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When Do Newborn Babies Start to Smile?

By Susan Revermann ; Updated June 13, 2017

As a new parent in the midst of sleepless nights and mounds of dirty baby clothes, you will be hard-pressed to find anything as emotionally rewarding as your little one smiling at you. The first smiles are heart-warming, but the true social smiles come later. Soon your baby will be communicating with smiles, body gestures and some vocalizations.

Accidental Smile

An accidental smile is beautiful when you spot it, but those can be rare. You might catch her smiling in her sleep and when she is experimenting with her facial muscles. These smiles can be spotted on newborns or older babies.

Social Smile

Social smiles are smiles that your baby chooses to do. This will start happening around the beginning of the second month. Don’t worry if he looks like he is gazing passed you at first -- his vision isn’t that refined yet. By the third month, he will be mastering his “smile talk” and exchanging smiles frequently with you, according to WebMD.


If you’re trying to get your baby to crack a grin, you have to work on your timing. Wait until after she is fed, because a hungry baby is only focused on one topic -- eating. After feeding, burping and changing her is good time to try to get her to smile. A relaxed, alert time is best, according to WebMD.

Encouraging a Smile

Your baby should be able to see you for best results. Hold your little one close or position yourself in front of her face, about 8 to 12 inches away so she can see you. Use a soft, pleasant voice to talk to her. Sing if you like. Just talk and smile at her. You might not always get a smile from this, but it can increase your chances, according to WebMD.

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