As baby grows, play also accompanies him. Play helps baby to be stimulated and is a way of learning about his surroundings. And above all, it stimulates his senses.
When a baby is born he cannot see much, normally he cannot see anything more than 30 cm from his eyes. As he grows older, his vision will also develop, he will start to see further and further away and have greater visual focus. To help your baby strengthen their sense of sight more quickly, play can be very helpful, particularly stimulating games.
To help your baby develop their sense of sight, choose to use a mobile with highly contrasting colours, such as black and white in contrasting patterns. Although pink and pastel colours may be pretty, they are not ideal for this purpose. As your baby grows, add colours like red, green, blue and yellow.
When it is a newborn baby, for example, whenever you change nappies and you are right in front of their face, or when breastfeeding, all the kissing and nose rubbing will help your baby to learn to focus visually.
It is only at around 3 months of age that the baby begins to have his ability to focus very well developed. However, no special books or games are necessary, ideally, you should talk in front of your baby’s face and their sense of sight will develop as normal. This job is easy after all!
When baby is born, his sense of hearing is at its peak, and this is the most developed sense he has at that time. He will recognise your voice almost instantly, and will quickly recognise the voice of his father and those around him. In the first months of life, the sound will be the most accurate way of recognising the world around him.
To help stimulate his hearing through sound, introduce him to the world of music. Use musical toys in baby’s bed, dance with him in your arms, sing to him, play music with different sounds like water, laughter, animal sounds, conversation, classical music, children’s music, ethnic music, etc.
Show him pictures of animals, while the sound of the animal is being played. Read him books, teach him simple songs so that sooner or later he can sing them with you.
Taste and Smell
Anyone who lives with a baby knows that he has a tendency to put everything in his mouth. Although this can be a little scary, the truth is that a baby learns about objects in this way, by tasting and feeling them with his mouth. So instead of teaching your baby not to put objects in his mouth, give him suitable objects to chew on.
One way of stimulating baby is at the time when he is old enough to eat solid food: by giving him different types of food to try.
However, baby should be introduced to solids only after the age of 6 months. Research has shown that introducing solids earlier in baby’s feeding may increase the risk of infection or poor reaction to some foods. Especially, babies who are less than 4 months old do not require any kind of food other than formula or breast milk. With this in mind, there are some signs that indicate your baby may be ready to start in the world of solid foods:
- Sitting without support
- Trying to grab food when others are eating
- Sucking on the wrist
- Making chewing movements
- Increase the amount of feedings around 6 months, not caused by teething pain, illness, or change of routine, for at least 4 to 5 days.
Introduce new foods into your baby’s life sparingly, asking your paediatrician what foods you can give your baby in order to avoid food allergies. In this way, baby will not only savour new textures and flavours, but also new food aromas. That said, the moment will always come when he will taste a slice of lemon, so don’t forget to have your camera ready!
Touch is a great source of stimulation for baby. Give your baby toys with different textures and materials to stimulate his sense of touch. For example, place different fabrics in your baby’s hands for him to feel and describe the sensation of touch for each one. It is very important not to overstimulate your baby in this case, just give him 1 or 2 toys at a time.
Spend a lot of time touching your baby, touch is fundamental, especially the touch of mum and dad. Massage your baby with baby oil, touch his back, his tummy, his head, his hands, his feet, spoil him, this relaxes him and teaches him to feel at ease with the sensation of touch and to feel caressed.