Newborn Facts For Parents
If you’re a new parent, you’ve spent the last two to three weeks up to your weary elbows in spit-up and poop. And it might be hard for you to grasp through your exhaustion but your little reflexive newborn has many amazing skills.
Newborn Development: The 5 Senses
At birth, your baby’s five senses, sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell are nearly complete.
Your Baby’s Vision
- Infants explore their environment with their eyes before their hands and feet.
- They can only focus for a distance of 10 to 12 inches. However, you unconsciously adjust to your baby’s limited field of vision by bending over close to the baby’s face or bringing the baby close to your face.
- For the first six months, your newborn’s visual acuity range is 20/400 to 20/600, making them legally blind in most states. However, their poor vision helps protect babies from overstimulation.
- At birth, your newborn sees the difference between dark and light
- Your baby doesn’t see colors, but sees the world in black, gray and white. However, at two-weeks old he or she will stare longer at certain colors, which indicates that babies distinguish color.
- The first color your baby sees is, blue followed by, red, yellow, and green. And by 6-months your baby’s color perception is the same as yours.
- Babies like to focus on high contrast objects. Black and white photos with contrasting patterns or images, also called infant stimulation cards, are easy for your infant to focus on and can encourage their vision development. You can post these cards throughout your home where your child can see them or even create a mobile with them.
- Babies like looking at faces. When they’re one month, they scan the areas of a face with the most contrast, hairlines, angels and edges. At, two- three months of age, your child will track the traits of your the face such as your pleasing smile or engaging eyes.
- At five-eight months your baby develops depth perception and can tell the difference between strange and familiar faces. Also. they develop the ability to concentrate on objects for long periods of time.
Newborn Babies Hearing
- Your baby’s auditory system was up and running from 5 months gestational age. A fetus can hear loud noises and may hear normal conversational sounds.
- If you’re tiptoeing around the house while your baby’s napping, stop. Your newborns auditory system protects them from overstimulation, and he or she has a high threshold for noise. Around six months of age, the auditory shield begins decreasing.
- Your newborn can tell the difference between loud and soft sounds and high and low ones. Around two months of age, familiar voices and vowel sound like, “ah, and oh”, will quiet your baby.
- At six months of age your baby will respond to his or name and begin to babble.
- Babies like white noise, like the sound of a vacuum cleaner and the hum of a fan. Also, they love music, especially lullabies and-and sing-song voices.
- Inform your pediatrician If your baby doesn’t respond to very loud noise with a startled reaction or never, turns his head to the sound of your voice.
What Your Baby Tastes And Smells
- Infants use touch to learn about their environment. Your gentle touch not only soothes your baby but helps them grow. “Nurturing touch releases growth hormones,” explains Duke University researcher Saul Schanberg, M.D., Ph.D. “In infants who are deprived of that touch, the genes that react to these hormones shut down.”
- Gently massaging your baby has been shown to reduce levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Researchers at the University of Minnesota discovered that babies who were given twice-weekly massages over a six-week period tended to be less irritable and to sleep more soundly than other babies.
- Use your own touch to communicate your love. Massage your baby by gently kneading his arms, legs, hands, and feet. Or calm him by cradling him in your arms. Feeling the warmth of your skin and the gentleness of your caress is the easiest, most natural way for your infant to bond with you.
- Within the first week of life a newborn is capable of recognizing the scent of his own mother. One study showed that at 5 days old, babies could smell the difference between a breast pad that had been used by their mother and a new pad. Formula-fed babies have also exhibited the ability to distinguish their mother’s odor from other scents. “The sense of smell is very important for infant bonding,” says UCLA’s Dr. Kellman.
- At birth, a baby is capable of detecting three of the four main tastes: sweet, sour, and bitter. Of these, most babies show a marked preference for sweet tastes, says Gary Beauchamp, Ph.D., director and president of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, in Philadelphia.
- The one basic taste a newborn can’t perceive is salt. “If you were to give a newborn salty water, he would drink as much as he would plain water,” says Dr. Kellman. Researchers suspect that the salt receptors on the tongue develop after birth, probably by 4 months.
- Researchers are not aware of what, if anything, can be done to enhance a baby’s budding olfactory senses. However, parents can discover any sensitivities a baby might have by gauging her reactions to the smells and tastes she’s exposed to. If you are breast-feeding, you may notice that the foods you eat affect your baby’s sucking. As your baby gets older and begins to eat solid foods, you can expose her to different flavors to see if she exhibits any preferences. parents.com