After a long few weeks of crying, feeding and dirty nappies, all you want is to see your baby smile. More than a precious moment, this first smile is the first and most adorable sign your little one will show you that they are not just healthy, but happy.
Yes, you read that right. A surprising fact that most people don’t know is that unborn babies can already make a smile in utero. While these may not be conscious or voluntary movements, these ‘smiles’ are an early form of what’s known as a ‘reflex smile’, similar to the way that your newborn will wave their little arms around or randomly kick out their leg. These are signs that your baby is feeling their way through their body and that the little connections between their brain and their muscles are strengthening.
By the age of two months, you will see your baby’s first ‘reflex smile’. These smiles are generally quite short and can happen at any moment, sometimes even while they’re asleep. As real as these early smiles may feel to you, there’s a strong chance that it’s actually your baby passing wind. Your fellow parent friends, own parents or midwives may insist that it’s ‘just gas’, but nobody knows your baby like you do. If you notice your baby smiling during morning cuddles or right before a nappy change, this may well be a sign of comfort and contentment, which as a parent is all that really matters.
Your baby’s first ‘real’ smile is likely to occur around the age of 6-8 weeks. Around this time, you might start to notice more frequent little mouth twitches as your little one practices how they can move the muscles in their baby face and use them to express real happiness and pleasure. When their first ‘real’ smile happens, you’ll know it. Baby won’t just smile with their mouth, but with their whole face: their little eyes will sparkle, their squishy cheeks will round and they might even let out a little gurgle
A simple smile will encourage your baby to feel safe, secure and content. The more that you smile at your baby, the more they will want to mimic you. It’s not possible to spoil a newborn, so make lots of time for cuddles, coos and tender loving care. In fact, the more that parents show their babies affection, the quicker their little brains will develop, especially emotionally and socially.
It turns out that a smile really is the start of something good. Around the time of their first real smile, your little one will also start to explore what else their faces can do. Facial expressions will become more varied and reactive to the world around them. So, that little scowl that normally means you need to check their nappy? They might actually just be frowning at you…
My 1st Years x