Fun Facts About Your Baby's Senses
What Baby's Doing
Month 1: Recognizes his parents' voices and mimics facial expressions
Month 2: Knows enough about cause and effect to realize that crying gets results and smiles back
Month 3: Maintains regular eye contact and cries differently to express distinct needs
Senses and Sensibility
Touch: Your newborn's skin is his largest and most highly developed sensory organ. At birth, your baby can respond to variations in temperature, texture, pressure, and pain. Your newborn's lips and hands have the largest number of touch receptors, which may account for why newborns enjoy sucking on their fingers.
Smell: By the 28th week of pregnancy, your baby can use her nose. One piece of evidence: Newborns placed between a breast pad from their mother and one from another woman most often turn toward the one with the alluring Mom-smell.
Taste: In your womb, your baby gets a sampling of flavors as he swallows amniotic fluid. Studies have shown that fetal swallowing increases with sweet tastes and decreases with bitter or sour tastes.
Hearing: Although your baby's middle ear is still somewhat immature at birth, as are the sound processing centers of his brain, your newborn can hear you and will prefer human speech over any other sounds, especially if the voice is yours.
Vision: By the time you actually meet your baby, her eyes are capable of excellent vision; however, her brain is still too immature to distinguish between different shades of color. By the time your baby is 3 months old, she will want to look at the world around her. She'll prefer bright colors or sharp contrasts, and her favorite thing to look at will be faces.
Holly Robinson lives with her husband and their five children outside Boston.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, October 2005.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.