A smile is just the beginning

Don't stop smiling!!

Don’t stop smiling!!

A child’s first smile happens, on average, about six weeks after they are born and can certainly help to make up for the sleepless nights!  It is a very important milestone as it is the beginning of social interaction. 🙂  At first, it is more like a reflex but between six weeks and four months, they will certainly be smiling just to see a familiar face!

Did you know smiling AT your baby literally grows their ‘social brain’ (prefrontal cortex)?  This is the most important thing you can do to start growing your child’s emotional intelligence.  Your baby has been hard-wired to look at faces which you will no doubt notice when you see them paying good attention to you!  And this of course, is how your baby’s head starts to change shape, as the brain grows.

For anyone who wants to know exactly HOW smiling affects the brain growth, it involves:

  • the baby seeing a smile and their heart rate increasing
  • a ‘beta-endorphin’ (or feel-good hormone) is released into circulation, and into the orbitofrontal region (part of prefrontal cortex)
  • the beta-endorphin helps neurons to grow
  • dopamine is also released at the same time which also encourages neuronal growth through uptake of glucose

If you’re interested in more about the very specifics of how early interactions shape a baby’s brain (and it is pretty scientific, so you’ll have to be very keen!), seek out ‘Why Love Matters’ by Sue Gerhardt.

More about milestones for newborns to preschoolers coming up, also featuring more on our facebook page – I raise my kids.

This entry was posted in Emotional development, Milestones and tagged , , , , , , , , by heidelightful. Bookmark the permalink.

About heidelightful

Hello friend! I am a paediatric speech pathologist and health coach. My vision is to create a world where parents can understand the real link between diet and their child's health and behaviour, and know how to create true health for their family. My two young, wonderful and sensitive sons both have food intolerances and have also taught me about my own, that I have never known about until now! Topics I have looked into for my own family's health and also from my role as a speech pathologist with children with picky eating are food intolerances, fussy eaters, creating healthy eaters and eating to prevent and ‘cure’ childhood issues such as ADHD, autism, eczema/skin issues, trouble sleeping, low immunity, frequent snot/ear infections and bedwetting, to name a few. I write many posts coming from being an exhausted mum trying to keep up with fussy boys who can only eat certain foods and also as a professional who has worked with other children with similar issues. I live on the Sunshine Coast in Australia with my husband and two boys and was previously an exchange student in Brazil! I hope to inspire you to help your child achieve their potential through health and well-being. Thanks for stopping by :) Heidi

One thought on “A smile is just the beginning

  1. Pingback: Don’t wait to start listening! | i raise my kids

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