How do the senses help baby learn?

By Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell

From day one, your precious newborn takes in the sights and sounds of your world and is soothed by your loving touch. This is the earliest learning a baby does. What babies see, hear, smell, touch, and taste provides important clues about the bright, colorful, noisy world in which they suddenly find themselves. Within hours after birth, newborns can tell the difference between their mother's voice and that of a stranger's. They know who mom is by her unique scent. Until they can talk, babies have no other way to understand or communicate, so the senses become their main receptors to the world. In the weeks and months to come, babies' senses of vision, hearing, taste, touch, and smell continue to develop, helping them know more about their parents and their surroundings.

Because babies aren't very mobile—at least at first—they need your help to provide interesting things to look at and play with. They'll thrive as you expose them to a variety of sounds and objects of different shapes and textures. As you open up the wide world of the senses, little by little your child begins to grasp what's out there in the wide world, and literally learns how to make sense of it.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.