When do Babies Start Laughing

When do Babies Start Laughing

Babies laughing is one of the cutest and most precious things in the world. To see a baby laugh is enough to brighten up anyone’s day. One of the best milestones in your baby’s development during the first year of his life.

In the initial months after birth, babies would mostly express their needs to parents by crying. As they advance in age, the sobbing gets replaced by amazing squeals of laughter which is a very effective way of letting their near and dear ones know of their appreciation of things going around them.

Laughing is an important mode of communication as a baby laughs approximately three hundred times every day, whereas an adult laughs only twenty times [2]. The common sounds of laughter emitted by the baby at the beginning is a low chuckle, cooing or gurgling that ultimately transforms to a full-on belly laugh [1, 2].

A Baby Laughing

A Baby Laughing

When do babies start laughing?

Babies usually laugh out loud for the first time when they are about three to four months of age though some may acquire this skill in their fifth or sixth months. Their laughter may be a result of anything funny or amusing that has caught their sight [1].

The babies’ first laugh will not just leave their parents spellbound but also shock or surprise the little ones because of the suddenly emitted noise. Gradually the kid will enjoy listening to his voice as well as watching others enjoying his laughter and by the fifth month, the low squeals or giggles will transform into a complete belly laugh. Moreover, by producing a lot of squealing, cooing and other sounds, they are learning the proper usage of their mouth and tongue, which in turn will be beneficial for speaking [2].

Till six months, infants laugh in response to an auditory or tactile stimulus like tickling, hearing funny noises and blowing raspberries. As their brain and sense of perception mature further after the sixth month, they begin to grow humorous, laughing at their own tricks like throwing things out of the basket or while playing a pass-and-snatch game with their parents [1, 2].

A baby laugh vs a baby smile: the difference in meaning

Smiling and laughing are two different things in the case of babies. Most mothers tend to think that a smile and laugh occur at the same time. However, this is not the case. To smile is a facial expression while laughter is a social occurrence.

As for babies, their smile is more like a reflex smile. It is not a response to the funny faces you’re making or the objects you’re showing. These reflex smiles are random and quick. Eventually, they will learn to eliminate their reflex smile at 2 months old and give out their real one. Premature babies tend to give more smiles than full-term babies.

Babies will begin to show their real smile when they reach 1 and a half to 3 months old. This smile will not just be one of their facial expressions but a genuine reaction to seeing familiar faces and voices.

You’ll know it’s real when you have that mutual gaze and see a genuine emotion. But most important, eye contact brings a more emotional connection between parent and offspring.

Why do babies laugh in their sleep?

People have certain myths about why a baby giggles away while in bed. Some say that they may be visited by angels whereas others feel that babies may have been transcended into a heavenly world.

Though the actual reason behind this mechanism is unknown, it is speculated that as they spend about 50% of their sleeping time in Rapid Eye Movement (REM)  they dream more as the brain remains very active [4]. Some of the funny dreams might cause babies to laugh in their sleep. Whatever the reason is, seeing a baby laugh in their sleep is so adorable.

When do babies start laughing regularly?

Babies will start to laugh frequently as they near the 1-year-old mark. They will find different things and circumstances funny. This is a milestone indicating that they now have some sort of understanding of the world around them.

Also, there are things you can do to make your baby start smiling and laughing.

How to make a baby laugh?

Blow bubbles: Make your baby burst into squeals of laughter by blowing bubbles using a bubble blower. Make sure to use a baby-friendly product and run it by your pediatrician for extra safety purposes.

Funny gestures or actions: Try making a funny though not scary face to amuse your baby. Stick out your tongue, twist your nose, animate your hands, widen your eyes, draw on your faces, or even put his favorite book on your head and dance around. You will be elated to see your little ones laughing away to glory.

Try some amusing sounds: You will be amazed to see how some very simple sounds make your baby laugh. When you sneeze, burp or yawn, your kid will be immensely fascinated by these new sounds, giving a full-on belly laugh. Some babies even laugh hysterically at the sound of ripping or tearing paper.

Tickle your kid: Most kids love to be tickled, finding the action to be very funny. Sing a song while tickling him to heighten his pleasure. You may even use a feather or something light for this purpose. If your child gets irritated or scared by the activity, then stop it right away. But if you get a smile and a laugh, keep going!

Get the tiny tots together: Make your baby mingle with babies of his age as he loves seeing other kids’ face. If there is no playmate around, you may even fascinate him by showing him photos of babies. This will allow him to be exposed to different faces. 

Play the chasing game: If your baby has reached the crawling stage then you may get on the floor, chasing him around the room to see his body shake out of joy.

When a baby is taken care of properly and fed well, he will always remain happy and cheerful. On the other hand, babies may be cranky, showing a delay in developing the laughing milestone if brought up in a stressful environment [3].

If your baby does not laugh at all even in the fifth or sixth month then do bring it to the reference of your pediatrician.


  1. http://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/first-laugh/
  2. http://www.babies.co.uk/development-behaviour/a/laugh/
  3. http://www.reflux.org/reflux/webdoc01.nsf/(vwWebPage)/CopingwithCrying.htm?OpenDocument
  4. http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-101[/ref]