When Do Babies Smile?

There is nothing compared to the feeling you have when you see your baby smile for the first time. You forget your sleepless nights, newborn stress, and even morning sickness when you see your baby smile at you. Truly, the moment is priceless, but if you are still waiting for that moment, you may be wondering, "Why do babies smile?" When your baby smiles, it indicates she is learning social skills. Let's find out more about it.

When Do Babies Smile?

It may come as a surprise that your baby start smiling even before she was born. Babies can start smiling early in life; in fact, they can start in uterus as well. The only thing is that those first smiles are not intentional, but they are called reflex smiles. Nevertheless, they are still smiles, but you do not have to wait long to get that first real smile from your baby.

The Timeline for Baby Smile Development

Why do babies smile? While you may have to wait a bit longer, babies usually start smiling very early in their lives. Here is a bit more about the timeline to help you get an idea:

0 to 6 Weeks

During this phase, your baby is likely to throw a reflexive smile only. Most babies flash those first smiles while they are asleep. They may even twitch and startle. That happens because your baby goes through several physiological changes during REM sleep. This may look like a smile, but this is not an emotional response to anything and is more of a physical reaction only.

6 to 8 Weeks

When babies are 6 weeks old, they are likely to smile at things they find pleasurable. You may seem them smile when you cuddle them. While those smiles are real, do not expect a lot of them coming at this stage. Most babies will smile because of certain sensory experiences – it means that their smiles are not due to a social response. Just do not stop encouraging your little angle to smile. Your effort will help you determine how your baby responds to different noises and gestures. Always talk gently to them and do not forget to imitate their expressions. You may see them imitating yours.

2 to 3 Months

You are likely to get social smiles during this stage. Babies would start to connect with the world around them. They may smile when they see you. They may even react to your voice. You will also see them make silly sounds. Your baby will start expressing them with other gestures as well – be ready to deal with the grunting, the gurgling, and the strange humming. Just keep in mind that even though your baby will start smiling more, you may not be able to make them smile whenever you want them to. Be sure to talk to your doctor if your baby has not smiled by 3 months.

About 6 Months

Not all babies grow at the same pace. Also, keep in mind that some babies are always more smiley than others, and they will be an expert at it by the time they are 1 year old. A 6-month-old will always be able to grin at you.

About 9 Months

Your baby will start to recognize you more and understand that you are special and distinct from others around them. The problem is that they are likely to become anxious when they see strangers. So, expect your friendly baby becoming a bit grumpy by the time they are 9 months old. They may not smile at strangers no matter what you do. They will become more selective about when they want to smile.

About 12 Months

Babies start to develop a sense of humor when they start to develop language skills. It is relatively easier to make babies of this age to laugh. They may start laughing when you make silly noises. Be sure to laugh along with them so they can interact with you in a better way. Make a funny face, drop something on the ground, or surprise them with something to hear them laugh. You can play with them as much as you want and they will enjoy every minute of it. Just keep creating hilarious situations and your baby won’t stop laughing.

Tips to Make Baby Smile

When do babies smile? Every baby is different, but there is certainly a timeline to consider. However, if you want to make your baby smile, you can try a number of tips. For instance:

  • Try peek-a-boo. Babies just love this game and do not seem to get enough of it. You can play it with a burp cloth, blanket, or even a napkin. Just cover your face with something and remove it suddenly to see your baby smile.
  • Try Upsy Daisy: Ensure that your baby is on their back. Then, let them hold your thumb firmly and then slowly lift them up. When they are in a sitting position, say "upsy daisy!"
  • Try Bubbles: Babies always love liquid bubbles. Make bubbles and blow them toward your little angle. You will be amazed to see the kind of kick they get out of it.
  • Kiss Them: Simply tickling and kissing your baby will help make them smile. You may also blow on your little angel's belly or face to see them smile.
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