Babies smile because...
It’s hard not to feel overjoyed when your baby gazes adoringly into your eyes and flashes a brief, but unmistakable smile. But is your baby really trying to communicate her joy at seeing you...or does she simply have gas? TheAsianparent.com investigates.
Babies smile for the same reason as anyone else. They smile because they are happy.
This may be because their mum just walked into the room or a favourite toy has been found. Sometimes babies smile because they see everyone else smiling and they are just imitating the adults around them. Other times babies will smile when they see a loved one, a pet, or anything that might be considered funny by such a young child.
But, many other experts do not think that is the case.
The reasoning behind this is that a baby smiles when she experiences pleasure. If she is sitting on the floor and her dad bends down to pick her up, she will likely smile. Also, this action will likely be repeated over and over showing the child really does enjoy being picked up by a loved one and smiles because of it.
Additionally, babies smile when playing with toys or hearing new music.
Smiling babies’ timeline
Baby smiles at 0-1 months
Neonatal smiling occurs from birth to one month of age and shows no emotional content. Smiles are often spontaneous and often occur while the baby is drowsy or during REM stages of sleep. Baby smiles are sub-cortical in origin and will actually decrease with maturity. Contrary to popular belief, baby smiles have nothing to do with gas.
Baby smiles at 1-2 months
At around one or two months, babies will gradually start to respond to environmental stimulation. Your baby’s first smile when she’s fully awake will likely appear between six and 10 weeks. At this age, your baby’s brain is developing, her vision is improving and she can recognize your face.
Your baby will likely respond to auditory stimuli first, such as music or mum or dad’s voice. Next comes a response to visual and auditory stimulation combined. The last thing to make baby smile is visual stimulation alone.
Baby smiles at 2-6 months
You should see a doctor if your baby is not smiling by three months as this might signal problematic mental issues. Don’t push your little one to smile, but once she does, have fun with it. At two to three months, you’ll notice that your baby starts to look right at you when she smiles. During this time period babies will increasingly respond to face-to-face interaction. This will be a great time to try out funny faces with your baby!
By four to six months, your baby will start to smile, and then look away. At this point, babies are learning to regulate emotions and the joy may be too intense. Let her look away and then reengage once she returns her smile to you.
Baby Smiles at 6-12 months
During this period you will start to see lots of different smiles. As a general rule, open mouth smiles demonstrate more joy than closed. Your baby will also start to play with laughter.
By eight or nine months, smiles are used often in social situations and as a method of communication so make sure to respond to your baby when she gives you a big smile.
Around 12 weeks of age you will more than likely see your baby smiling. These smiles may range from small to big open mouthed grins. By six months of age almost all babies smile, laugh, and make happy faces.
Smiling is after all; just a natural reaction to happiness and this reaction is innate – right from the day we were born.
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