Watching a baby smile is a joyful experience. Nothing is sweeter than seeing that first hint of a smile and watching it develop into first a little grin, then a whole face smile, and then uncontrollable giggles. Most babies start smiling toward the end of the first ten weeks. As soon as that first hint of a smile appears, we parents start doing all kinds of silly things to earn another smile. My husband and I happily spent hours jiggling our daughter in just the right way, or singing ridiculous songs just to see a little smile.
According to this article on baby smiling in Slate, smiling might be a bit more complicated than I thought. The article talks about different types of baby smiles:
- Duchenne Smiles – when baby smiles with raised cheeks and pinched eye, it signals a more focused thinking smile, like when baby is smiling at something in particular.
- Open Mouth Smiles – when baby smiles with her mouth wide open, she is being playful. This is a good signal from baby that you should move in for a little tickle time!
- Anticipatory Smiles – a more advanced smile, when baby smiles at some object then turns to you, baby is trying to get you to take a look at what they were smiling at. Baby is trying to share their joy in the object. Our baby does this a lot with the dog, she smiles at the dog, then turns and smiles at us in an effort to share the excitement.
So there’s some research to confirm what all parents know… a baby’s smile is very special indeed!