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Ages & Stages

Your Baby's First Smile

A few of the most important developments during the first month are your baby’s first smiles and giggles. These start during sleep, for reasons that are not understood. They may be a signal that the baby feels aroused in some way or is responding to some internal impulse. While it’s great fun to watch a newborn smile her way through a nap, the real joy comes near the end of this month when she begins to grin back at you during her alert periods.

Those first loving smiles will help you tune in even more closely to each other, and you’ll soon discover that you can predict when your baby will smile, look at you, make sounds, and, equally important, pause for time-out from play. Gradually you’ll recognize each other’s patterns of responsiveness so that your play together becomes a kind of dance in which you take turns leading and following. By identifying and responding to your child’s subtle signals, even at this young age, you are telling her that her thoughts and feelings are important and that she can affect the world around her. These messages are vital to her developing self-esteem and sense of fun.

Last Updated
Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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