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Why Babies Smile

March 26th, 2018 | By: Nancy Ripton
Is your baby happy to see you, or does she just have gas? Find out what your baby's smile really means.

In This Article

Why Babies Smile

It’s hard not to feel overjoyed when your baby gazes adoringly into your eyes and flashes a brief, but unmistakable smile. But is she really trying to communicate her joy at seeing you, or does she simply have gas?

Open-mouth baby smiles indicate joyBabies usually don’t start social smiling until about eight months, but their smiles can still say a lot before then. “In fact, babies smile when they’re asleep from birth,” says Dr. Daniel Messinger.

Baby smiles at 0-1 months

Neonatal smiling occurs from birth to one month of age and shows no emotional content. Smiles are spontaneous and often occur while the baby is drowsy or during REM stages of sleep. Baby smiles are subcortical in origin and will actually decrease with maturity (so premature babies smile more than full-term babies). And, contrary to popular belief, baby smiles have nothing to do with gas.