completely agrees. Antonella’s arrival is regarded as “a gift sent by my Lord.” And, by the looks of things, Antonella feels the same way about her parents. Fortunately for us, a nurse snapped a photo of the trio smiling at each other.

Flávio Dantas and his daughter Antonella

The couple eventually shared the photo on Instagram with the caption “Quando vi minha famlia pela primeira vez,” which translates to “When I first saw my family” in English. Tarsila also shared their adorable family picture on Facebook and wrote in the caption: “And it’s that moment that we forget all the pain and focus on the most sincere smile of all. “My princess was born.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, babies can begin processing sound as early as 16 weeks after conception. A baby in the womb will noticeably react to external noises at 26 weeks, which explains why Antonella moved whenever she heard her father’s voice. The sound of their parents’ voices can also soothe babies. Flávio cherishes the special bond he has with his child. Antonella is now a toddler and still as cute as ever. Looking at her Instagram photos, she appears to have matured into a true daddy’s girl!

The bond between this father and his daughter is heartwarming to witness. Remember to tell your fathers how much you appreciate them this Father’s Day.

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