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When Will My Baby Smile?

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Question: My baby just turned a month old, and I can’t wait to see him smile at me. When should I expect this to happen, and is there anything I can do to encourage him?

Answer: You’ve probably already seen a few smiles while your baby was asleep in these early weeks. No one knows why newborns smile while they sleep. They might be reacting to an internal impulse. But a real smile — the social kind — doesn’t usually happen until babies are 5 to 8 weeks old.

If you want to help your baby along, the best way to coax him to smile is with smiles of your own. Even at this young age, your adorable baby is capable of imitating what he sees. Games like peek-a-boo and playful kisses can also tease him into a happy grin.

After a while, the smiles you exchange will be like a playful dance, where you take turns smiling first. When you respond to your baby’s smiles, you teach him that his feelings matter and that he has the power to affect the world around him. It’s a wonderful lesson for your baby to learn — and certainly gives him something to smile about.


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