When you have a newborn, the pace of development is incredibly exciting. It seems that week-by-week you discover new milestones that your little one is reaching. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep that makes time fly by, but, no matter the reason, watching your child grow right before your eyes is a fascinating and thrilling experience.
And one of the best moments is when your child looks at you and grins for the first time. This is, in fact, one of your newborn’s first ways of communicating. But when do babies smile for the first time?
Here’s a look at when you can expect to reach this fun developmental milestone, as well as more information on when your baby smiles for the first time — and what comes after.
Look for Smiles Between 6 and 8 Weeks
Babies actually start smiling in the womb. Crazy, hug? There’s evidence that babies begin smiling about 25 weeks into the gestational period. When you have a newborn, you may notice that he or she tends to smile while asleep. This is just the baby smiling as a reflex. In fact, babies smiling while sleeping may even indicate that baby is feeling a little gassy!
But what about the first social smile? You should look for your baby’s first social smile somewhere between 6 and 8 weeks. The social smile should come shortly after your baby starts to make eye contact and just before he or she starts to coo.
A social smile is a lot of fun, but it’s also a good sign that your child is developing. Social smile let you know that you baby can see longer distances than early on, and it also shows that certain parts of the brain are maturing.
Not to mention the best part: A baby’s smile is one of his or her first ways of communicating with parents.
How to Make a Baby Smile
Are you eager to see your baby smile? There are a few things you can try to coax a first smile as you get closer to that 25-week mark. Here’s a list of 5 things you can do to make a baby smile:
- Bubbles: Babies find bubbles mesmerizing. This is a simple and affordable activity that you can try to both pass the time and to see if you can inspire that first smile.
- Music: Babies love music, too, and music just might motivate a first smile. Try the Baby Einstein channel on Pandora if you’re looking for music that’s curated just for little ones.
- Pets and Animal Noises: Another great way to bring about the first smile is to bring out the pets. If you have a gentle dog or cat that’s patient with kids, let your baby feel your pet’s fur and look at your pet’s friendly face. If you have no pet, try making funny animal noises.
- Peek-a-Boo: Here’s a classic: A good, old-fashioned game of peek-a-boo is a great way to engage with your baby and maybe get him or her to smile for the first time.
- Fake Eating Fingers: For whatever reason, babies love it when parents fake as though they’re eating a baby’s fingers and toes. Give it a shot and, you never know, you just might see that first smile.
When Will My Baby Start Laughing?
So, you’ve gotten your first smile. Enjoy it! And then look forward to another fun milestone: the first laugh.
But when do babies start laughing? You’ll most likely notice your child’s first laugh somewhere around 3 or 4 months. And it’s going to be something you call in love with. There’s nothing quite like the sound of a deep and unadulterated baby laugh.
What if My Baby isn’t Smiling?
First things first: Don’t panic. If it’s been 3 months or more and your baby isn’t smiling, mention it to your pediatrician during a check-up. It’s most likely nothing to worry about. Babies develop and different rates.
But, in some cases, a lack of smile might be an indication that you baby is having some vision issues. Your child’s doctor should be able to provide expert guidance and allay any unfounded fears.
Final Thoughts on When Babies Smile for the First Time
We love to share about milestones and when you can expect to see your baby take important developmental steps. But don’t get too caught up in measuring your baby against the typical path. All babies are different, and yours might smile earlier than others while your friend’s baby takes a little bit longer.
Again, if you have any concerns about the pace of development, be sure to ask your doctor. It’s most likely nothing to worry about.
Do you have a funny or interesting first-smile moment to share? Let us know via our comments section below, or you can always use our contact page to send us a message directly.