We all know our senses and probably abuse them more often than not, not knowing or thinking that we could ever live without them. We are truly blessed to be able to hear, feel, taste, see and smell. There are some people without one or more of these senses that the rest of us are blessed to have, which makes the senses they do have work overtime.
Have you ever thought what it would be like or how hard it would be to lack any of these? While your in the hospital, holding that newborn miracle in your hands, your wondering if they can see you yet or anything else for that matter. Can they can feel their super duper soft, first stuffed animal that you brought for them, or smell you, or hear you when you tell them how much you love them and how blessed you are to have had the strength to bring them into the world and hold them?
At first babies defiantly don't perceive the world around them like we do. Everything is a "blur" at first. Some senses start developing early in the womb and are advanced at birth, while others wont be very functional for a month or two and some will slowly develop over your babies first year of life. Of course there are even some instances where one or more of a baby's senses wont develop at all and that is perfectly ok.
Here are fifteen ways babies start to experience the world around them.
15 Hear Ye, Hear Ye
By the time that you get to the third trimester your baby is able to detect sound in the womb. So after birth this sense is already advanced. The baby can and will most likely recognize familiar voices, especially yours, since they have listened to it more than any other voice while in your womb. The baby might even recognize songs or stories you've sang or read within the last six weeks of the pregnancy.
An MD, Michael Yogman, from Mount Auburn hospital, in Cambridge Massachusetts states that by the time the baby is one month old they can tell the difference in some sounds such as "pa" "ma" and 'ba". And at the age of six months your baby can recognize and respond to their own name. At this time, if they haven't already, your little one will begin babbling and realize they enjoy another sound....Their own voice lol.
14 Sounds Babies Love
Some sounds will to seem have no affect on your baby, where as others will immediately get their attention. There may still be some notices that your baby doesn't hear or notice at first such as different pitches of things. Babies love the sound of "white noises". White noises include things such as a vacuum cleaner, radio static, and the hum of a fan or vehicle. These noises tend to sooth your baby because these are much like the muffled noises your baby heard in the womb.
Another sound that babies love is the high pitched voice we often use to speak to them or sing them a song. Lower frequency sounds are less engaging and they may not be able to hear them as well. Music, especially nursery rhymes, also tend to grasp a babies attention. Most parents think babies need silence to sleep, but that's not the case. Your baby was used to a lot of noises in the womb so having noise while sleeping may help them sleep better.
When your baby is born her sight is the least developed sense she has. Roni Leiderman, PhD, associate dean of the Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies at Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale says that a newborn can only see between eight to twelve inches from her face. Anything beyond that, the world will seem very blurry and unsure to your new born. For a while when talking to your baby try to be close enough so they can make out the features of you and they may recognize your face sooner and smile when they see you.
Her eyes won't work very well together either, so focusing takes a lot of work IF they can figure it out. Don't be too alarmed if your baby seems like she is a little cross eyed for a while, it should straighten out as she gets older. The lack of sight a newborn has actually makes them feel more attached to you, the only thing they can see is your face when you are up close talking to them. When you're feeding them you are also the right distance for them to look at you and make eyes contact.
12 Newborn - Two Months
When your baby is a newborn he will love to look at your face, especially areas where there is a dramatic change is color such as your eyes and hairline. Making eye contact is a great exercise and bonding experience for both you and the baby. Seriously though, who could ever get tired of looking at there baby anyways. Since his "color vision" hasn't quite kicked in yet,he will be in awe with black and white figures, bold patterns, and large, bright colored objects.
At two months your baby's eyes will begin to work together. Most babies at two months will be able to track and/or follow a slow moving object, don't be frightened if your baby is not quite there yet, every child is a little different. Your growing newborn's brain is beginning to perceive motion and will love to watch a mobile or play in front of a mirror.
11 Four - Six Months
At about four months your baby is now able to see color, this makes pretty much all things more appealing to them. Your baby will be fascinated by things they never used to be fascinated by and that's a good sign that their vision is on the right track. Also the depth perception is better, and they may be able to spot things from across the room.
Around six months your baby can now see will notice finer details. You may notice that they are picking at the face of their favorite teddy bear, using their fingers to scratch at the lines on their toys, or staring at the tree out the window. Note: until your child is about two months old their peripheral vision will be better than their central vision, having said that, it may be better to hang their mobile off to the side rather than right above their head.
10 Help Your Child's Vision
Has human nature takes its toll, your baby's vision is something that develops on its own. However, did you know that there are things you can do to help your child's vision develop? From birth to about four months you can do things like Using a dim lamp or nightlight in your baby's room. Another thing is to change the cribs position and your baby's position in the crib frequently. This will make them see different surroundings and help develop there vision by always seeing different things.
Keep your baby's toys in their vision, about eight to twelve inches away from them. They will be able to see them and try to focus on the items, helping their eyes learn to focus. Talk to your baby as you walk around the room, they may not be able to see you that far away yet but this will work a couple senses. They cant see you but they can hear you and try to find you, this helps with ear and eye coordination. Try to alternate left and right side feedings. One eye works harder than the other when they are being fed due to the side that you are closest too. Alternating sides will make sure both eyes are getting an even work out.
I'm sure that you have heard that your baby can taste a little bit of what you eat because it will flavor the amniotic fluid. That's very true, your babies taste buds develop while they are still in the womb through all the foods that you eat. This will continue after birth because the taste of your food also passes through your breast milk, meaning every time you feed your child your breast milk will taste a little different.
Regardless of what you're eat during your pregnancy and those first months of motherhood, your baby will still have a sweet tooth. Your baby will enjoy anything that is sugary and sweet, at times it also my soothe your little one to eat something sweet. Breast milk and/or formula are easy for a baby to eat all the time because they are both sweet, making it the perfect way to both nourish and satisfying your baby.
