The beauty of a ‘baby smile’ is truly magical. A baby smiling can light up a room, filling people’s hearts with joy and happiness. Baby’s first smile is unforgettable. It always brings a rush of emotions and gives you unmatched pleasure. There’s something so pure and innocent about a smiling baby that can bring peace and contentment to anyone who sees it. For new parents, the baby’s first smile is always precious.
The Precious Baby Smile
A baby smiling is unadulterated, unfiltered, and unburdened by any of the stressors or worries of the outside world. It serves as a reminder that goodness and beauty may be discovered even in chaotic situations. And it’s nearly impossible not to smile back when a baby does.
At What Age Does a Baby Smile?
You may notice a baby smiling soon after birth, but it is primarily a reflex action. Infants can begin to smile as early as the first few weeks of life. Babies smiling early, however, are typically reflexive or brought on by physiologic feelings, such as sleep or gas passing.
Baby’s first smile is often around six to eight weeks old in response to social cues such as a carer’s face or voice. Baby smiling, often known as a social smile, indicates that the infant is starting to recognize and react to their environment.
Baby smiling is the first step towards attempting to talk. After the baby smiles, they will start cooing and giggling. Eventually, they will laugh fully.
How to Differentiate Between a Genuine and Reflex Baby Smile
It can be challenging to distinguish between genuine and reflex babies smiling, especially in the first few weeks of life. However, here are some general differences between the two types of smiling babies:
Reflex baby smile – When babies are in the womb, their smile is reflex. These smiles are not in response to someone or when they are happy. They may even smile while sleeping. They come randomly and are short. They are not considered to be genuine smiles.
Social/ Real baby smile – As a baby grows and gains more social skills simultaneously, they can move more precisely. Whenever they interact with someone, they smile. The infant will recognize the smile and voice of their mother. When a child is awake and alert, they genuinely smile.
How Can You Make a Baby Smile?
While there is no pre-set way to make a baby smile, here are some tips that may help encourage the baby smiling:
- Show love – Much love, hugging, and affection must be showered on the baby. They will love to be cuddled and talked to in a sweet voice. Whenever you hug them, they will smile to show their happiness.
- Put on a happy face – Babies like to imitate facial expressions. So, if you want your baby to smile more, even you will have to smile more.
- Different sounds – Babies like to hear different sounds and noises—for example, the sound of a rattle, whistle, etc. In most cases, it results in the baby smiling.
- Play with the babies – Babies like to be surprised. Try playing peek-a-boo with them. Hide your face or put a cloth on the baby’s face while playing. The baby will be delighted, leading to the baby smiling.
- Give positive reinforcement – When your kid smiles, reinforce it by grinning, laughing, or speaking upbeat. Thanks to this, your infant will learn to identify smiling with good feelings, which may inspire them to smile more.
- Be patient – Remember that every infant is unique, and some may take longer than others to smile. If your baby isn’t grinning as much as you’d like them to, don’t panic; as they develop and grow, they will start to smile more and more.
Remembering that all babies are different and have unique personalities and preferences is essential. Don’t worry if your baby doesn’t smile right away or as much as you’d like them to – with time and patience, they will begin to smile more and more as they continue to grow and develop.
Why do Some Babies Smile More and Some Smile Less?
Babies cannot have the same growth rate. Every baby is unique, has different development milestones, and reaches their own pace. A baby’s development depends on many factors. There are individual differences-
Family interaction– A child born in a joint family will have more interactions as there are more people to look after them. They will have more stimuli, so the brain will develop faster than a baby born in a nuclear family where there are only parents in the family who interact with the baby. Moreover, parents will have limited time if they are working. There are chances his milestones will be delayed. Hence baby smiling is observed more in the joint family than in the nuclear family.
Cultural norms – Similar to the size of the family, even the cultural norms matter. The more you interact with your baby, the chances of a baby smiling also increase. Babies born in different cultures will reach milestones differently.
Premature birth – The baby born prematurely will have delayed milestones, including the baby smiling. They may even talk and walk later than a baby born typically.
Vision problem – The baby may be suffering from low vision or blindness and hence may not be able to see their parents smiling and fails to respond to them.
Hearing problem – The baby with hearing issues may not smile at the different sounds or parents’ voices.
Temperament – If the baby is shy, they will not like interacting with people. If they interact less, they will smile less than other babies. This may be their personality and not a disability.
It’s vital to remember that every baby is different and grows at their pace, so it makes sense that some parents start cherishing their baby smiling earlier than other parents whose babies grin more or less. However, speaking with your pediatrician if you have concerns about your baby’s development is always a good idea.
In short, baby smiling can take away all your stress and worries, and you can be in that moment, creating memories for the future. Baby smiling is a natural phenomenon that starts in the womb, but more interactions with the baby can enhance baby smiling. Baby’s first smile is a moment that you might wait for as a new parent, but there is nothing to worry about if it’s getting delayed as different babies take different times to hit the milestones and give you the pleasure of seeing your baby smile. Baby smile reminds us to cherish each moment we spend with our loved ones and the importance of relishing innocence, joy, and love.