Your baby has now reached one of the most fun ages ever! If she hasn’t let loose with her first real belly laugh yet, you can bet that it’ll come soon. It’s such a joy to see and hear that you’ll probably laugh right back at her—which will only delight her more.
What makes babies laugh?
Anything that makes a baby happy is likely to make her laugh right now. That could be a favorite toy, a pet, you or, even more likely, your breast. Often, babies’ first giggles come at the sight of their most prized “possession” and food source. You can encourage laughter in lots of ways:
- Make a funny noise or talk in a silly voice.
- Blow a raspberry on her belly.
- Play peekaboo by covering your own face, or by making a favorite toy pop into view.
- Play “this little piggy.” The “wee, wee, wee” is sure to be hilarious.
- Make up a silly song to go with diaper changes, bath time or riding in the car.
The importance of laughter
Laughing is one of the first ways your baby can successfully communicate with you. She shows she’s happy, and she knows you see and understand her happiness, and that it makes you happy, too. And, as a social activity, laughter teaches her social skills and how to interact with others.
It’s also an important milestone, showing that your baby has an understanding of the world around her, and what’s “normal” and what’s not (and therefore funny).
Research shows that children who are able to laugh at themselves, and especially at their own mistakes, have higher self-esteem and greater resilience, and tend to be happier in general.
Health benefits of laughter
Laughter is a healthy activity—not just for your baby, but for those around her, too. Laughing can:
- Relieve stress
- Increase oxygen levels in your blood and vital organs
- Release endorphins (“feel good” chemicals in your brain)
- Improve your immune system and resistance to disease
- Make you happier—not just right then, but also for the longer term
- Relieve pain
- Lower blood pressure
- Give your heart and abs a workout
Besides all that, laughing together as a family is just plain fun! It brings you closer together, and it can make even the most trying times at least bearable, if not enjoyable.