First Smile? Or a Fart? Who Cares!

Baby first smile probably not gas

“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.

Until at least 4 weeks (and this milestone may take up to 4 months), your baby’s expression is likely about a physical sensation.

In addition to gas, they might be making a wet diaper or falling asleep.

But what I’m saying is, if you look at your baby and see something like a smile? Take the win.

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.

The good news is that enjoying these moments won’t take away from the joy you feel when the first “real” smile comes.

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.

That first smile, the first laugh that will follow, and every moment of joy you share after that will be amazing.

But until then, enjoy that adorable gassy grin. You’ve earned it.

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