Development of baby senses within their first year

Imagine the world out there as your baby begins to develop their senses within the first year.

Vision

A newborn has limited but excellent vision up to a distance of 20-25cm but beyond that, they cannot focus both eyes at the same time thus giving them a squinting or cross-eyed appearance.   Usually within a month, both these condition have cleared as the eye muscles grow stronger. Make eye contact with your newborn to help them focus on your face. Generally their eye colour is blue regardless of race and will change only when baby acquires melanin, the body’s natural pigment.   By 3 months they have full perception of colours; 6 months more details and soon thereafter eye-hand coordination and depth perception have improved enough to reach for a toy outside their immediate grasp. By 1 year the vision is well developed

Hearing

Your baby will recognize voices from birth so be sure to talk to them from the very first day. Hearing is essential to development of speech.  There are clues to indicate normal hearing such as do they turn their heads towards you when you speak or are they startled at a sudden loud noise such as hand clapping or a door slamming.

Touch

Babies begin by ‘feeling’ the shape and texture of things with their lips and tongues therefore putting most things in their mouth.  Touch is one of the main ways that they explore their environment.

Taste

Newborn’s have a complete set of taste buds at birth and usually prefer sweet tastes initially such as breast milk and formulas.  They gradually accept different tastes and will make their likes and dislikes known.  Only after about 5 months of age, will baby start developing a taste for salty food.

Smell

Sense of smell is one of the earliest to emerge in the foetus, and it is said that by the end of the first trimester baby can smell foods that Mom is eating.  Right from birth, they are able to recognise their parents’ smell.  As in taste, they like sweet smells which is why they love breast milk.  When placing a baby into breastfeeding position, you will see how they are able to seek out the breast by smell, wriggling towards it eagerly.  Pleasant odours like lavender can also be very soothing for a baby.

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