All Smiles

How can you tell if your baby is grinning out of pleasure?

Q: How will I know when my baby is actually smiling out of pleasure?

A: You'll know because it will happen consistently and in response to interactions with you, says Claire Lerner, a child development specialist at Zero to Three, a national nonprofit in Washington, DC. Experts say the ability develops at about six weeks. Before then, what looks like a smile could be gas or even a startled grimace. What's most important is the reaction a first smile evokes in parents, says Lerner. It's one of the first signs that your child is connected to you in a unique way.

Copyright © 2002. Reprinted with permission from the November 2002 issue of Child magazine.

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