Even newborns seem to smile when fresh out of the womb, but in reality experts consider these only reflex smiles. Reflex smiles represent a survival instinct on the baby's part. Similar to suckling, a baby smiles to make itself more appealing to adults in an attempt to keep safe. Reflex smiles start anywhere around birth to three days and can last until the child has reach two months old, according to Babble.com. As babies develops, they move closer and closer to flashing a real smile.
The First Real Smile
A baby's first real smile doesn't usually occur until six to eight weeks after birth. This learned smile is in reaction to stimuli within the environment, including reactions to a parent's face or seeing something the baby likes. A baby's first smile is an indicator that they are:
While parents might have some difficulty with distinguishing between a reflex and an actual smile, tell-tale signs include the use of the entire face by the baby when smiling, which also extends to the eyes. Parents should keep in mind that most babies seldom develop at the same rate, with some infants smiling as early as four weeks old and others not cracking a genuine grin until at least 12 weeks, according to Babble.com.
How to Make a Baby Smile
Parents who have any concern with their baby not smiling can always try to encourage their baby to smile by playing games with them. Some good games parents can play with their child to encourage smiling include:
Other Baby Smile Tips
While it might seem like it is taking a long time, parents should expect their baby to eventually smile naturally. Some things for parents to keep in mind while waiting for their baby to smile include: