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Tune in to your newborn baby’s senses to guide you through these early stages of development
Watching your newborn will become the new TV, as you take note of how they are constantly changing and developing. Look out for the typical signs of newborn baby development as you observe their senses and spend time getting to know each other.
Taking a look around
You need to get up close and personal for your baby to see things at this stage. Their vision will be quite blurry at first as it develops gradually over the first year. Don’t be worried if they look at you with crossed eyes as this is normal when babies are first born. Over the first month their gaze will move from your eyebrows or mouth to more eye-to-eye exchanges.
A matter of taste
A newborn’s sense of taste is really sensitive. During their first three months they are able to tell the difference between sweet and bitter tastes but prefer sweet flavours and will therefore love your breast milk or formula milk. As they grow, they will use their mouth to explore the world, which is more sensitive than their hands. You’ll need to be aware that they’ll want to put things in their mouth to discover different textures and tastes.
Your newborn was able to hear your voice while they were still in the womb, so it will be a hugely comforting sound for them now. They will probably also respond to familiar noises, so may find a song you play regularly comforting. If they become irritable, it may be that they are feeling overwhelmed by all the new sights and sounds they are experiencing. Arrange for some quiet time, rocking or massaging them soothingly.
Touch is the first sense to develop in the womb. Lots of close contact is one of the best ways to bond and keep your baby snug. Your skin is the same temperature as the womb, so holding them to you when they are first born will help them adapt to their new environment.
Expert newborn advice
‘Your newborn baby will enjoy seeing bright colours or large black and white pictures and toys,’ explains Katie Hilton, a midwife and health visitor. ‘During the first six weeks they will need a lot of support to hold their head up. You may notice sudden jerking movements when there is a loud bang – this is normal and will stop in time. At around six weeks, they will start following your movements and you may see that cute first smile! You’ll probably hear them making cooing sounds, particularly when you talk to them. They will make eye contact when they are interested in communicating with you or turn away to demonstrate they need a break.’
By Jo Walsh