Newborn babies and their five senses

Development of Senses in Newborns

Beyond our knowledge and expectation, a newborn is quite aware of his surroundings. A little effort to develop his basic senses can be useful in making a baby more confident and healthy.

Parents can further enhance development of senses in newborns using a little effort. If you are a first-time mom or dad, you must be wondering whether any development is required at the very onset of your baby’s life. Researches have proven that the development of senses like hearing start right in the womb, even before your baby is born. A baby in the womb responds to music when he listens to it repeatedly. You must not have forgotten your baby kicking legs and hiccuping when he was inside you. This is another gesture indicating the development of senses in your little one. By developing his sense of touch, hearing, taste, gaze, and smell, a baby will gradually observe his environment closely. You can practice to develop these quite easily with your little one.

Developing the Sense of Touch in Newborns

The caring and warm touch of a mother can make a baby feel secure, loved and wanted. Your nourishing touch may also help your little one to grow and strengthen his muscles. Doctors recommend skin-to-skin contact for premature babies as it helps them to grow faster. It aids in building a strong bond and establishing a loving relationship between the two of you. Also, a gentle massage once or twice a week makes the baby livelier, offering him sound sleep most of the times.

Developing a Sense of Hearing in Newborns

The hearing ability of a baby starts right from the time when he is in his mother’s womb. During the initial months after birth, your baby is likely to develop familiarity with the voice of the surrounding family members comprising his parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. You should talk more frequently with your newborn as it helps to develop language skills and brain of your baby. You might find it silly to talk to him as he cannot understand you, but it is important to communicate to make him learn the language even if the baby jibbers back in response. You can also read books to him at bedtime and sing songs and lullaby to calm him down. All these sounds will be stored in his memory to be used in the future.

Developing the Sense of Sight in Newborns

Your baby has weak eyesight at the time of birth which keeps improving with each passing day. He will get familiar with the faces of his parents within 24 hours of his birth and by the second month, a baby is normally able to differentiate between colours. At 6 months of age, he will recognize shadows, sizes and shades and by the age of 1 year, he will have a completely developed sense of sight. You can help to boost the vision of your newborn by giving him toys in contrasting colours such as blocks. Other toys involving different shapes and sizes also aid in improving their eye sight. By developing the hearing and sight sense simultaneously, a baby tends to develop different emotions towards different people at the same time. You will notice this behaviour gradually with time.

Developing a Sense of Taste and Smell in Newborns

A newborn’s taste buds can differentiate between sweet, bitter and sour flavors right from their time of birth, but their sensitivity towards salty food only begins by the age of 5 months. Their sense of smell starts maturing after birth and the newborn can identify his mother’s scent in the first week of birth itself.
There is not much you can do to enhance the olfactory senses of your baby. You can only observe his pleasure after smelling fruity fragrances and his expression of displeasure at stinky odors. Once a baby starts consuming solid foods, you can try to offer him different tasting foods and fruits to understand his liking towards a particular taste and smell. With help of this basic learning, a wider way is paved for your baby to adapt to new challenges and developments in the times to come.

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