When do babies laugh?

When your baby starts laughing, around 4 months old, it might sound like a giggle or a quick chuckle. These very first laughs are short and sweet – not quite full belly laughs. As babies near 6 months old, they'll start laughing out loud. Squealing, giggling, smiling, and just cracking up will be part of your baby's communication with you before they can talk. Keep the laughter coming by blowing raspberries, making silly sounds, and playing games like peek-a-boo.

baby laughing
Photo credit: / jeannehatch

Silly faces, ridiculous dances, and funny noises – if you're waiting for your baby's first laugh, we bet you've tried it all.

Laughter is a social skill and one way your baby will communicate with you and the other people they interact with on a daily basis. During their first few months of life, your baby might laugh in their sleep. That first true laugh, however, comes a little later.

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When do babies laugh?

Once your baby starts smiling around 8 weeks old, laughter is one of the next social milestones to watch for. Around 4 months old, your baby will give a small chuckle or giggle in response to something you've done. Those first little laughs can be unpredictable, and what triggers a giggle once might not work a second or third time.

By the time they've reached 6 months old, your baby will likely be laughing heartily after you've made a funny noise, gently tickled their tummy, or pretended to munch on their toes. While some laughter is involuntary, it's also a communication skill babies learn to tell you when something makes them happy. When they laugh out loud or squeal with delight, you'll know your baby is having fun.

As their parent, you can probably make your baby laugh better than almost anyone else. You're their favorite person, and all of their earliest attempts at communication – including babbling, smiling, and laughing – will be focused on you.

How babies start laughing

Learning to socialize begins the moment your baby is born. Long before they can understand words, crack a smile, or respond to your antics with a laugh, they're gleaning information about communication from the world around them.

Here's a timeline of the skills babies learn from birth that help them start laughing:


When your newborn isn't sleeping, they're learning about the world using their senses. What they see, touch, hear, taste, and smell is information they use to make meaningful connections.

At this age, your newborn already knows your voice and picks up on changes in your tone. But they only have one method of communication: Crying.

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1 to 2 months

Your baby may start making their first attempts at mimicking your facial expressions. Stay close and stick your tongue out. Pause and give them a moment to respond. It will take time, but they'll eventually learn to imitate you.

At 2 months old, you might catch a glimpse of your baby's first smile! If your baby isn't smiling, you'll probably see a gummy grin soon. You'll start to notice your baby's preferences: They'll seem happy to see you, and certain toys or games may capture their attention more than others.

Your baby will also add noises to their social interactions, cooing at you when they're alert and feel like talking.

3 to 4 months

At this point, your baby will probably be adept at socializing with you and other loved ones using smiles. You'll be able to have little exchanges with your baby using "smile talk:" Offer them a smile and they'll smile in return.

When they're 4 months old, you're likely to hear your baby's first laugh. If you've done something entertaining, like dancing around or making funny noises, they might respond with a quiet chuckle.

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5 to 6 months

By now, your living room might start feeling like open mic night at your local comedy club. Your baby will likely be erupting into full-blown laughs by 6 months old. Everyone, including siblings and grandparents, will want to make your little one crack up.

This is a great time to add more baby games to your little one's daily routine. For most of their life so far, they've been observing the world around them. Now, they're ready to participate.

Ways to make your baby laugh

If you're anxious to hear that first giggle or your baby is already laughing and you can't get enough, these antics might do the trick.

  • Funny noises like clicking your tongue against the roof of your mouth, blowing raspberries, or a silly voice will definitely grab your baby's attention. If the timing is right, they might respond with a smile, chuckle, or belly laugh.
  • Games are a great way to have some fun with your little one. Try games that rely on the element of surprise, like peek-a-boo or building a tower and knocking it over.
  • Tickling might be the easiest way to elicit a laugh if your baby is ready. Just stick with soft touches on their sensitive skin. It takes a lot less pressure than you might think to get that ticklish spot just right.
  • Blowing raspberries on their belly or pretending to munch on their toes is a trick that's often a hit with babies. If it doesn't work on the first or second try, take a break and try again later.

What if your baby isn't laughing?

Babies hit developmental milestones at their own pace. But if your baby isn't laughing by 6 months old, bring it up with their pediatrician. In some cases, missed milestones are signs of a developmental delay. The doctor may recommend a development assessment, or they might refer you to a specialist in developmental issues.

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After your baby starts laughing, what's next?

Once your baby's laughing, you can expect more fun milestones just around the corner. Around 6 months old, they'll be babbling and practicing new sounds. At 9 months, many babies are learning to clap and point at things that spark their interest. Getting around on their own and talking are next. Your baby might take their first steps around their first birthday and start saying simple words like "mama" and "dada."

Follow your baby's amazing development

BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

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AAP. 2021. How Do Infants Learn? a new window [Accessed March 2022]

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CDC. 2021. Important Milestones: Your Baby By Two Months. a new window [Accessed March 2022]

CDC. 2021. Important Milestones: Your Baby By Four Months. a new window [Accessed March 2022]

CDC. 2021. Important Milestones: Your Baby By Six Months. a new window [Accessed March 2022]

Mary Sauer

Mary Sauer is a freelance parenting and health writer living in Kansas City. She is a mom of four and loves to hike with her kids, read, and knit. Cooking a complicated meal her kids probably won't eat is one of her favorite pastimes.