The first time your baby smiles at you, all the sleepless nights, morning sickness, and newborn stress will suddenly seem worth it, a million times over. There is nothing sweeter than a baby’s face lit up with happy recognition or delight.
Smiling is also a welcome sign of a child’s growing social skills, now that your newborn is making the transition from cute sleepy ball to outgoing, irresistible little person. Babies begin to smile quite early – in fact, even in the womb. You may have noticed the baby working on her smile on an ultrasound in the second trimester, or you may have first seen it on her sleeping face shortly after she was born. But you’ve probably also heard—from your mother-in-law, your pediatrician, and all your friends with kids—that newborn smiles aren’t “real” smiles.
The truth is, they are right that these reflex smiles are different from the social smiles that are yet to come. Newborns may smile when they pass gas, fall asleep, feel comfortable, or pee. Feel free to enjoy those sweet first smiles, no matter the reason. Who could blame you? Before he starts his first full social smile, you can see your child doing a lot of smile trials by practicing and exploring their mouth movements.