Most people don't know that their babies will be born with all five senses ready to go. Some of them may not be fully developed, but that will happen within the first few weeks and months of the baby's life. Babies do come equipped with all those important senses - hearing, smell, sight, taste, and touch - which is a remarkable thing!
It is truly amazing how we are able to give birth to little human beings, who are already ready for so much in life. During those nine months in the womb, your baby was cooking in all kinds of ways, including developing those important senses that they need to survive in life.
If you think that your baby can see things, respond to sounds, understand your touch, and more, you are right. It may seem like babies are not really aware of their senses and surroundings, but that is not the case at all.
With each day, and even each and every hour, minute, and second, your baby’s senses are developing even further, which is really an incredible thing. Read on to discover how much goes on with the baby’s five senses during the first two days of life!
15 Eye Movements Are Completely Random
Your baby is born with beautiful eyes, and those eyes are already functional! They are still developing, however, so you may notice that your baby has some randomized eye movements. Know that this is just part of the sense of sight developing and that soon your little one will actually have 20/20 vision, isn’t that remarkable!
Sometimes, parents worry when they see their baby’s eyes moving in a random way. This is typically completely normal, and in fact, actually needs to happen so that the eyes develop properly. Even if the baby becomes cross-eyed temporarily, that is okay. Those little peepers are working hard to get everything just right. So just know that not only is your baby taking in all of his or her new surroundings, but as they do so, those pretty eyes are getting work done, to become fully functional.
14 They're Trying Really Hard To Focus
Babies are born nearsighted. Really nearsighted! Babies can see shadows and movement in the distance, but cannot focus on things far away just yet. If it sounds like you without your glasses on, that is about right! Babies can only focus up close in those first few days and weeks after birth.
But even during just those first two days of life, those little peepers are trying their hardest to focus on those far away things. One way that happens is by practicing focusing on things up close. Eight-ten inches is about the range that babies can focus, and that improves as time goes on. Interestingly enough, here’s a fun fact for you - those eight-ten inches just happen to be the approximate distance between the baby and his or her mother’s face while breastfeeding.
13 Their Little Eyes Are Very Sensitive
Babies are very sensitive to bright lights. Is this really surprising? Think about it, babies spend more than nine months in the womb, under a cloak of darkness, only seeing flashes of light that radiate across mama’s belly. It is not shocking that once they are born into the world, bright lights bother them a bit. So you may want to hold off on flash photography for a bit.
Babies cannot tolerate bright lights, and will often not open their eyes when in highly lit rooms. Therefore, if you are trying to get your sweet newborn baby to open up her beautiful eyes, make sure that the lights are very dim. The lower the light in the room, the higher the likelihood that you will get to get a glimpse of those gorgeous baby eyes.
12 They Follow With Their Eyes
Is your newborn baby following you around the room with his or her eyes? They sure are! You are not imagining it if you think that your little one is watching every little thing you do. While he or she cannot focus too well at this point, your baby is seeing movement and shadows in the distance. This easily captures their attention and they will watch to see just what is going on!
Almost right away, babies can follow objects and track where they are going. It is quite remarkable. Their vision and sense of sight is developing at a rapid pace as soon as they enter into the world. Keep your baby’s eye development going by doing activities around and with him or her. They are watching. Always. Give them something good to watch!
11 Their Hearing Will Never Be Better Than It Is Now
You heard that right- babies are born with a fantastic sense of hearing. In fact, their hearing has already developed in the womb. While you are pregnant, you may notice that if there is a loud noise or crash, your baby will respond in utero. They heard it! Once they are born, their sense of hearing is well developed, and it is one thing that doctors test for immediately after birth.
Therefore, go ahead and talk to your baby. Talk to them while they are in the womb and continue having conversations (okay, mostly one- sided!) once they are born and in your arms. They hear each and every word you say, and as a bonus, it will help with their language development, too! Let your baby experience music, the sounds of nature outside, and so much more, they’ll hear it all.
10 They Respond Differently To Sound Levels
Just like we will respond to different sounds, from a loud car horn to soft lullaby music, so do newborn babies! And these babies are able to respond to loud versus soft sounds right after birth, because, well, they have been used to it all since being in the womb.
We know that babies are born with their sense of hearing fully developed. Therefore, they may be startled when a loud crash occurs, and may relax when a soft tune is played. Newborn babies can be more sensitive because they are simply babies, but otherwise, sounds that may bother us would also bother a baby, just like sounds that soothe us would also soothe babies. They can tell the difference! We know that it is important to be careful of loud sounds, like loud music, as we don’t want to ruin a newborn baby’s ears at a young age.
9 They're Listening More Than You Know
Something phenomenal occurs when a baby comes into our lives. They start listening to us immediately! That is right. Babies have been observed turning to sounds and will even stop moving once a conversation has begun. They hear these sounds and want to hear more. Can you believe that our babies listen to what we say so soon?!
We need to remember that our little ones already recognize our voices. They have been hearing mom and dad talking for their entire lives! They may recognize the voices of other family members too, such as a sibling or a grandparent. When they stop to listen to these people talking, it is because their sense of hearing is already developed, and they are soaking in every single sound, eager to learn and develop what comes next - their ability to speak.
