When Will You See Your Baby's Toothless Smile
Created by Ambili S Kartha Updated on May 27, 2019
Sometimes, just looking at your baby makes you smile, makes you forgo all your worries and stress. Watching your baby’s gestures, the way he/she sleeps, the way your baby wakes up are some things that I can do all day. I am sure most moms will agree with me. But when does the baby start smiling back at you? What is a reflex smile and social smile? Continue reading to know more about the smile, one of the major social milestones of your baby that transforms the newborn baby to a sociable, appealing little individual.
What Is Reflex Smile?
Way before the baby gives you his or her first ‘real smile’ they start to give out a smile like expression. In fact, they start smiling when they are in the womb. You may see them smile during the first day of their life itself. These neonatal or newborn smiling, which is known as reflex smile, is not an expression of joy and happiness. On the other hand, unlike the name insists, it is not a reaction to anything as well. Reflex smiles are mere unintentional smile which is the part of their survival instinct just like any other newborn reflexes like rooting reflex ( that helps with breastfeeding), sucking reflex and Moro reflex (abduction and adduction of hands as if they lost balance and are falling). A reflex smile appears when a baby is tired or sleeping and if he or she is in REM sleep and it tends to last just a few seconds.
What Is Social Smiling?
When baby starts to smile in response to the external stimulus, it is referred to as social smile. As your baby approaches the 8-week mark, the phenomenon of reflex smiles will eventually disappear and the baby starts to flash a real smile, a sign of love just meant for you. The timing and duration of a real smile and reflex smile will not be the same. The social smiling marks the onset of the baby’s emotional responses to people and things.
When Do Babies Smile?
The babies start to flash that heart melting smile anywhere between six to eight weeks. However, once they pass the two-month mark, they readily respond to some stimulus like their parents face, or a sibling’s voice. By the third or fourth month, they instantly start to smile easily at those who communicate with them with gestures and sounds. If your baby does not start to smile even after crossing the two-month mark, don't worry. Remember the babies have their own pace when it comes to achieving the milestones. It is quite normal for a baby to travel until the three-month mark to achieve the milestone of social smiling.
However, if your baby fails to communicate with you and fails to smile in response to your actions, you should bring the issue up with your pediatrician. Also, if the baby is not smiling even after 4 months, better draw the attention of your baby’s doctor to the issue as it may point to some issue related to the vision of the baby.
What Does Smiling Mean In An Infant’s Development?
Through the first social smile, your baby signifies a lot about their development, like:
It indicates that the baby’s vision has improved to the point where they can identify your face and gestures.
It indicates that the baby’s brain developed enough to have control over how and when to connect with people via smiling. Their communication skills are thereby “on track”.
A baby’s first real smile also indicates that the baby is starting to recognize their emotions.
They now realize that smiling back at you helps them to grasp your attention. Remember, attention is always in demand when it comes to babies.
How To Make Your Baby Smile?
Try these tips:
Communication is the best means to get a response from the baby. Talk to the baby more often with dramatic gestures.
Get close to your baby. All the newborns are nearsighted and they will not be able to figure out the figures more than a foot away.
You can get physical as well. Tickling belly, bouncing up and down are some of the excellent means to make your baby smile. Remember not to overdo it.