There are many milestones that you and your baby will reach and experience in the first year of your baby’s life. Perhaps one of the most rewarding milestones is your baby’s first conscious smile accompanied with a tiny giggle when seeing your face or recognizing your voice. Smiling and laughing show that your baby not only can express emotion but also proves that your baby understands emotion and empathy.
Since all babies are different, there isn’t a definite time when you can expect your child to start smiling and laughing. When your baby is first born, it will respond to various stimuli in their environment. For the first few weeks of your baby’s life, don’t expect even a meaningful eye contact, let alone a laugh or a smile. A smile at this age is only a gas reflex and not an expression of emotion. After about one month, you can expect your child to start recognizing you and looking you in the eye, which is a milestone all in itself. This signifies that your child begins ‘seeing’ your face and knows where to look for you. As early as five weeks of age you can see your baby’s first smile as a reaction to you playing with him or smiling at him or in a response to another human, to a sound or to a certain movement and gesture.
In addition to smiling, your child will also start making endearing silly faces at you. Your baby will enjoy watching your face as if trying to read it and will mimic your facial expressions and gestures as well. After three months, your baby will still be spending most of their time observing the world and watching what goes on around them. Around this time, your baby will give their first real smile, not because they were mimicking yours, but because they were genuinely happy. Your baby will continue to “smile talk” for a few months.
After four months, your child will finally have mastered the art of laughing. Whenever babies meet a new person that they like, expect a sound of joy to come from their mouth. New sounds, colors, interesting shapes can also trigger a hearty giggle. However, your baby will reserve his best smiles for the familiar faces and sounds of mom and dad. This is one of the first signs of parent-child bonding and is a truly rewarding one.
At around five months of age, your baby will have genuine laughs because he finds something funny or entertaining. Tickles and facial expressions when perceived as funny can cause a marathon of laughter. The same goes for the presence of other babies, rhymes and certain songs – they can be very amusing and can bring an avalanche of giggles and smiles.
Create positive excitement and joy for your baby; he will appreciate it and reward you with a smile to light up your heart.