Offbeat — 20 May 2013

Why do babies smile

Seeing your baby smile may fill you with joy and pride but does it mean that he/she has started feeling good about the surroundings? Or is it a normal activity like sleeping without any social implications? In fact, babies begin to smile right after their birth sans any emotion attached to it.  Then why do babies smile? Do they really begin to smile when they are happy at some stage? Let’s try to crack the smiling code of our lovely babies.

Right after birth to one month of age, you will find your baby smiling a lot especially while sleeping. This has got nothing to do with emotions of the baby. It is a subcortical activity among children that decreases in frequency as the baby grow.

Once the baby turns 1 to 2 months old, actual smile will begin to appear. By this time, your baby’s senses and vision become better. Babies begin to respond to auditory stimuli and hence they recognize and smile when they hear your voice. Next, they smile at auditory and visual stimuli put together. So, they smile when you talk to them.

After two months of age you will find your baby staring at you and smiling. Your baby will also begin to get involved in face to face interaction. Making funny faces will make babies smile more. By the time babies turns four months, they start smiling at you and look away. It happens because they learn to regulate their emotions and they may be overjoyed at times.

By the time babies turn six months old, they begin to smile frequently and you can observe a difference in smiling pattern as well. Generally, open mouthed smile indicates lots of joy as compared to close mouthed smile. By eighth month, babies start smiling socially. Engage them in communication and make them smile more and more.

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About Author

Ritu Insaan

A homemaker, social worker and a mother, Ritu Insaan holds an MBA degree in Public Health. She has worked in the rural areas of northern India for the upliftment of less privileged sections of society. Whenever she finds free time amidst her busy schedule, she does freelance writing for a number of websites.

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