Have you ever thought of how things looked from a baby’s perspective? Seeing all those shapeless blobs coming at it, with an occasional streak of color? A baby’s vision is typically between 20/200 and 20/400 at birth. They spend the first six or seven months of their life developing that sense, as well as their senses of smell, hearing, touch, and taste. The senses are the first tools the baby has for forming connections with the world around them. What you do in these months can matter so much to your baby’s development, and a little knowledge of how to foster that development can go a long way!
Here are our top tips for engaging with your baby at this stage to help develop your baby’s five senses:
Babies are born with a super sense of smell. In fact, the baby’s sense of smell is what guides them to their first meal. Studies show that a baby placed on their mother’s stomach will navigate their way toward the breast to nurse based on their sense of smell alone. To best help babies adapt to their new environment, moms should be aware of what a vital role the sense of smell plays in their infant’s life.
One of the best ways to take advantage of the baby’s heightened sense of smell is to introduce relaxing smells to soothe him or her. A lot of parents say that a piece of fabric or blanket that smells like mom or dad is all it takes to calm their fussy babies down. Babies may also respond well to scents like lavender or chamomile, which is why we highly endorse the use of essential oils.
While babies use their sense of touch to explore the womb, it does not become a significant sense until they reach about four months. At four months, the baby becomes agile enough to reach out and touch things.
Prior to utilizing their sense of touch, a baby’s skin is ultra-sensitive. So much so that they can actually feel vibrations from your body before you even lay a hand on them. That’s why skin to skin contact is especially comforting to a baby. Laying a baby on your chest can help regulate their heart beat and body temperature.
Soft carriers are highly recommended for tiny passengers. Babies feel best when held close to you in an upright position, with their faces exposed. The rhythmic swaying and rocking helps the baby feel secure.
While a baby can only focus on a distance 8 to 15 weeks at birth, by seven months the baby’s vision has fully matured, which make the early stages so crucial for proper sight development.
One of the best methods a mom can employ to help sharpen her baby’s sense of sight is to help keep the baby focused on her face. Babies love looking at their mommies and daddies, so make sure to give your baby plenty of face and tummy time. Keep in mind that head and neck development are essential for vision development, so give your baby some room to swivel and lift, and be sure they are out of their car seat or carrier regularly. Also, make sure to use both eyes to keep baby’s full attention. Studies show that just closing one eye is enough to lose a baby’s attention.
The baby’s hearing begins to develop in the womb, so it might come as little shock that those tiny ears have better hearing than yours! Babies especially love the sounds of their parents voices.
Keep in mind that the baby’s hearing is the sense that leads to the baby’s first words, so make sure to do a lot of cooing and talking. Babies really respond to high pitched voices, so don’t hold back on the baby talk - as long as your not using it to address your colleagues at work, you should be just fine. Also, keep exposure to loud noises at a minimum, and be sure to get baby’s hearing tested regularly.
Planning on feeding your baby? When it comes to your baby’s sense of taste, they prefer sweet over salty and fruit over veggies. Babies tend to shy away from strong flavors like spinach or brussel sprouts.
If you do want to introduce your baby to a new food, be prepared to try and try again. It may take up to fifteen exposures to get your baby’s palate to adapt to an exotic taste. In the meantime, moms should continue to eat a variety of foods so her breast milk is rich in nutrients.
We know how important it is to start your baby off right. In your baby’s early stages, it can be difficult to know how much of an impact their sensory perceptions have on them. Our company works toward creating clothing and products that target your baby’s specific stage of development, so that your baby is getting the most out of every product, experience, and growth milestone.