Find out how baby hones their budding senses from birth and beyond…

0-6 Months

Your baby’s eyesight isn’t sharp at birth and what she sees looks more like a blurry photo. By 8 weeks, however, she can differentiate colour and by 6 months, she’ll notice features like shadows, perspective and size.

Her sense of touch is incredibly developed from birth, so cuddle, massage and caress her. Massaging a baby has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol!

Bubba’s sense of hearing is developed around 6 months in utero. So, not surprisingly, your kewpie can recognise your (and daddy’s) voice from birth.

Your baby is able to detect three main tastes — sweet, sour and bitter — at birth. However, she won’t be able to taste how salty the food is till she’s around 4 months old. Before this stage, if you give her salt water, she might slurp it up as much as she does plain water.

“Massaging a baby has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol!”

6-12 Months

By 6 months, his improved eyesight enables him to understand what depth perception is. If you push him in a rocker, he’ll get that the “bigger” you look, the closer you are to him.

Now that bubba has moved beyond milk, a whole new world of tastes is open to him. Breastfed babies may be more receptive to new flavours, since they’re used to your breastmilk’s ever-changing tastes, which depend on what you eat.

As his hearing develops, he’ll realise that he can make sounds as well. Since he’ll love the sound of his own babbling, help him by mimicking him as he makes sounds.

Play has become even more thrilling now; he adores grabbing things to see how they feel — thanks to his enhanced sense of touch, one of his most exciting senses. If he starts gumming items, don’t fret — he’s just exploring. Do watch out for choking hazards, however.

12-18 Months

As your sweetie’s sense of sight develops further, she becomes even more observant — noticing the print on your blouse, or the stripes on the neighbour’s cat. At this age, visually stimulating images and playthings will excite her.

Your tyke’s language skills are developing, so help her to put labels on what she feels. So that bubba better understands the different sensations around her, ask her, “Are you feeling cold or warm? ” or “Can you smell the delicious lunch I’m preparing?”

She’ll start to appreciate the joys of listening to music, bopping to favourite children’s tunes like Old Macdonald Had a Farm and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Your mini-muncher may start getting picky about her food because of her developing senses. She may scrunch up her nose at broccoli or squeal in delight over blueberries. Use descriptive words at meals, so that she can label those tastes and aromas.

“Help bubba better understand the different sensations around her, ask ‘Are you feeling cold or warm?’ or ‘Can you smell the delicious lunch I’m preparing?’

18+ Months

Your Energizer Bunny is certainly on the move now, but don’t forget to continue showering him with cuddles and hugs. Your show of affection will make him feel loved and secure.

• His sense of curiosity, however, will lead him to put his little fingers into everything. While it’s great to give him room to explore, ensure that you put unsafe items out of his reach.

• At this age, he may start using gestures to show his frustration, like hitting others or striking the table. Teach him that hands are not meant for hitting and that certain actions may cause hurt to himself and others.

• Remember that the sensory experiences your mini-me goes through at this age can stay with him for life. For instance, he might associate a certain perfume with grandma, or link a certain song to getting comforted and soothed at night.

Photo: iStock

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