8 They Prefer The Sound Of One Parent Over The Other
Alright, so who is baby’s favorite? Is it the sound of mommy or could be daddy? Believe it not, babies do show preferences to different sounds, including the pitch of the sound they are hearing. Babies are always paying attention, and do develop favorites or preferences in regards to certain sounds.
We know that babies will stop and listen whenever they hear the sound of voices, especially those of their parents. But what is even more remarkable is that they have a preference towards high and low pitches. In this case, mom wins! Studies have shown that babies actually prefer the sound of high pitched voices, such as a female, over those low pitched voices, such as of a man. Meaning, babies want to hear their mama’s voices, so talk up mommies!
7 Their Sense Of Smell Picks Up On Everything
Babies are born with a very strong sense of smell. This sense is particularly important, as babies are born with the ability to distinguish between what we would call good smells versus what we would determine as bad ones. Babies show a preference for sweet smells over bitter or unpleasant ones. Yes, they can tell the difference!
Babies will actually turn towards a smell that they like, such as sweet smells, and turn away from, or cry, when they encounter bad odors. Isn’t it amazing that babies are born with this ability? That means that from the very start, we are aware of good and bad smells. It is truly remarkable that a baby, at only a few hours or a few days old, can tell the difference between smells.
6 They Can Identify Mom's Milk
It is instinct. It is something babies are born with. And that is the ability to recognize their mother’s milk using their developed sense of smell. It is amazing that babies can actually tell the difference between breast milk, as if there were different flavors!
Studies show that babies immediately, as in right after birth and the days that follow, know the smell of their own mother’s breast milk. If they are given two choices, for example, babies will always choose the breast milk that belongs to their mother. They may even turn their nose up at or turn away from the breast milk that does not come from their very own mama! This means that not only is baby’s sense of smell so amazingly developed right after birth, but that there is also a bond that already exists between mother and baby that is innate.
5 They Already Have A Sweet Tooth
We know that kids love their cookies and candies and all those other sweet treats, but who knew that it actually starts from the moment they are born?! That is right, babies that are only a few hours or few days old already have developed taste for sweet stuff.
In fact, two senses are at work when it comes to the sweet tooth. The sense of smell and the sense of taste are in play here. Babies can smell things that are sweet, as well as taste them, and they will prefer those sweet things to anything that is bitter or rotten. They will ask for sweet things by not giving up a sweet-flavored bottle, for example, and they will turn away from tastes that are not good at all. Just like the rest of us, they are fully developed in this area!
4 They Develop A Taste For Certain Flavors
When it comes to the sense of taste, mama plays a big role in it. What a mother eats while pregnant, and even more so, what she consumes while she is breastfeeding, can play a huge role in the flavor preferences in babies. Yes, in babies!
We know babies are born loving sweet tastes, and their sense of taste will continue to develop as they grow and develop. However, studies have shown that babies will begin to like tastes you may not think they would prefer if mom eats a lot of certain types of foods. For example, you would not expect a baby to like spicy foods, and, in fact, many mothers who are breastfeeding may refrain from eating those flavors. However, there is really no need to do that, it can actually have the positive effect of making your baby like spicy foods!
3 They Have A Preference Between Breastmilk And Bottles
It is an age old question and one that holds a very personal preference, bottle or breast? While mothers on both sides say they are right, scientists have discovered that babies themselves have a preference.
It is not shocking to learn that instinctively babies right from birth prefer breast milk and to feed from their mothers. It is part of nature after all. However, not all babies are able to be breastfed for a variety of reasons. What is interesting is that many babies develop a preferred taste for what they are used to. This is why it can be difficult to switch breastfed babies to formula, and vice versa. Babies at only just hours old already have a preferred drink and only want what they are used to drinking!
2 Their Sense Of Touch Is Highly Important
When your baby is born, they will likely be almost immediately placed on your bare chest. There is a real reason for this. Not only will it help immensely with the bond between mother and baby, but it also helps develop a baby’s sense of touch.
Think about it, a baby has spent nine long months in the womb, not yet experiencing human touch. Once they enter our world, the sense of touch needs to be developed and strengthened. They will be curious about their surroundings as they grow older, but during those first few days of life, it is up to the new parents to provide a sense of touch to their newborn baby. Babies need to experience the feeling of touch, so that this sense can further develop, and soon they will be reaching out to touch just about everything!
1 They Already Understand What Comfort Is
Being out of the womb is not easy for newborn babies! They were all squished up and warm in there, and now, here they are, born into the real world and it can be a bit, well, uncomfortable to say the least. This is where that all-important sense of touch comes in.
Babies require comfort. Holding them, rocking them, playing with them, and more, are all ways to provide a sense of touch they really need, and helps to develop their sense of touch. Even an indirect sense of touch works too, such as swaddling. Babies prefer to be swaddled for a reason! They get all wrapped up tight, just like in the womb. Continue to comfort your little one using every single sense. They are watching you, listening to you, smelling your smell, experiencing taste and touch with you; you are important to their sensory development!
Sources: Kids Health, Health Encyclopedia