If you are an exhausted new parent, you are probably waiting for the day when your baby gives you his first grin. When do babies first smile? It depends what you mean by "smile." It also depends on your baby's personality, his overall health and how closely you are watching that little face.
When Do Babies First Smile? What Do Those Toothless Grins Really Mean?
When you glow over your newborn's sleepy grin, some naysayers may feel the need to warn that it is "just gas" and that your baby is not really smiling. Ignore those negative neighbors. Babies with gas do not smile, they scream; your baby was probably smiling long before you got to hold him. According to the BBC News, researchers using 4D ultrasounds have found that babies smile even in the womb. They suspect that the smiles are indicative that the baby is calm and content.
While some babies are born smiling, others may not smile for a few days or weeks after they are born. It depends on how long it takes your baby to get used to the outside world. The best time to catch those early smiles is when your baby is asleep, warm and with a full belly.
Your baby's first smiles were just his instinctive way of showing that he was happy. These smiles are beautiful, but many new parents long for the social smiles. Social smiles are when your baby smiles because he wants to communicate with you and wants you to smile back at him. According to Dr. David Geller, a pediatrician, most babies begin to smile socially between 6 and 12 weeks of age. At first, these social grins will be few and far between, but by 5 or 6 months old, many babies are flashing smiles that light up rooms and draw strangers from across the supermarket.
To encourage social smiling, smile at your baby. React when he smiles at you. Talk to him, play with him, and watch his face. You are the person who teaches him how to be social. When it comes to smiling, he really will learn from watching you.
Your child's toothless smiles are fun, but you will get a special thrill when he flashes you that first smile with pearly whites. Most babies cut their first tooth before they are 7 months old, but some children may be 9 months or even a year old before the first tooth pokes through.
You are proud of your baby's smiles, and you should be. They are a sign that he's happy, healthy and enjoys being around people. If you encourage and take care of these smiles, you will enjoy them for the rest of your life.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.