When Will My Baby Smile and Laugh?
Seeing your baby smile, and hearing him laugh for the first time are two of the most rewarding parenting milestones. And we aren’t talking about gassy smiles here. We are talking about real smiles--signs of happiness. You finally get a glimpse of those sweet baby gums. You get to hear the best sound in the world. Your life will quickly revolve around making your baby smile and laugh in any way possible, just so that you can see and hear them. It’s also one of the first tangible reinforcements we get as parents. A sign that you are doing something right. An indicator that your baby is in fact, happy! So when can you expect to see these milestones emerge?
Newborn babies will often smile in their sleep, which is usually a sign of gas. But the real smiles, the ones that come as indicators of recognition and happiness will start to happen around 6-8 weeks old. Now, take this with a grain of salt. All “milestones”, including smiling, vary from child-to-child. If your child isn’t smiling at 8 weeks old, don’t panic. Bring it up at your next baby’s next well check visit. But know that every child is different.
Laughing as a sign of enjoyment, happiness, intrigue--and usually emerges around the 4-month old mark. Your baby may respond to a funny sound, being tickled, or a dog running by. Again, don’t worry if your child isn’t laughing regularly at 4 months old. These markers are merely averages, with many children laughing later on. Again, speak with your pediatrician if you have concerns.
Personality has a bit to do with when your baby will smile and laugh, and how frequently. If you have a more serious child, then these milestones may show themselves a bit later than if you have a happy-go-lucky baby. All babies are born with an innate temperament which affects their personality, and their temperament may affect when they smile and laugh. Most children fall into one of three temperament categories:
EasyEasy babies are mild tempered, go with the flow, are easily adaptable, and have an overall positive mood. They usually stick to a routine feeding and eating schedule. These babies will likely smile and laugh most easily.
Slow-to-warmSlow-to-warm-up babies are a bit on the cautious side. They are considered shy or sensitive, and can have some trouble adapting to new situations. It may take a bit more time for baby’s with this temperament to smile or laugh.
DifficultDifficult babies are oftentimes unpredictable or seem unhappy. They cry often and have irregular sleeping and eating patterns. Generally, they are in a negative mood. Babies who are colicky would fall under this category. These babies may take a bit longer to show smiles or to laugh.
Can you identify your baby’s temperament? As a mom of three, I will tell you that my children fell into all three temperament categories, and they all smiled and laughed at different times.
Things You Can do to Make Your Baby Smile and Laugh
If you want to increase your chance of seeing your baby smile and laugh, there are some things you can do to entice them.
- Tickle! Find your baby’s tickle spots--bottom of the feet, thighs, neck, armpits--and see if tickling won’t conjure up a smile or laugh.
- Make funny noises! Just act like a lunatic and make as many weird noises as you can, and you’ll likely get a reaction from your baby.
- Funny faces! Funny faces alongside those funny noises won’t hurt your cause.
- Bring your baby around other kids or babies. Big kids have great success with getting babies to laugh or smile.
- Use a paper fan or washcloth to create a fan-effect on your baby’s face. Or gently blow air on them.
- Give that delicious belly of theirs a raspberry kiss!
- Play peek-a-boo! It’s hilarious to a baby.
- Or you could just pay up! But seriously, maybe this “Smiles” onesie would do the trick or you can make your own custom onesie!
I wish I could tell you that on the day that your baby turns 7 weeks old, at 12:50pm, she will smile for the first time. That’s the thing about babies though, they like to keep us on our toes. And remember, every baby is different. Your baby won’t smile and laugh at the same time as your niece or nephew did. My advice, don’t worry so much about the milestones, like smiling and laughing. They will come. Instead enjoy your sweet baby, and everything he/she is doing today. Before you know it, they will be celebrating their first birthday!