Your baby's sensory development began in the womb and continues in the weeks after birth. These are the key milestones for your baby's five senses at this stage:
Taste: Newborn babies can already differentiate some flavours, like sweet and sour.
Smell: Your baby's sense of smell has been highly developed since your third trimester of pregnancy. Now he uses it to find nourishment and comfort in the familiar smells of Mom and Dad.
Sight: Your newborn's vision is not fully developed yet, however there has been a marked improvement since birth. As his vision develops, he will stare at your face for increasing periods of time, and will begin to follow moving objects with his eyes. At this stage, he can focus on high-contrast objects between 9 - 12 inches away, however his vision will become sharp and clear in a few short months. He will be attracted to high-contrast patterns and bright colours. Shadows, black-and-white photos, human faces and special toys for young babies will capture his visual interest. Take care to not to over stimulate him - make sure that he is getting enough rest for brain development.
Hearing: Your baby's hearing will be slightly muffled for the first few weeks of life. This will assist him to make a gradual transition from the predictable rhythms of the womb to the noise of the outside world. Your baby began to practice Habituation, or the ability to lessen response to repeated stimuli, while in the womb and continues to develop this skill now. Habituation to repeated stimuli is an early form of learning and one of the simplest forms of memory. It consists of “tuning out” the surrounding environment, which will allow him to sleep through familiar noises, such as a fan or street noise.
Touch: Your baby's sense of touch began to develop in the womb. It starts with the mouth and spreads to include the whole body. This may explain his growing eagerness to put anything and everything into his mouth.
Why is Nutrition Important?
Important nutrients like DHA and ARA (sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats), found in breast milk and most formula are key factors in your baby's visual development. Ensure that he is getting enough, either by consuming DHA-rich foods yourself, if you are breastfeeding, or by choosing a DHA-enriched baby formula such as Enfamil A+®.