“Oh it’s just gas. That’s not his first smile. Babies that age can’t smile yet.”
Every parent who has ever squealed at the sight of their newborn’s first sign of pleasure has heard this before. It comes from well-meaning nurses, grandparents and even the baby’s other parent.
I give you permission to ignore it. Shake the haters off. Enjoy that baby smile.
Don’t misunderstand me. It is true that a newborn infant lacks the coordination to produce a social smile.
In addition to gas, they might be making a wet diaper or falling asleep.
No matter how well prepared you are, early parenthood is not for the faint of heart. You knew that babies cry before you had one (or had another, in which case you were VERY familiar.) And you expected dirty diapers and more laundry and less sleep. Maybe you even planned ahead and hired a postpartum doula to help manage. Still, there’s nothing like being in the thick of it.
At that moment when you come home from work, or wake up at 3 am to meet the needs of a tiny person, you might need a sign that it’s all worth it. Even as you become able to differentiate the cries from hunger to discomfort to sleepiness, they are still crying.
So I don’t fault you for looking for a sign that it’s all worth it.
There is no shame in enjoying the face your little one makes while he works a gas bubble out. Smile right back, cuddle and coo, and tell him how cute that face is.
When your baby is smiling to connect with you, she’ll use her whole face. Her eyes will light up at you or another person who has been loving her. And you’ll all know it.