By about 6 weeks, a baby begins to smile on purpose; by 2 months, those reflex smiles will disappear and you will not see them anymore. That said, every baby develops at her own pace, and it is not unusual for a baby to take until the three-month mark to smile on purpose. How can you spot the difference between a reflex smile and a social smile during those first few weeks? See if you can drag your eyes away from her adorable upturned mouth for a moment and look into her eyes. When a baby is giving a social smile, she will also be engaging in eye contact. A social smile also happens when a baby is awake, and will likely look less lopsided and more symmetrical than a reflex smile. It is also longer, she wants to connect and will hold it until she gets feedback in the form of a smile or eye contact from you. Baby’s first smile is a key one in infant development. It is a milestone for a baby because it signals that her vision and nervous system have not only matured enough to be able to zone in on your face and eyes but that she recognises a smile is a way of communicating with the world around her. By six months, a baby will be more selective with whom she shares a smile with, a baby will share them with the special people in her life, but around this time new faces may cause crying. That is completely normal, and a sign that baby is beginning to separate the world into the people he knows and strangers.
A baby’s first grin is a major milestone for parents too. And it is a gift that keeps on giving, the more encouragement you give, the more he’ll want to practice his newfound expression. Smile back, clap and talk to him when he gives you a grin, the more you interact, the more you will be able to see unique differences in the types of smiles he gives, whether it’s a “good morning!” smile or a “oh, wow, this toy feels good in my mouth” smile. “Parents know their baby best, and by 6 months, they will be able to spot different smiles, from the ‘I’m so glad to see you’ smile to the ‘I’m having fun now, but a meltdown is about to occur because I’m overtired. And even though babies tend to reserve their very first smile for the people they know best (like for Mom and Dad!).
Babies are very good mimics. If they see you smile a lot, chances are they will try to emulate the expression.
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