When to Expect Baby’s First Laugh
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When you see your baby’s sweet smile, you may think, “Can it get any better than this?” Well, just wait until you hear them laugh for the first time! A sound you’ll want to bottle up, your baby’s first giggles are also evidence of their increasing engagement with the world around them. Just like adults, babies tend to have unique senses of humor right from the get-go—so it may be a silly face, a funny noise, or an unexpected motion that gets your baby guffawing.
When do babies start laughing?
There is a build-up to your baby’s first laugh: First come the smiles and coos as they begin to vocalize. Then, around 3 to 4 months old, that first tee-hee erupts. And once your baby gets going, you can expect to hear a lot more laughter!
Unlike smiles, laughs aren’t likely to happen “accidentally.” Whereas smiling is a reflexive expression they’ve been working on since their time in the womb, laughing calls on more advanced skills from your baby—like using their mouth to make a sound other than crying.
Laughter is also a sign of your baby’s blossoming social skills. By this stage, they are seeing and ready to interact with the world around them!
How can I make my baby laugh?
In the beginning, you and other beloved caregivers will likely be your baby’s favorite comedians. When your baby is 3 to 4 months old, turn “getting them to laugh” into an experiment by making some funny faces, laughing out loud, and tickling.
Interestingly, research involving babies around the world found that one classic game is a winner when it comes to making babies laugh: peekaboo! Caspar Addyman, the scientist behind the research, hypothesized that peekaboo is so successful at making babies laugh because it involves “pure social interaction—it really is about the eye contact and the connection with the baby.” When your baby laughs during this game, it’s their way of having a conversation with you and expressing their joy.
What if my baby isn’t laughing yet?
Because laughter is a pretty complex skill, it’s rare for babies to burst into a fit of giggles before 3 or 4 months. And even then, your baby’s first laugh will be more of a chuckle than a full laugh.
After that point, some babies may laugh regularly, some may laugh on occasion, and some laugh rarely. As long as your baby is hitting other social, physical, and cognitive milestones, laughter alone isn’t a huge cause for concern. The fact is that some baby’s temperaments lean more toward the serious side.
If your baby has not uttered their first chuckle by 4 months, continue experimenting with their sense of humor. In addition to peekaboo, tickling was another solid method for getting babies to giggle. Also, try to save your laughter-inducing tests for times when your baby is relaxed and at ease. Few of us are up for a chuckle when we’re tired, hungry, or generally grouchy—and that goes for babies, too!
If your baby is close to 6 months and has not laughed at all or does not make squealing sounds, bring it up with their pediatrician during your next appointment. Before that conversation, evaluate how much your baby is responding to stimuli around them, how they are communicating their feelings and needs, and whether they can focus their eyes on objects within close range.
What’s “average” for a baby varies from baby to baby. Some healthy babies will hit milestones “early,” and plenty will also reach these benchmarks “late.” But, of course, your worries are no laughing matter. So don’t feel silly reaching out to your child’s doctor if you have any concerns!
More on Baby Development:
- When Do Babies Roll Over?
- When Do Babies Crawl?
- When Do Babies Walk?
- When Do Babies Talk?
- When Do Babies Climb?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Important Milestones: Your Baby by Four Months
- The Laughing Baby: The Extraordinary Science Behind What Makes Babies Happy, Caspar Addyman, 2020
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Important Milestones: Your Baby by Six Months
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Developmental Milestones: 7 Months
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Emotional and Social Development: 4 to 7 Months
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.