The world is full of noises, but there aren’t many as heart-warming as a baby’s giggle. Recorded to start as early as three months old, a baby’s giggle is one of the first ways in which the little one will communicate before formulating words. This makes it an important milestone and is of particular importance for parents and caregivers – who are generally a baby’s first point of physical and social contact – as it will form a key part of the emotional bond they will continue to build.
According to Li-Anne Hide, Marketing Manager at Huggies, the leading brand of nappies and baby wipes, while the science behind why babies giggle is not fully understood, there are a few theories that help explain this phenomenon. “One suggests that laughter serves as a form of communication and social bonding. Babies often start laughing in response to tickling, peek-a-boo games or funny face, emphasising their fondness of the game at play. This type of laughter is great for strengthening the emotional connection between babies and their parents.”
“Another theory suggests that baby giggles and laughter are a natural response to cuteness and surprise. As infants explore their environment and encounter new stimuli, they may find certain unexpected or unfamiliar situations amusing. This theory confirms why babies will often laugh at simple things that adults may not find funny, like a crumpled piece of paper or a silly noise.”
Li-Anne goes on to explain that there are also many physiological benefits to a baby’s laughter, as there are with adults. “We know that when we laugh, endorphins and other feel-good chemicals are released in our brains, promoting a sense of pleasure and well-being. It is possible that laughter in babies triggers similar responses, contributing to their overall happiness and emotional development.”
While these theories provide insights into why babies giggle, it’s important to note that individual experiences and preferences can vary, says Li-Anne. “Every baby is unique, and what causes laughter in one may not have the same effect on another.”
To provide parents with some insights into what is behind their baby’s unique giggle, parents’ favorite diapers, Huggies, has developed Giggle Talk, a tool that offers parents a new and amusing way to interact with their babies. The tool uses WhatsApp to “translate*” a voice note submitted and shares back a fun response of what your baby might be trying to tell you. Some of the most popular responses were:
- “You’re the funniest person I’ve ever met, and I’ve met over 4 people!”
- “I don’t mean to blow my own horn, but you don’t find cheeks like these just anywhere.”
- “I’m not French or anything, but I need to wee-wee!”
“Baby giggles are one of the moments every parent looks forward to because it assures them that their baby is happy. With tools like Giggle Talk, Huggies aims to bring a light-hearted experience to parents across South Africa,” concludes Li-Anne.
*Disclaimer: While the tool aims at creating special moments between baby and family, encouraging laughter and more giggles from baby, it is important to note that the Giggle Talk is not a real baby giggle translator.