8 Sweet Tooth
...Who doesn't have one? Taste and smell go hand in hand more then you would think. I remember doing a science fair project in elementary school that proved people taste better when they can smell. It may seem like sometimes your baby wont even attempted to try something when you try to give them a sample. Odds are they aren't hungry.... Or perhaps the smell doesn't appeal them.
You can thank that "sweet tooth" that babies have. They can sense the difference between something sweet versus something that is bitter or tart and are not interested in the things that don't smell sweet. Try to give them something sweet and weather or not they are hungry you will probably get some sort of reaction. That doesn't mean stay clear of the veggies. Keep trying, you may have to make them eat things a little for them to discover that they actually do like it.
7 Solid Foods
Around four to six months when your little one is ready for baby food or "solids", he will still crave the sweets. That makes it easy to make the transformation from milk to solids. A lot of the first foods are things like apples, bananas, pears, and sweet potatoes that will satisfy that sweet tooth. This is why he will most likely not be too satisfied and will make those funny, terrible faces when you try to introduce him to green beans or peas.
Obviously don't give your kid only solids. Start slow by introducing new foods every day once or twice a day and feed them milk the rest of the time. They still need both. You should provide a variety of foods in their diet so they can get used to different flavors. Something to keep in mind is that Bottle fed babies may be less prone to eat or adapt to new foods/flavors because formula taste the same all the time, where as breast milk changes a little with everything that you eat.
A lot like hearing, this is probably the most advanced sense at birth. Touch is the first sense that a baby learns in the womb. After your baby is born touch is the most engaging sense that will bond you and your new born. It ensures bonding. After you deliver, most hospitals will offer and in fact condone "skin to skin" time. Skin to skin time is right after you deliver your baby you place him/her on your bare chest and hold them for an hour or so.
Trying to start breastfeeding at this time is a good idea. Dr. Yogman says, babies thrive on a lot of physical contact, which makes them feel cozy and loved. A few great ways to connect with your baby through touch is cuddling their bare chest against yours. Rub their back during feeding time, or whenever really. Hold them and dance cheek to cheek. Swaddle them in a comfy blanket and lay, hold, or snuggle with them. Last but not least give your little one a nice gentle massage.
5 Touch Is Important
To a newborn touch is one of the most important things. With every touch your baby learns more and more about life and her surroundings in the real world. While babies are in the womb, they are kept, warm and protected. After birth however, their life suddenly changes. They have to feel cold for the first time ever, just by touching the side of their crib.
They feel the stiffness of a seam on their clothing against their skin, when they are used to only the softness in the womb. We all know that the womb is the safest and warmest place for our baby but we still want them to feel like the world is a soothing place where they are warm and protected as well. Giving your child soft clothes, blankets, tender kisses, big hugs, and loving caresses will help make the big world seem a little more comforting.
At about six months old your baby will start being eager to be an exploration expert. She will want to explore the world on her own and with her own two hands that she has recently mastered how to use. She will get a kick out of feeling different textures such as dirt, grass, rocks and carpet. Tags on toys or blankets, mommy's hair, daddy's five o clock shadow or beard, blocks, and blankets will also all become a favorite part of your little ones life.
You can also bet that anything that can get there hands on will most likely end up in her mouth, including the dirt, grass, and rocks. Don't worry mommy, a little dirt never hurt anyone, though it is to keep and eye on them so that they aren't choking on things. But other than that let them get dirty and explore their new world. A baby's mouth is full of receptors and its how they feel things best.
Smell is another sense that your baby will develop in the womb. Your baby started to develop smell when you were about six months pregnant. This sense actually dramatically increases from they day they were born until they are eight years old. Your child's sniffer will be better inclined to detect the power of odors then yours for a few years, explains Lise Eliot, PhD and author of What's Going On In There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life.
Along with touch, your baby will use this sense to explore the world and get to know you. Considering your baby's eye sight isn't very well inclined and wont be for a while, smell will help her define who she is familiar with. Did you know your baby is able to detect you by the time they are a week old? Just the unique smell of their mommy's breast milk, babies can sense you, even while your not feeding them. Pretty cool!
2 Scent Connection
As mentioned, your baby can easily recognize and pick up scents that she knows and is familiar with. Mom especially, dad too but more so mommy. Something that you can do to make you and your baby's bonding better through scent is using the same shampoo, soap, and deodorant all the time, your baby likes familiar scents. Making sure your husband or significant other consistently uses the same products as well, will help your little one connect and recognize dad too.
When your baby is upset, giving them an unwashed shirt of yours can actually help soothe them because of your scent. The smell of breastmilk makes babies more alert and awake, so send your hubby to soothe baby when she cant sleep but doesn't need a feeding. One more thing, babies can be soothed by a little aroma therapy just like adults. A study showed that most babies were comforted by the scent of vanilla after a medical procedure.
1 Should I Be Worried?
If you're worried that one or more of your little ones senses aren't working the way they should, there are little tests you can do on your own to get an idea if they need to be looked at or not. When quiet and alert, your baby should be able to look at your face or a toy. If your baby has cloudy or filmy eyes, or her eyes cross more than briefly, bring it up to your doctor.
Most babies will jump/startle when they hear a loud noise, another way to tell is if they calm down some when they hear your voice or try to look around to see where the noise is coming from. If you notice that your child's reactions to different sound don't seem right or are lacking any reaction at all, be sure to tell their health care provider that you are concerned. Even if your baby passed the hearing screen at the hospital, its still possible that something may start to develop later. Keep an eye on your little one and watch for any signs.