Your baby was born wanting to communicate with you and other caregivers, and so long before she is able to win you over with her very first smile, she’ll begin to imitate your facial expressions. She’ll move her tongue and widen her eyes when she sees you, and try to make eye contact from the very early days. She is, in fact, already engaging you in a ‘social dance’ to get your attention, where both your eyes meet in a held gaze and then you take turns to make facial gestures.
Your baby’s first proper social smile generally occurs at about six weeks, although you may have spotted an earlier one and dismissed it as wind. Your baby’s smile is the start of her turning into a social person and communicating with the world in a language everyone can understand. The power of your baby’s first smiles cannot be underestimated – just at the time when you feel exhausted by the responsibility of caring for such a needy being, you get that first gummy smile and all your worries are swept away.
You can find out more about your baby’s communication development at different stages here:
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This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot – New Zealand’s parenting resource for newborns and baby.