Happy Baby! How Smiles Develop

Those first gummy grins are actually just a reflex, but over the course of the next 12 months your baby will start to smile as a way of expressing pleasure, communicating with you, and, finally, developing a sense of humor. We'll take you through the stages.

0-6 Weeks: Reflexive Smile

baby smiling

Alexandra Grablewski

You'll spot your newborn's first grin when he's asleep. You'll see him twitch, startle, and -- is that a smile? "During REM sleep your baby's body goes through physiological changes that activate certain reflexes, and one of those is a smile," says Pamela Garcy, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Dallas. At this point it's probably just a physical reaction, not an emotional sign.

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