From the moment you bring your little bundle of joy through the door, every single thing they do will make you swoon. And rightly so.
And during this exciting time you’ll get to experience so many firsts. Everything is new and every single second is so precious.
But there’s really something about locking eyes with your baby and watching their smile grow wide for the first time.
It’s like when the Grinch’s heart grows three times its size – you just don’t know you’re capable of that much love until you’re in that moment.
And so it comes as no surprise that parents are desperate for this moment to come around. Although trust me when I tell you that the newborn period whizzes by all too quick – savour every minute.
While you might have seen the resemblance of a smile from day one with your little one, the first intentional social smile will come around the 2-month mark. And boy, is it something to see!
You’ll hear many parents tell you that their little one came out of the womb with a beaming smile on their face. In fact, most parents are proud of their newborns’ adorable facial expressions.
And while I would never argue the point with any new blissful couple, this won’t technically be true.
The parents aren’t technically all that wrong either, their little ones’ facial expressions might look like smiles. However, these tend to be grimances and grins that aren’t socially intentional.
There’s no exact answer as to why this happens, but it is most likely that the child is responding to internal signals of some kind. For example, hunger or gas.
Nevertheless, this isn’t bad news at all. If you think those beaming faces are adorable now, well just you wait! It only gets better as time goes by!
At the two month mark, your little one will begin to learn the social smile. And this is where the true magic starts to happen.
You see, during the first month your child is still a bit too little to really begin to understand much of what is going on around them.
However, by two months they are much more alert. They’re awake and they are definitely paying attention.
They start to take in what they are seeing and hearing. And most importantly they really start to recognize who loves and cares for them when they are upset or tired.
At this point when you begin to smile at your child, it can create feelings of excitement and protection within them.
You smile at them and they feel loved, and soon they start to develop that cheeky and adorable smile of their own.
Babies will start to recognize at this point that they can control the confusing world around them and find comfort from other methods besides fussing and crying.
You’ll start to get a lot more of that gorgeous grin. I can’t promise that they won’t still revert back to their old methods too, but at least you get the smile along with it.
Smiles That Look Past You
You’ll also often hear parents say that sometimes when their baby smiles it’s as if they look straight past you.
They may even be focusing their attention at an inanimate object instead; a lamp, the certain, the wall.
Try not to be too concerned, or offended, if your little one is doing this. It’s a very common thing especially so early on in their lives.
You see the world is still a big, scary, and overwhelming place for them. It’s still all so fresh and new.
And looking directly into their parents eyes might simply be too overstimulating or overwhelming for them right now.
Sometimes babies will look past their parents so that they learn about other things.
They may be taking note of your voice, or your touch, even your facial expressions. There is so much for your little one to experience, so many senses coming alive.
They may just need a little more time or practice. But don’t worry – they’ll get there.
Smiling back and forth with your little one is absolutely imperative. Not that I have to tell you that – I bet you spend as much time seeing that stunning smile as you can!
But engaging in this behaviour with your little one actually really encourages both emotional and social development.
Responding to your baby’s social cues shows you that you are reliable and that they and their needs are important to you.
And because you can’t help but smile back at your beaming baby, that predictable response gives them the confidence they need and the knowledge that they have some control within this new and exciting world.
Smiling back at your little one will help to grow their self-esteem too. So at least now you have a reason to dedicate some serious hours to smiling.
Your little one will likely pull all manner of adorable faces from the get go and it may even look like they’re giving you a big old smile.
However, it is usually around the two month mark that you’ll start to see that beaming intentional grin from your little bundle of joy.
So, if your newborn is already pulling some pretty cute faces at you, just wait for what is to come.
At this point, your child will begin to understand the love you have for them and that you care for them and you’ll be rewarded with that big smile.
And what a pleasure it will be when it happens.
There’s nothing quite like seeing that very first ever smile. It’s infectious and so heartwarming.
And once you see that first one, you’ll spend not only the next couple of months but your whole entire life trying to see it over and over and over again.