Can’t Wait for Your Baby First Smile? When does Smiling Becomes More than Just a Reflex?

One of the things parents wait so much is their baby first smile. When is it supposed to happen? And when does the smile is voluntary with a social meaning behind it and not just a reflex? 

What is a social smile? 

A baby social smile occurs as a result of an external stimulus. Your baby may respond to your behavior or to a different tone you used when you turned to her. The baby is fully aware of her being smiling. She wanted and meant to do it. It’s not just minor facial convulsions due to a reflex. 

Until approximately the age of 2 months, babies smile involuntarily. As much as you want them to have a social meaning, these smiles are nothing more than a physiological reflex. In fact, if you look at your baby while she is asleep you will clearly notice this reflex as she will briefly simper from time to time.  

So when does it really happen 

Baby first smile most commonly appears at the age of 2 months although there are exceptional cases in which it occurs as early as 3 weeks or as late at 3 months. Babies who are born prematurely may also smile at a later stage. 

If 3 months have passed and your baby is still not smiling voluntarily, it may be a good idea to consult your pediatrician. It does not necessarily mean that you need to start worrying. Some babies, just like adults, don’t have a sense of humor. But to be on the safe side, get a professional opinion. 

A sign of normal development 

Your baby first smile indicates that she has become consciously and socially aware of her immediate surroundings. She reacted to something that made her laugh and feel good. This is a positive sign of normal development that gives parents a great feeling as they finally get a feedback from their infant.