If you try to think about what newborns are capable of doing, do you look beyond what he usually does at home? Newborns are actually capable of more than just sleeping, crying, feeding, and soiling diapers. Even when your baby is still adapting to the new environment, his senses are already functioning.
After nine long months of waiting, new parents can finally spend long intervals simply gazing at their newborn’s face. While parents do just that, babies are also trying to explore their new surroundings. Newborns may still have uncoordinated eye movements, but they can already see images at a distance of 8 to 14 inches. They also have the ability to detect light and dark, but they are still unable to see all colors. This explains why many materials for infant stimulation, only utilize the colors white and black, or colors of related hues. Providing infant stimulation may be good, but try not to overdo it. By simply changing sceneries, you are already providing stimulation to your infant.
Even before babies are born, they can already respond to loud noises, or soothing music. At the time of delivery, a newborn’s hearing is usually fully developed. Healthy newborns usually get startled with loud noises, and they can be appeased by soothing music, or even sounds that mimic a heartbeat. Try to observe how your infant reacts to various sounds. For an infant, the sound of a parent’s soothing voice can already be reassuring.
A hearing screening is usually done on newborns before they are sent home. Without screening, hearing loss may not be detected until a child turns one year old. This can delay proper therapy necessary for speech and language development.
Newborns prefer sweet tastes, and they also have a strong preference for milk. When a baby is started on solid foods, it is generally better to start offering sweet vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes. After some time, parents can then introduce different tastes and flavors.
In the first days of life, newborns already have a very keen sense of smell. Not long after birth, they may already respond to a variety of odors. Infants can also quickly develop certain preferences for smell. They may prefer the scent of their own mothers, over the smell of other women.
Newborns usually feel more secured when they are held close because it gives them warmth. They have been used to the warm environment in the womb, and when they are suddenly in a different environment, they may no longer feel so secured. Through their sense of touch, newborns get to explore their new environment.
The sense of touch greatly affects parent-infant relationship, as well as other aspects of a baby’s development. Thus, touch and massage therapies have been encouraged to support a baby’s growth and development. Never grow tired of giving your baby constant hugs and loving embraces. Through these, babies feel that their new environment is not such a frightening place after all.
Caring for a newborn can be demanding, but it is also during these times when you can really appreciate life’s many blessings. And as your baby continues to explore his new environment, try not to take things for granted. Your newborn still has a long way to go in terms of growth and development, but he is definitely already capable of many things.