All smiles!

All smiles!
Parents never forget their baby’s first smile! It marks the start of an intimate bond between parent and child.

Parents never forget their baby’s first smile! It marks the start of an intimate bond between parent and child.

Babies usually begin smiling around the age of two months (between six and eight weeks). “Babies smile when they see someone’s face, usually those of their parents,” explains psychologist Marie-Ève Brabant. “They react when you make funny faces. For example, they may mimic you when you smile.” After about four months, babies also start to laugh.

A baby’s first smiles are a wonderful way for parents to bond and communicate with their little one. Marie-Claude, mother of 22-month-old Mathis and 3-month-old Gabriel, still melts each time her youngest smiles. “The moment I look at Gabriel, he smiles,” she says. “It’s a great feeling to know he recognizes me and is happy to see me. I love him so much! And ever since he started smiling, it’s as if he’s saying he loves me too! Sometimes, while he’s breastfeeding, he’ll stop just to give me a big grin. It’s magical!”

The sixth sense

Did you know?
A newborn’s smile is not a “real” smile. “Before the sixweek mark, smiling is just a reflex,” says Marie-Ève Brabant. “It’s not a conscious act, but a physical response to feeling content. These smiles often occur after babies have finished nursing or just after they’ve fallen asleep. That’s why they often seem to be smiling in their sleep.”

After about 16 to 18 months, your baby will begin developing a sense of humour. “Around this age is when babies start goofing around,” says Brabant. They might pick up a toy, for instance, and use it in a funny way to make you laugh, such as by wearing a bucket on their head like a hat. “Babies take after their parents,” Brabant continues. “If Mom and Dad are always clowning around, a child is likely to develop a sense of humour early on.”

Mathis knows exactly how to make his parents laugh. “He loves to dance,” says Marie-Claude, “and seeing him bust a move cracks us up. The more we laugh, the more he hams it up and tries to put on a show!”

How to make your baby smile

Babies naturally seek a connection with their parents. It usually takes very little to make them smile, and it’s so much fun! See for yourself by giving these tricks a try:

  • Lean in close to your little one’s face and talk to her, pull faces, or make funny sounds (e.g., mimic animal noises, the hum of an engine, or snoring).
  • Blow softly on her face or belly.
  • Give her little kisses on her neck and stomach.
  • Tickle her neck, feet, and armpits.
  • Sing songs that involve actions, such as “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”
  • Play a few rounds of peekaboo.


Naître et grandir

Source: Naître et grandir magazine, January–February 2018
Research and copywriting: Julie Leduc
Scientific review: Solène Bourque, psychoeducator


Photo: Maxim Morin