Scowling Newborn Baby Becomes Internet Sensation
Did you know? Your baby's first smile is a huge milestone and something amazing to look forward to.
If you ever became famous, would you imagine that all you had to do for fame was scowl? Isabela Pereira de Jesus has become famous for a photograph taken moments after her birth in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Feb. 13. “She opened her eyes wide but did not cry. The doctor even had to say, ‘Cry, Isa!’” said photographer Rodrigo Kunstmann, who was hired by mom Daiane de Jesus Barbosa to document the birth; according to news.com.au. The photo is now a meme; one of the many memes that depict a newborn baby not smiling.
“She made that serious expression and only started crying after the umbilical cord was cut,” he told local magazine Crescer after the C-section birth.
Doctors make sure that newborns cry right after birth because it shows their lungs are working properly; it also helps them clear fluids from their body. The Internet has predictably gone gaga over the indelible image that captured Isabela making a “cross old man’s face;” which the proud mother said proves how brave her baby is.
“My baby was born courageous,” she told Brazilian news outlet G1, according to the Daily Mail. “It’s a meme already. She always wrinkles her forehead when changing diapers and nursing. Isabela was supposed to be born on the 20th, but she chose her day already showing her personality,” she added.
Social media users reacted to Isabela’s postpartum peevishness on Facebook, where Kunstmann shared his snaps.
“Poor munchkin. She’s only been on the planet for a few minutes and she has had enough,” one wrote.
“Not only the frown. Look at those eyes, if looks can kill, they are like daggers,” another said.
A third noted “the look of reincarnation. Oh no! Not this place again!”
When do babies start smiling?
Your baby’s smile, particularly the first, is one of the most rewarding moments of parenthood. But just when do babies start to smile?
Believe it or not, your baby was probably smiling long before she was born. Babies can smile very early in life, even in utero, experts tell us. These first smiles aren’t intentional or in response to anything. They’re reflex smiles, similar to the jerky arm and leg movements your baby’s body experiences as it goes through the equipment-testing process. Soon enough, though, your little cutie will flash her first “real” smile, on purpose. And you, in turn, will have a silly grin plastered on your face as you beam back.
What type of development involves a newborn baby not smiling?
Your baby’s first real smile says a lot about his development. It’s a sign that his vision has improved and recognizes your face. His brain and nervous system are matured enough to eliminate reflex smiles; and he’s now aware that smiling is a way for him to connect with others. Your little one is also beginning to realize his feelings matter and have a direct effect on the people around him. He’ll smile to express pleasure, excitement, contentment, and happiness. Consider it his way of saying, “Hey, Mom, you’re doing a good job!” or “This breast milk rocks! Please give me more.”
Baby not smiling: When to Expect Smiling to Begin
Your baby’s reflex smile will disappear by the time she’s 2 months old; her first real one will make an appearance somewhere between one and a half to 3 months (or 6 and 12 weeks) of life. You can tell the difference between a reflex and a real smile by the timing and duration. Generally, reflex smiles are shorter and happen randomly, when the baby is sleeping or tired.
Real smiles, on the other hand, occur in response to something; like seeing her mama’s face or hearing a sibling’s high-pitched voice, and they are consistent. When it’s the real deal, you will see the emotion expressed in your baby’s eyes.
If you’re still waiting to see your baby’s lips curl, there are some things you can do that may encourage her:
- Talk to her often (make sure you give her time to “respond”)
- make eye contact frequently
- smile at her throughout the day
- get silly, too
- making funny faces or noises, imitating animal sounds and behaviours, blowing raspberries on your baby’s belly, or playing a game of peek-a-boo may push her smiley button on.
Just don’t overdo it. Babies are developing the ability to regulate their emotions and may look away if they are getting too much stimulation.