We all know the joy and warm feeling we get when a baby smiles at us. There is nothing quite like the moment when a baby breaks into a gummy grin, especially if you feel like you are the reason for the grin. It’s almost like you’ve personally made the sun shine.

This is the same feeling a baby experiences when their caregiver smiles at them. When a baby receives a smile, and smiles in return there is a release of hormones that help with baby’s brain development. When babies exchange smiles with their caregivers it gives them a feeling of safety and security. That the world they live in is a safe place. This exchange of smiles is the beginning of learning to interact and how to have social relationships. For infants smiling and frowning are the first steps towards conversation and learning how to communicate feelings.

Parents often ask when their baby will smile. When can they expect to see these little rays of sunshine poking through the clouds of sleepless nights? For most babies they will first be able to form a social smile at around six weeks. For those first six weeks though your baby will be watching you smile, and enjoying the good feelings that seeing you smile brings. So even when they aren’t yet able to form a smile in return your loving grins are still helping to develop their brains and social skills.

Jessica Kumar
Child and Family Health Nurse

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