It's OK If Your Baby Doesn't Smile At First

Your baby's first attempts at communication begin long before they can start speaking. Crying is the most obvious (and loudest) method of relaying information. But facial expressions can also communicate quite a bit, from good humor to outright distress. And for many parents, the most cherished expression of all is your baby's first real smile. With this in mind, when does baby smile for the first time, and how can you entice your baby to grin? Because a smiling baby is a beautiful sight for any parent.

If it seems like your baby popped out into the world grinning, then this may indeed be the case. For the first few weeks of life, babies tend to display what's known as a reflex smile. These reflex smiles are cute, but they're rooted more in your child's development than any form of communication just yet, as noted by New Kids Center. They're kind of like a muscle twitch or tic.

But take heart, because your little one will start smiling for real soon enough. According to Parents, your baby's first real smile will happen when he's 6 to 12 weeks old. Unlike the random reflex smiles, this grin will happen in response to a stimuli, and it will probably last longer than a reflex smile, as further explained by Parents. So if your baby breaks into a giant grin when you're holding him and playing peek-a-boo, for instance, then it's probably the real thing. Smile: your baby has hit one of the sweetest developmental milestones.

Once your baby really smiles for the first time, you'll probably want to see that grin again and again. To make your baby smile, you might try blowing raspberries on his tummy, making silly faces, or imitating animal sounds, as noted by Babble. If nothing else, you'll probably crack up yourself after a couple of attempts at trumpeting like an elephant. And seeing you act silly might, in turn, get your kiddo to grin a little bit. Whatever the case, hopefully you and your baby will have many reasons to smile as he continues the process of growing up.