When Do Babies Smile: Seeing your baby reach several milestones becomes a great part of our memorabilia. But their smile tops all those milestones because there’s nothing better than the sight of your baby with a grin and it is indeed one of the best gifts of parenthood. Besides, you might have several queries in your head just like When Do Babies Smile? How long should we wait to see our baby’s first smile? And so many other basic questions. We’ll clear them all one by one. Let’s begin with when you’d observe it for the first time.
When do babies smile?
Well, if you believe the doctor’s word, your baby might have been smiling even when they were in their mother’s womb, though the key thing to note here is that these smiles might not be intentional. It is just their reflexes working which is why these smiles are referred to as “reflex smiles”. And there’s a difference that is easy to discern if the baby’s smile is a real one or just a reflex smile.
Difference between a real and a reflex smile
Firstly, let’s deal with another question. When do babies start smiling and cooing? You should know that the reflex smiling is a random occurrence and it usually ends up after 2 months of the baby’s birth. Plus, this is also the same time when you’ll get to see the first real smile. The expected duration for the real smile’s wait is assumed to be between one and a half months to 3 months. Now, coming to the recognition of both these smiles, you can find it out by their timing and duration.
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The random reflex smiles occur for a very short time and are generally seen when the baby’s sleeping or tired. On the contrary, the scenario would be totally different in case of a real smile. This is what happens when a baby sees their mom or any familiar face. Moreover, real smiles would make your baby express its emotion in a way unique than those due to reflexes. Their faces start to glow and light up when they actually do it. Smiling is one of the most important aspects when it comes to the development of a baby’s brain. It is another way of indicating that the social skills of your baby are proliferating incessantly with good progress.
Once this behavior starts, it is likely to occur again and again. Obviously, the smile makes everyone around the baby cheerful, but the response is going to transform with the passing time. Firstly, a baby starts to do it when they hear the voice of their siblings or their mom singing a lullaby. “At first, your little guy’s happy face will be in response to a mix of vocal and visual stimulation,” says child psychologist Dr. David Elkind. With time, the smiling response will be invoked just by the presence of the baby’s favorite people around him.
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The best example will always be a mom. Even other people’s activities would start making him happy after a while. Dr. Getterman said, “It will start with cooing at first, and then lead to small giggles and waves of giggling.” In case you’re expecting to see those full-fledged belly laughs, then that may occur when the baby is 5 months old.
Types of development
If we talk about the development, then it can be mostly determined with the help of a baby’s smile. His vision improves and now the baby can recognize the people around him. This also shows that he has understood that smiling lets him connect with others. So, the baby would smile to show his excitement and contentment.
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Tips to encourage your baby to smile
If you’re still waiting for the baby to smile, then some things can be done from your side to encourage him for the same. Dr. Elkind says, “Babies are developing the ability to regulate their emotions and may look away if they are getting too much stimulation.” Here are some tips that you can follow to help your kid smile:
- Play games with them like peek-a-boo because playing such games are considered to be good for a baby’s mental development. Moreover, it makes the kid surprised and cheerful as well.
- Talk to them with a happy face and also make eye contact. When you’ll be happy around him, he would try to mimic the happy face as well.
- Try making funny noises by copying animal sound and their behaviors.
- Above all, babies want cuddles, kisses. So, love and affection are what they long for.
Baby’s first laugh
When it comes to another social development nothing would matches with the baby first laugh, you’d be able to see it when they start cooing which happens just after they learn how to smile at several instances, generally 6 to 8 weeks. After cooing, they begin to laugh when it’s the commencement of the 16th week. Although if it has been 2 months already but you baby not smiling, then there’s nothing to be serious for the time being. Every baby doesn’t follow the textbook, and some take up to 4 months to start smiling socially. Social smiling is a part of her social development, but not the only component.
Still, some things need to be taken care of. Yes, babies indeed hit their milestones at different times and their own pace, but it is not an issue if your baby is taking longer than usual. Besides, you can also talk to your pediatrician if it has been 3 months or more and your baby is still not smiling or not responding to any of your actions. If you witness that your child is unable to observe any moving object by moving their eyes or they don’t babble or make sounds at the end of 4 months, then a doctor should examine these things.
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To conclude, the mere surprise of seeing your child smile for the very first time is one of amusement. It’ll be gladdening for any parent to witness their baby’s face glowing up with a grin.