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The Social Smile

Your infant's first smile is one of the highlights of early parenthood. After weeks of crying, sleeping, and being changed, your baby looks up at you and suddenly smiles with pure delight. For a baby, it's the beginning of socialization. For some parents, weary of late nights and dirty diapers, the first smile is emotional and a time when they truly feel in love with their babies.

When Babies Smile

The social smile usually appears between about four to six weeks. Any smiling your baby does before that may not be deliberate. It's usually only a sign that she's comfortable because she's just been fed or just urinated. You'll recognize a real smile when you see it because it's bigger and longer than a newborn's fleeting smile: your baby will be alert and looking right at you as she smiles.

At first, your baby will smile at any face--even a grimacing mask. After several months, most babies save their smiles for people they know and don't respond to unfamiliar faces.

Getting More Smiles

The easiest way to encourage your baby to smile is to smile in return and give her a cuddle. Your warm response tells her she's done something wonderful. But keep in mind that some babies just naturally smile less than others. Your baby's love for you can't be measured by how much she smiles at you.

FisherPrice Parenting Guide CDROM