Once you first hear Baby’s laugh, there isn’t a lot you won’t do to hear it again – you’ll wear silly hats and make stupid faces and stumble into more slapstick than Mickey Mouse and Daffy Duck combined. Don’t invest your savings in anvils and banana peels yet, though – Baby’s funny bone isn’t that hard to reach. In fact, it’s probably not a bone at all – people’s ticklish spots, babies included, tend to be vulnerable parts of the body that aren’t protected by bone.
Tickling is a social activity that sets up a give and take between you and Baby, and lets the two of you laugh together, which is a bonding activity. It also can get kind of a bad rap, as there are people who don’t like to be tickled, but have a hard time signaling that, given that their reflexive reaction to tickling is laughter. Most babies do enjoy tickling, though, and the ones who don’t find ways to make those feelings known – by moving away when the tickles stop, or by putting up a hand to stop you when your hand moves to a usual tickle spot. So as long as you’re paying attention to Baby’s cues, there’s no reason not to tickle away!
It’s important to note, though, that newborns are not born ticklish, and while most babies develop a sense of being ticklish in their couple of months, it takes many babies longer, and some are never ticklish. That’s not a sign of a problem, though, just another part of Baby’s individuality.
Top tickle spots
- The stomach: For a different kind of tummy time, let those tickle-fingers fly over Baby’s little belly – it’s a classic because it seriously almost always works, at least a little bit, so if you’re ready to start testing what makes Baby giggle the most, it’s a pretty safe bet for a place to start.
- All the little piggies: Come on, don’t pretend you’re not already always looking for a reason to get your hands on those teeny tiny toesies! Foot tickles come with a built-in song and dance, as tickling is a great grand finale when the last little piggie has just cried himself all the way home.
- The neck: While it’s definitely a smaller and less obvious target than the first two, the crook of Baby’s neck, right up to their ear is definitely a promising spot for some gentle tickles.
- Under the knees: Sort of a stealth spot compared to Baby’s tummy or feet, but anyone who’s ever been ticklish under their knees knows that if you are ticklish there, then you’re very ticklish there. And right now, when Baby’s still little, could be your last shot to get some tickle-time in their before their squirming, giggly limbs can do some real damage.