Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Lack of Emotions

Question: Is it cause for concern if an 8-month-old baby rarely smiles or shows any signs of emotion? Shows no interest in waving bye bye, peek-a-boo or other games. Cathy

Answer: By the time a baby is 8 months old, he or she should have mastered a great number of milestones. By this time, a baby should be able to clearly respond to the surrounding environment. This includes voluntary smiling, laughing, crying or any other emotion that occurs in response to stimuli.

During routine well baby visits, the pediatrician monitors developmental tasks that have been reached. Just as important, the tasks that have not been reached.

As a pediatrician, I would have some concerns over a baby who showed no interest in socializing. I'm quite concerned when I hear that a baby shows "no signs of emotion." I would like to know if this is something that has been ongoing or just beginning to occur.

I would need to have a more detailed history before being able to advise. I will encourage you to see your baby's pediatrician. Let him or her know of the baby's skills or lack of.

Please let us know!

Dr. Betti

Also see:

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  • Is it normal for children to stick items up their nose?
  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.