The importance of senses for babies under one year
Immediately after birth, babies start getting acquainted with themselves, other people and their surroundings through their senses: tasting, smelling, listening, looking, touching and moving. This helps babies gain more and more detailed awareness of the opportunities and restrictions of their own activities.
At a few months of age, babies’ sense of touch is especially emphasised, along with their kinaesthetic sense, sense of balance and sensory experiences received from the muscles and joints. Their skin keenly registers touch, and the vicinity of the mouth is especially sensitive to various sensations. Babies enjoy being held and gently touched, and they also like to suck. The feeling of a wet nappy makes babies feel uncomfortable, and similarly their mother’s touch has a calming effect. Gentle touches between parents and the baby are vital for brain development and for the relationship between the mother and baby. The importance of the sense of touch is especially emphasised as an instrument of pleasure and calmness.
Babies study their surroundings and themselves by trying out new movements, and succeeding after some attempts. The more babies start to move, the more confident they become. The senses help babies learn a sense of safety and courage to learn new things.