Seeing your baby smile, especially for the first time, is one of the most rewarding experiences of parenthood. At that moment, everything seems worth it—the sleepless nights, the diaper changes, the newborn stress. As you beam back, you will have a silly grin on your face as you try to recreate the smile.
A first grin—even if it’s a “gas smile”—isn’t just for mom’s ego. As important as it is for the baby, it is an important developmental milestone for mom as well. In the first year of your baby’s life, you’ll be able to see their grins as they express pleasure, communicate with you, and develop a sense of humor:
How to Understand Your Baby’s Smile from 0-12 Months:
0–6 weeks (Reflexive): These smiles appear when the baby is getting drowsy, experiencing REM sleep, or simply passing gas. Often more of a grimace than a smile, these smiles last no longer than a few seconds. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!
6-8 weeks (Responsive): This smile indicates pleasure. It occurs when mom’s voice is heard, when they see your face, or when you cuddle with them. Be careful not to get too excited. A lopsided smile is just a reaction to sensory experience, but social smiles are on their way!
Around 2-3 months (Social): Now your baby smiles on purpose, usually in recognition of someone special, such as a parent, sibling, or family pet. This baby’s smile is more symmetrical, lasts longer, and involves the entire face. Pay attention to the eyes in particular. Social smiles are all about engagement, and the baby expects a response.
6 months (undiscriminating): During this period, the baby just enjoys smiling. It doesn’t matter if it’s with family or strangers. Everything elicits an approving grin.
9 months (selective): As the baby begins to differentiate between friends, family, and strangers, smiles become more selective. It is common for new faces to cause anxiety and even tears. Please do not feel embarrassed. It is a perfectly healthy development.
By 12 months (A Sense of Humor): Around a year old, the baby is starting to develop language skills and smiles are becoming more evident. Take advantage of this baby’s smile, because almost everything you do will be hilarious.
It is important to keep in mind that this is not a strict schedule. Babies are no different from adults when it comes to smiling or laughing.
Whether your child is an infant or a teen, we are here to attend to their oral health needs every step of the way. It is our goal to give your child a smile that will last a lifetime. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Capitol Hill Pediatric Dentistry
Phone: (202) 849-3292
650 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 220
Washington, DC 20003