I don't think smiles at 8wks are involuntary. Although I am no expert! I do think expressions while sleeping are sincere. Especially since my baby makes little noises to go along with her expressions! I'm sure he'll start smiling at you really soon.
Location: Dongducheon , South Korea (US Army Wife)
Evelyn is 8 weeks and she smiles at me and her daddy , but I think that smiles when LO's are sleeping are voluntary because LO could be fast asleep, and then if i give her a kiss on her head, or gently stroke her cheek she smiles at me. : )
I've read that babies smile when they feel relief/pleasantness, such as sleeping or urinating.. my boy smiles when I tickle him or when I put his stuffed animal monkey close to his face.. he ALWAYS smiles when he sleeps though.. from the day he was born he has done this.
have you tried smiling lots at your little one, im sure you do lots but i think that its not at all because your LOs unhappy they just havent quite learnt that skill yet, i found that if i didnt think about smiling at my LO i wouldnt have done it much because i was so busy thinking of feeding and being tired lol so when i picked him up or changed him i made sure i smiled lots and he was soon smiling away when i spoke to him or others spoke to him
"Sleep grins" as far as I am aware are involuntary. Most babies do them when in a state of light sleep.
This is a quote from babble.com
Babies flash toothless grins from birth, but these smiles are random and spontaneous — triggered simply by neurons firing in the brain stem and unrelated to good moods. When babies doze off for naps, the smiles really come out; scientists think this is because the responsible motor cells nestle close to the region of the brainstem where REM sleep originates.
This early mouth curling is like a fake smile — the kind you need for passport photos or when pretending you like the outfit your husband dressed your child in. A genuine smile of delight or amusement comes directly from the limbic system (the brain's emotional center) and it recruits eye muscles called the orbicularis oculi (squinting and raising up the cheeks). The catch is that you can't force these muscles to work — they are under involuntary control, so only a sincere feeling makes for a truly beaming face.
Between four and ten weeks of life, the limbic system and motor networks are sufficiently mature to make for baby's first emotional smile. Across all cultures, the social smile pops up at the same time. Even babies who are blind show us their grins of happiness on schedule; they just cue off of voices and touch rather than a familiar face. Smiling is more than just a pleasant perk of being human; it has been shaped by evolution to keep us together.
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