From being newborn to a year old, your baby will smile a lot. But what do they mean? Do they always mean a show of positive emotions or are they more of mere reflexes? Here is a guideline of what baby’s smiles may mean according to their age brackets:
Facial Muscle Reflexes
A baby’s smile may mean mere facial muscle reflex due to natural growth. It often happens during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep phase of a baby aged zero to 5 weeks old, says Dr. Pamela Garcy, a clinical psychologist in Dallas. During such sleep, the baby experiences physiological changes that trigger facial muscle reflexes that often results to a “smile.” So, if you catch your newborn baby suddenly smiling, it may be a muscle reflex reaction to growth, not your baby’s vision of an angel.
Then the baby grows a bit and starts to see, hear and feel things around him or her–and smiles. Such types of baby’s smiles are most likely a positive reaction to sensory experiences some call appreciative smiles, but not exactly a social smile. Appreciative smiles often happen when your baby is 6 to 8 weeks old, and if he happens to give you one, it’s because he likes your face, not because he recognizes you as a parent.
These are smiles we really should enjoy because they are our babies’ response to social recognition. They happen when the baby is around 2 to 3 months old. The baby smiles at you because he recognizes that you are mom or dad, the same way he smiles at his siblings or sitter for recognizing them.
When the baby gets to be 6 months old, he starts enjoying being a smile expert. Meaning, he enjoys smiling at almost everyone and everything. The baby also smiles more often now and smiles almost at anything he sees. This is the apt time to do anything funny to make him smile and take good pictures of him smiling and giggling.
At this time–when the baby is 9 months old–he starts to be choosy about who he becomes friendly with and often has preference only for family members. So he smiles only at people he knows. Thus, your baby performs less as he usually does, and sometimes it can be disappointing.
Sense of Humor
When the baby is 12 months old, he starts appreciating funny acts and situations. He begins to develop his sense of humor, and sometimes you find it easy to excite him enough to make him smile or even giggle.
So, what kind of smile is your baby giving you now?