Now that your baby has entered your world, aren’t you curious to know how much she is able to see, sense, taste, hear and smell? Let us learn about how to stimulate your baby’s senses, through this blog. You must be eager to know when your baby will recognize you by sight, sound, touch, and smell. Babies perceive things very differently from how we do. As you know, all of us have five basic senses namely the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. It’s time to find out how developed each one of these senses is for your little one.
Stimulate your baby's senses: Vision
Below are questions, answered related to your baby’s vision:
How much can your baby see?
Soon after birth, your baby can only see 8 to 15 inches away. His vision is very fuzzy and he can only make out light, shapes, and movement. After 1 month or 2, he will learn to focus both his eyes and can consistently be able to track an object moving from left to right. From the 2nd to the 4th month, he will start to distinguish the differences in colors and shades. After the 5th month, he will be able to spot even small objects and after the 8th month, his vision will be strong enough to view things across a room.
How do you stimulate your baby’s sense of sight?
Make sure that you feed him from both sides so that he gets used to seeing from different angles and both eyes get equal exercise.
For a newborn
Your face will be something that interests him the most so have lots and lots of face-to-face time. High contrast objects like a chess board will also stimulate his eyesight at this age.
For a 1-2-month-old baby
Move rattles in front of him, from left to right. You can move your face from side to side, in front of him. He will look into your eyes, so make sure that you look into his eyes with both your eyes open.
For a 2-5-month-old baby
Show him lots of bright pictures, books, photos, and toys as he can differentiate between colors.
For babies above 5 months
Give him lots of tummy time with many colorful toys and objects around him. This will help him in eye-hand coordination. His neck muscles will also develop which is very important for developing good vision because he needs to raise his head to draw close to an object. Peek-a-boo games are also a good stimulant. Take him outside so that he can see different sights. Please note that you should not put things in his face in an attempt to stimulate sight as this can easily produce overstimulation and won't do any good.
Stimulate your baby's senses: Hearing
Below are questions, answered related to your baby’s hearing:
How much can your baby hear?
Did you know that your baby’s sense of hearing starts developing when he is your womb itself and so he will be familiar with it when he is born? Amazing isn’t it? Newborns are quite sensitive to sound while awake but can sleep through the loudest noises too! By the time your baby is a month old, his hearing will be fully developed. At about 2 months, he’ll try to mimic cooing sounds and at 4 months he may start to babble. By the age of 6 months, he will even try to copy specific sounds. At around 12 months, he will be able to recognize most of the sounds around him.
How do you stimulate your baby’s sense of hearing?
Singing, talking and reading to your baby, are the best ways to stimulate his sense of hearing and will also encourage his language development. Babies also prefer high pitched voices which is why instinctually people use baby talk on seeing them. Use this singsong voice to get him attuned to the different tones, variations and patterns in speech. Use homemade rattles made from small plastic bottles filled with rice, lentils, pebbles, etc. to make different noises. Play soft music, nursery rhymes and clap and dance to it. Take care not to make jarring or very loud noises to your little one. He is not yet ready for all the heavy metal music just yet.
Stimulate your baby's senses: Smell
Below are questions, answered related to your baby’s smell
How much can your baby smell?
The sense of smell is one of the first senses to develop in your baby, in your womb itself. It is found that from the end of your first trimester itself, your baby can smell the food that you have eaten! He will recognize your scent right from the day he is born and after a week or so he can identify the scents of other caregivers. He will primarily use his sense of smell to learn about his environment and identify comforting and dangerous surroundings.
How do you stimulate your baby’s sense of smell?
For your baby, the most important stimulants are the scents of his family especially his mom. So hug and cuddle him often to soothe and comfort him. Also, use same products regularly as the familiarity will comfort him. As he grows bigger, introduce him to a variety of scents but take care not to expose him to strong smells like potent air fresheners or incense sticks for the first few months.
Stimulate your baby's senses: Taste
Below are questions, answered related to your baby’s taste:
How much can your baby taste?
Your little ones taste buds (around 10,000) are fully developed when he is born and he is inclined towards sweetened flavors when compared to others, which is probably why breastmilk is mildly sweet in taste. He can also get the flavours through your breastmilk which is why he may suckle for a longer time after you have had sweets or pastries.
How do you stimulate your baby’s sense of taste?
As you know, babies can get different flavours through your breastmilk, it is advised that you eat a wide variety of food with different tastes. Doing this will give him a head start, in accepting an array of food variations once he starts solids. Take care not to eat food that causes gas or gastric troubles for him though.
Stimulate your baby's senses: Touch
Below are questions, answered related to your baby’s touch:
How much can your baby touch, feel and sense?
The sense of touch is also a very important to your baby even before he is born. From inside your uterus, he has been exploring his world by pushing, pulling, kicking and touching. It is also one of the first senses to develop completely. He can distinguish between different temperatures, weights, textures and shapes. Tactile sense is vital in his bonding. Along with the sense of smell, it is what is used by him to feel secure and comforted. He will also explore using this sense of touch and by mainly using his mouth which is why he will put everything in his mouth. As the weeks progress, he will gain more control of his hands and legs and use them for exploration.
How do you stimulate your baby’s sense of touch?
Skin-to-skin contact is very important for your little one especially when he is a newborn. It is said that babies can feel your vibrations even before you touch them as their skin is ultra-sensitive. So hold him, kiss him and cuddle him often. Close body contact for a long period of time can even regulate his breathing and temperature. Massaging his body is also a great way of stimulating his skin. As he grows older you can give him objects of different shapes, sizes and textures to play with. Always keep in mind that your baby’s skin is very sensitive.
Now that you have read about how to stimulate the senses of your baby, get going! Take care that you don’t overdo or overstimulate them as it may cause harm.