Look who’s refining his senses! Sensory development

Look who’s refining his senses! Sensory development
A baby’s senses are primed and ready as soon as he enters the world. “We could say he’s preprogrammed to react to his environment through his five senses,”

A baby’s senses are primed and ready as soon as he enters the world. “We could say he’s preprogrammed to react to his environment through his 5 senses,” explains Patrick Major.

If a very bright light shines in his eyes, for example, he’ll shut them tight until it disappears. A baby recognizes his mother’s voice from birth. He also distinguishes the smell of his mother’s milk from others and may even spit out milk that is different from the one he’s used to.

“It’s impressive to see how each time a baby interacts or explores, he combines several senses,” adds Major. “When he plays with his rattle for example, he uses various senses: he holds it (touch), shakes it and looks at it (sight), listens to the noise it makes (sound). He may even bite it (taste) and bring it to his nose (smell). All of which give him a global awareness of the object.”

Babies have approximately 10,000 taste buds—many more than adults—lining not only their tongues but also the sides of their mouths and palates. The latter eventually disappear. Babies are therefore able to distinguish tastes very early on, and they show a clear preference for sweeter foods.

Games to help your baby along

Your baby enjoys…

  • Your massages, which calm him, soothe him and convey your love to him. (From birth)
  • Listening to different sounds, music or even ways of speaking. (From birth)
  • Being rocked, because it stimulates his sense of balance (which lets him feel movement). Your baby will also love tumbling in daddy’s arms, or playing airplane on mommy or daddy’s legs. (From birth)
Lots of babies are born with blue eyes, since green and brown pigments are stimulated by light and take about 6 months to develop.
  • Watching you make a clown of yourself! Exaggerating your facial expressions stimulates your baby’s visual abilities. (From 1 month)
  • Following brightly coloured objects. At 3 months old, your baby can see the difference between bright colours like blue and red.
  • Playing peek-a-boo. When you hide your face behind a little blanket and uncover it, saying: “Peek-a-boo!” you encourage your baby’s visual skills. (From 3 months)
  • Touching different textures: wrinkled paper, food, sticky things, etc. He also likes putting his bare feet on carpet, wood, ceramic, sand, etc. (From 9 months)
  • Discovering smells: fresh bread, peeled orange, soap, etc. (From 1 year)
  • Looking at books with you and listening to you read. (At any age)
At 3 months old, hearing is almost completely developed, but sight or colour perception must still be stimulated by the outside world.