Was That A Smile Or Gas?

You've head new moms gush that their babies already smile at just a few weeks old, or even earlier! But is that really the case? We had to know -- when do babies really smile?

smiling baby

Straight facts on smiles

Research shows that babies can smile upon birth and there is evidence via ultrasound that some babies even smile in the womb. This occurs most often when baby is waking up or about ready to go to sleep -- which are inherently happy times for little ones. (More so the latter for new parents in desperate need of some shut-eye!)

When babies smile in the first few weeks of their life, their smiles are not emotionally charged. And some research suggests that these early smiles are not caused by gas, either.

Evolving smiles

After the first month of life, babies can start to respond to environmental stimulation. Because your baby's brain is still developing and her vision is still clarifying, he will probably respond to audio stimulation first such as you singing to him. In response, you may expect a smile somewhere between the first six to 10 weeks of your baby's life.

Face-to-face interaction

By about two to three months, your baby should be able to smile in response to your face as well as your voice and look at you when she's smiling.

This is a fun time to engage your baby in silly faces, big smiles of your own and whatever else your can do to bring on those happy faces.

Remember that baby is still developing and regulating her emotions, so even a short smile session can overstimulate her. If she smiles and looks away, this is a sign that the happy feelings are overwhelming. Take this as a cue to turn it down a notch until baby returns her gaze -- and smile -- to you.

If you haven't seen a smile from your baby by about three months, it's a good idea to check with your doctor to see if there is a reason behind it or if your baby is just a late bloomer.

Work those smiles

Between six and 12 months baby's smile will develop into an open mouth smile, and he may have different smiles in reaction to different stimuli. By about nine months your baby can use his smile in social interaction and as a way of communicating -- so make sure you "talk" back with your best grin for baby!

More on baby development

8 Developmental baby games
Speech development in the infant and toddler
Baby development affected by mama mood swings

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