Is there anything more delightful than the laugh of a baby? That incredibly innocent sound of pure joy is enough to bring a smile to even the most exhausted of moms. Just one little chuckle makes it all worthwhile.
But sometimes we’re left waiting…and waiting. If you can’t wait to hear that little chortle, there are a few things that you’ve got to know. That’s why we asked development experts that one question on every new mom’s mind: When do babies laugh?
- Babies generally start laughing around four to five months old.
- Newborns might giggle as early as 12 weeks old, but they don’t process humor until around four months.
- If your baby isn’t laughing yet, check if they are meeting other developmental milestones.
- Some ways to make your baby laugh include belly raspberries, funny faces, and playing peekaboo.
What Ages Do Babies Start Laughing?
If you want a fast answer to when do babies start laughing, it’s generally around five months of age. According to the experts, newborns might giggle at as young as 12 weeks old. However, it’s not a reaction to humor (1).
While your little tyke might be splitting at the sides, it can be a random reaction. Newborns typically don’t process the information around them well enough to appreciate humor until four months of age.
While you might think that your 12-week-old is in a fit of laughter over something in particular, that’s not too likely. Little ones might laugh occasionally, but it’s unprovoked in many cases. Sorry, would-be comedians!
Once your little one does develop a sense of humor, they’ve got their own unique perspective. While we used to think that babies just laughed when they saw someone else laugh, that’s not true. After four months of age, babies have their own special sense of humor (2).
What Should I Do If My Baby Doesn’t Laugh?
Before anything else, take a deep breath. We get it. It’s easy to get caught up in what your baby should be doing.
But if you’re stressing about how to make a baby laugh, look at the full picture. Consider if your baby is meeting all of the milestones for his or her age. If you’re not hearing laughter yet, but everything else is on track, it’s okay.
By four months of age, the weight of your baby should have doubled from birth. Babies should have the motor skills to play with rattles and other toys. Look at all these indicators together.
Visiting your pediatrician for well-baby checkups should give you the reassurance they are on track for their milestones or spot any problems if they aren’t.
How to Make Your Baby Laugh
Looking for some tricks to make your little one crack up? Here are a few good ways to make baby laugh.
- Belly raspberries: That strange tickly feeling might be enough to get a giggle.
- Eskimo kisses: Another little gesture that might leave ‘em feeling warm and fuzzy.
- Funny faces: The best jokes are as simple as making a silly face. Go with it!
- Play peekaboo: Steal a trick from Grandpa’s playbook.
- Clowning around: Channel your inner Mr. Bean and go for simple slapstick fun.
- Watch a funny video: YouTube is great for simple and fun videos aimed at newborns.
- Pets: Animals are an endless source of joy. Get the dog running around or howling for family fun (or find a silly four-legged comedy show online).
- Get noisy: Use a noisemaker, bell, phone app, or anything that you can to make an unexpected and different noise.
- Tickling: Many littles ones are tickle-mad.
- Laugh: Laughter is contagious. Watch a silly video yourself and lighten the mood. Your baby loves to see you happy.
Just like adults, every baby is different. Some little ones don’t like tickling while others might be afraid of dogs. Be mindful and keep pulling more tricks out of your hat until you find the right one.
These commonly asked questions might clear things up for you.
The Bottom Line
Laughing is one of many milestones. If your little tot is still developing his or her own unique sense of humor, give it time. If your baby’s development is generally on track, it’s only a matter of time.
So, when do babies laugh? When they are enjoying themselves! From four months of age, any given social situation or funny sound might make your little one laugh.
Bring out your inner comedian and have fun with it. A lifetime of laughter and joy is on the way.