Written by Pradeep
Only a mother can understand the euphoria associated with a baby’s first smile. Three months of nausea, nine months of discomfort, many hours of labor, a painful delivery, painful C-section stitches – everything becomes worth it when the little one looks into your eyes and blooms into a beautiful smile.
You know she is smiling only for you. And that is why your baby’s first smile will always be special for you. But your baby’s smile has other significance as well. Before we look at that, let us first understand the common things about your baby’s first smile.
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Even a newborn smiles! But you would have already read or been told that a smile in the first month is not really a smile, but it is the baby passing gas and more of reflux. This is, unfortunately, true. The first “real” smile will usually happen between 4 weeks and 8 weeks.
You can easily tell this apart from the “gas” smile. When a baby really smiles, her whole face will be part of it. But during a “gas” smile, it is usually just the lips that curl and generally occur at random.
A real smile, however, will be in “response” to something you do – like when the baby hears your sound, you talk to her in varied tones, or he sees one of his favorite people- you or your spouse. In fact, even before the real smile, you might see the baby rehearsing it by moving her mouth in various directions.
In addition to being an incredibly heartwarming experience, a baby’s smile is an important developmental milestone as well. It signifies that your baby:
In fact, when you take your baby for her two-month check-up, the pediatrician is likely to ask you if you have spotted the first social smile yet.
Crossed six weeks and your baby has not smiled yet? Do not fret. Each baby takes her own time to reach the milestone. Further, if your baby was a preemie, she will take more time to reach each of her milestones, including the first smile. Meanwhile, there are plenty you and your partner can do to encourage the little one to smile. Try the following tips:
In short, all you need to do is shower your baby with your love, affection, and time!
As you know already, every child is different. We did say before that you can expect your child to smile socially for the first time between 4 weeks to 8 weeks. However, there are, as always, outliers. Some children take up to 4 months to flash their first smile. So don’t be alarmed if your child does not come across as a naturally smiling personality. As long as your baby is otherwise active, responsive, and alert and makes eye contact, he/she is quite normal.
That said, if a child does not smile past the 4 months mark, it is seen as an indicator of autism spectrum disorder. But this is not the only sign or symptom an autistic child will show. Consult a doctor if the non-smiling nature occurs along with the child not making eye contact, not responding to your verbal and visual cues, or not liking being held or cuddled.
However, we hope this is not something for you to worry about. Hope you get to revel in your baby’s first smile very soon! Happy parenting!
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