If you’re like many parents of newborns, you may be wondering, “When do babies start laughing?”
As your newborn gets more and more control of its new body and begins to perceive more of its environment, it will start to interact with you in more interesting ways.
Smiling and laughing is one of the earlier milestones in baby development where your baby’s personality starts showing up. Seeing that first smile and getting a genuine giggle is an amazing moment.
It starts with a smile
Shortly after birth — and sometimes even while still in the womb — a baby can flash a smile as a reflex. This happens as your baby is testing out its new body and getting used to operating the “machinery.”
However, around the time your baby is 6-12 weeks old, it will generally start to smile in response to things in its environment.
The first real smile you get is a heartwarming experience. Be sure to smile back to encourage the activity and to show your precious one that smiling is a good thing.
So, when do babies start laughing?
After mastering the art of smiling, your baby will be ready to start laughing when it is amused.
Typically, you’ll first start to notice cooing and gurgling, which eventually evolves into giggling and laughing.
Most babies will start laughing when they are around 3 or 4 months old. But every baby is unique, so don’t be concerned if your baby takes a little longer to get into the swing of things.
How to help your baby discover laughter
At first, babies laugh in response to something that feels good, such as tickling or kissing their belly. A funny face or amusing sound can also get a reaction of laughter.
Some things you can do to encourage your baby to laugh include:
Gently touching it
Engaging in light tickling, gentle blowing on your baby’s skin, and tenderly kissing their hands and feet can create a delightful sensory experience that often results in joyous giggles.
Infants are highly responsive to tactile stimuli, and these gentle interactions provide a playful and pleasurable sensation for them.
The combination of soft touch, gentle movements, and the warmth of affectionate kisses stimulates the baby’s senses, contributing to their overall sensory development.
Moreover, these loving gestures foster a sense of security and closeness between the caregiver and the baby, enhancing the emotional bond in these early stages of development.
As infants become more socially aware and responsive to their environment, engaging in eye contact with caregivers becomes a crucial aspect of their emotional and social development.
The exchange of gazes helps establish a bond between the baby and their primary caregivers, creating a sense of connection and security.
During interactions that involve laughter, eye contact often serves as a trigger for the baby’s joyful response.
The shared moment of connection through eye contact not only reinforces the emotional connection but also contributes to the development of the baby’s social and communication skills.
As babies continue to grow, their laughter and responsiveness to eye contact become integral components of the intricate dance of social interaction that shapes their early development.
Making funny faces
Making a silly face is a timeless and effective technique for eliciting laughter from babies.
By contorting your face into entertaining expressions or playfully sticking out your tongue, you tap into the universal language of humor that resonates with infants.
The sight of a caregiver making a funny face can captivate a baby’s attention and trigger delightful giggles.
This classic approach not only brings joy to the little one but also strengthens the bond between the caregiver and the baby through shared moments of amusement.
The simple act of creating silly faces becomes a delightful form of interaction, fostering a sense of connection and contributing to the joyful atmosphere of early parent-child relationships.
Creating a symphony of funny sounds can be just as effective as amusing facial expressions when it comes to eliciting laughter from babies.
Experimenting with various sounds, such as playful kissing noises, entertaining popping sounds, or speaking in a comically squeaky voice, adds an auditory dimension to the joyous interaction.
The simplicity of blowing raspberries, with its humorous vibrations, can be particularly effective in capturing a baby’s attention and eliciting infectious giggles.
These playful auditory antics not only provide a source of amusement for the little one but also contribute to their auditory and sensory development.
The shared experience of experimenting with funny sounds becomes a delightful form of communication between caregivers and babies, strengthening the bond of affection and fostering moments of pure joy.
Discovering the key to your baby’s laughter can be as simple as introducing a squeaky toy or a jingling bell into their environment.
Infants are naturally curious and responsive to different stimuli, and the novel sounds produced by these objects can captivate their attention and spark joyful reactions.
Caregivers can playfully experiment with various items, from soft toys that emit amusing squeaks to those adorned with jingling bells.
The exploration of these auditory delights not only entertains the baby but also contributes to their sensory and cognitive development.
It’s a delightful way for caregivers to engage with their little ones and uncover the whimsical triggers that bring about precious moments of laughter and happiness.
Playing games with your baby, such as the timeless peek-a-boo, has been a source of laughter for generations.
These classic games tap into the developmental milestone of object permanence, where babies begin to understand that objects continue to exist even when out of sight.
Peek-a-boo, with its simple yet delightful element of surprise, engages the baby’s growing cognitive abilities. The laughter that ensues is not just a response to the game’s playfulness but also a reflection of the baby’s evolving understanding of the world around them.
As object permanence typically begins to develop between 4 and 7 months of age, these games become not only entertaining but also serve as valuable tools in supporting the baby’s cognitive growth and awareness.
Baby not laughing at 7 months?
Every baby unique, and some hit milestones at different times than others.
As mentioned above, 3-4 months is typical for when do babies start laughing. But if your baby isn’t laughing by then, or even by the time it is 6 or 7 months old, it’s not time to worry yet.
Just keep giving your baby a safe loving environment and reasons to smile and laugh, and one day you get that long-awaited laugh.
If you do have some concerns about your baby not smiling and laughing adequately, discuss it with your healthcare provider.