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The things that make a happy baby

From the moment your newborn arrives, your whole world will become focused on how to make your baby happy. So after weeks of coo-ing, talking and smiling at your baby, what’s the secret to that wonderful first heart-melting smile back? 

Happy Babies… 8 Parents’ take on 

How to Make Your Newborn Smile

How to Make Your Newborn Smile

From the moment your newborn arrives, your whole world will become focused on how to make your baby happy. So after weeks of coo-ing, talking and smiling at your baby, what’s the secret to that wonderful first heart-melting smile back? 

Well, who better to ask than real parents who have tried and tested the best ways to create those beautiful baby smiles...Read on to discover their top tips on how to make your baby happy. (Although bear in mind that until around 6 weeks baby smiles might be more related to trapped wind than the silly faces you are making.)

Happy Parent, Happy Baby

“How to make a newborn smile? A baby is very responsive to your own facial expressions so just smiling at them will help immensely.” - Emma Reed, Founder of Emma Reed, Motherhood and Eco-Conscious Lifestyle Blog 

“Babies tend to pick up on emotions & feelings. If they feel that you are happy, they are much more likely to be happy” - Erica Hughes, Founder of Nine to Three Thirty, Family Lifestyle Blog 

Babies pick up on their parents' emotions and this can often be seen in action, for example, if you are stressed or upset, you may find your baby is a little less willing to settle, is clingy or tearful. Taking good care of your own mental wellbeing will positively impact your baby’s happiness. It’s natural for this to be harder in the early days of parenthood when you may be tired or overwhelmed with your new role so don’t be too hard on yourself.

When you feel overtired and anxious or unhappy, acknowledge your feelings and try to get the rest you need when/where you can. Rest is key to helping you to relax and feel happier as a parent, why not try grabbing a nap when your newborn is sleeping? You’ll both wake up refreshed, ready for some fun and much more likely to have a smile on your face. 

 

Play Peek-a-boo

Play Peek-a-boo

“We can't resist the old favourite game of 'peek-a-boo'! Always guaranteed to make your baby smile, and their smile is guaranteed to put one on your face too.” - Emma Mosley, Founder of Happy Family Hub, Parenting Blog 

It’s the oldest trick in the book - you might even remember your parents’ playing it when you were a baby - but almost all babies love a game of peek-a-boo! 

Moreover, some developmental psychologists even think peek-a-boo is an important learning tool for babies, helping them to understand the concept that people and things exist even when they are not in plain sight. So, not only is playing peek-a-boo the simplest way to make your baby smile and laugh, you are also teaching them a valuable lesson and helping their intellect develop!

 

Give Your Baby Lots of Cuddles

Give Your Baby Lots of Cuddles

“Lots of cuddles and snuggles...never feel guilty for tending to their needs...if your baby doesn't like to be put down but you need to do a few chores, a baby sling or carrier is great. They might even have a snooze!” - Sarah Cull, Founder of In Full Flavour, Food, Family and Self-care Blog

“Remember that those first twelve weeks are the fourth trimester, so if your baby wants to be cuddled and held by you and never be put down, it’s totally normal. You can NEVER spoil a baby or ‘make a rod for your own back’ so if they need cuddling or picking up, do it!” - Rachel Hyland, Founder of Coffee Cake Kids, Parenting and Lifestyle Blog 

There are few things more delicious than cuddling your baby, in fact, it is scientifically proven that a hug has health benefits for you both. When you hold your newborn, the hormone oxytocin is released which plays an important role in social bonding, slows down heart rate and reduces anxiety levels, improving mental wellbeing. Hugs also release endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormone, so no wonder you and your baby are smiling after a good cuddle! 

The more snuggles you can get and give your baby, the better. Not only will it make you both feel happier, but it helps your baby feel loved and secure all of which is highly likely to encourage one of those gorgeous baby smiles. 

 

Maintain Regular Eye contact and Smile Lots 

Lots of eye contact and big smiles for your precious little one and soon they will be smiling back at you. And when it happens, it's just magical!” - Jennifer Clare Jordan, Founder of Rice Cakes and Raisins, Parenting and Lifestyle Blog 

“Smile at your baby, make eye contact” - Sarah Cull, Founder of In Full Flavour, Food, Family and Self-care Blog

Babies learn through observing you so it stands to reason that the more you smile at your baby, the more likely they are to reciprocate with a smile back. Maintaining eye contact as much as you can and making it easy for your baby to study your face will not only help with your baby's development in recognising you but they will also be learning to copy your facial expressions, including smiling. Everyone loves a happy face and your baby is no different so keep your smiles coming! 

 

Sing to Your Baby

Sing to Your Baby

“I loved singing silly songs to my girls when they were babies. They used to smile at me (probably saying, “Silly Mummy thinks she can sing!!!”).” - Vicki Lowes, Founder of Blossom Education

“Funny songs” - Sarah Cull, Founder of In Full Flavour, Food, Family and Self-care Blog

Brushing up on those nursery rhymes or bashing out your favourite pop-song is not only a great way to get those gorgeous giggles started, it’s also been shown to impact your baby’s brain development, soothe them and can even strengthen the bond between you and your baby.

 

Give Your Baby a Little Tickle

Give Your Baby a Little Tickle

“All of my babies loved a gentle tickle under the chin, it’s never failed to get a laugh or smile” - Alina Davies, Founder of We Made This Life, Parenting and Lifestyle Blog

When you sing to your baby you will no doubt have your favourite rhymes and many of those are accompanied with actions, including a little tickle under the chin, on the tummy, feet or under the arm. Doing these actions repeatedly will create some anticipation from your baby of the impending tickle and often raises as much of a giggle as the actual act of tickling. You will probably notice yourself giggling in return, which in itself is a way to get your baby smiling. 

So that is a round up of tried and tested ways to encourage a gummy grin from your baby, from real parents who have had success with these methods. Don’t worry if these tips and tricks don’t raise a smile from your baby though. Every baby is different and not all baby’s will respond in the same way to these little tactics. Some babies are a little more serious than others but you will get that smile from them eventually and it will be so worth it. You may even find your own private in-joke with your baby that keeps those giggles coming. It is fair to say there is nothing better than a smiley baby, here at Bluebell we absolutely love a cheeky little grin. 

Post or share the things that make your baby happy along with a picture of your smiley baby with us @bluebellfamily with the #happybluebellbabies for a chance to win a £50 Jojomamanbebe voucher based on popularity.