Encourage Baby's First Smile

Your sweet little newborn’s lips just curled up in his very first smile… This first smile brings joy to a parent that is tough to top. But is that a real smile or just gas? Here’s how to ensure your baby’s smiles are meant just for you.

smiling baby

When babies first smile

According to WebMD, newborns often smile in their sleep – and yes, those first initial smiles may be attributed to gas. Can you blame him?

Teach your baby to smile

Is smiling really a learned attribute? Yes, says WebMD and it is also a way to help development your baby’s self esteem. “It lets her know that her feelings are important and that she can affect her environment. It's also important for her overall brain development,” according to the site.

Baby’s first “social” smile

Babies can start to smile as a response to something that makes him happy at about six to eight weeks of life. Baby's first smile is actually considered a developmental milestone because it means that baby can understand that a smile can get your attention, it is a way to express his feelings and communicate with you and it is also a way to note that baby is figuring out human behavior and his brain is developing according to schedule.

Ways to encourage your baby to smile

To try to help your baby develop her first social smile, the best thing to do is smile at her a lot! Remember to hold her close to your face – as baby’s vision is not fully developed and she can see something best if she’s about eight to 12 inches away from it. Coo, sing and play with baby to encourage her to smile. Make sure to choose a time when baby is relaxed and happy – coercing a grouchy baby to smile might just be an exercise in futility!

What if baby doesn’t smile?

If your baby is not smiling by the two-month mark, you will want to let your doctor know. There are several reasons he’s social smile is delayed, including if he was born prematurely.

More on baby’s first milestones

Why are well-baby checkups important?
What to do if your baby is missing milestones
2 month baby milestone: The beginning of talking


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