Baby’s Developing Senses

During your baby’s first months, they grow from being aware only of themselves, to enjoying their surroundings using their constantly developing senses. Here’s more about how their senses develop over this period, and how you can stimulate each one.

At first, your baby can see a distance of between 20cm to 30cm, and their vision is fuzzy. They’ll see mostly shapes, will be able to distinguish between light and dark, and focus on black-and-white patterns. By 4 months, your baby will see all colours, see further, and use their eyes to track moving objects. By 5 months they’ll have more depth perception.

To stimulate their sight:

  • Hang a mobile over their crib.
  • Show them one item at a time.
  • Expose them to bold patterns (black and white in the first three months, then red).
  • Use strong facial expressions when your baby is looking at you.

A baby’s hearing starts to develop while they’re in the womb, so they’ll be familiar with your voice when they’re born. Newborns might be startled at unexpected sounds, and could be soothed by the hum of a vacuum cleaner or white noise. At about 2 months, babies will to try to mimic sounds by cooing, and start babbling around 4 months. By around 6 months, they might mimic specific sounds you make.

To stimulate their hearing:

  • Talk, read and sing to your baby. This will encourage language development and build their personality.

Your baby will be born with a good sense of smell, and will be able to recognise the smell of breast milk, and even distinguish it from formula.

To stimulate their smell:

  • Expose them to many scents. Tell them what each smell is to encourage their language development, too.

Touch is one of the best developed senses at birth, with babies being able to distinguish between different textures, shapes and temperatures. Touch is one of the most important ways to communicate with your baby, and is critical for bonding – it makes them feel safe and secure. Babies will also explore things with their mouths – a gateway for learning and discovery.

To stimulate your baby’s touch:

  • Cuddle and hold them often.
  • Let them feel different textures on their skin.
  • Massage them.
  • Use different textured towels to dry them.

Your baby’s taste buds are fully formed by the time they’re born. They also have a preference for sweet things, and can detect the flavours of the food you’ve eaten through your breast milk.

To stimulate their taste:

  • At around 7 months, once you’ve already introduced solid food to your baby, vary the flavours so that they can develop a liking for different foods. PURITY® has a wide range of cereals and vegetable and fruit purees for this age.

How much sensory stimulation should I give my baby?
Remember that a baby’s attention span is fairly short, and they could become overwhelmed with too much stimulation. Watch for the following cues to know when to give your baby a break, or put them down for a nap:

  • Rubbing their eyes
  • Looking away
  • Crying or fussy
  • Arching their back