YOUR BABY – LEARNING FROM THEIR SENSES
As a parent, having a new infant can be a wonderful experience. It is fascinating to watch your infant grow and develop. Learning about infant development can help you appreciate each tiny step your baby makes. Let’s examine some ways that your baby learns. Infants learn a great deal through their senses. Here are some ways infants learn and activities that will assist the infants to reach developmental milestones: SIGHT • Tie brightly colored magazine pictures, colorful scraps of material, old costume jewelry, or pieces of plastic straws to string and hang them from a clothes hanger. Although the very young baby will not be able to reach up and grab the mobile, you will want to be very certain that everything you tie to the hanger is securely and firmly attached and has no sharp or pointed edges.
• A shiny aluminum pie pan, a crushed ball of aluminum foil, or a brightly colored piece of tissue paper crumpled into a ball and hung where it can twist in the wind.
• Put some pictures on the walls of the nursery. Mount some dried seed pods or flowers in an old box lid for the infant to see.
• One of the most interesting things for an infant to see is your face. Your face is important to the infant; it talks, smiles, and laughs. When the infant smiles, your face smiles back, and when the infant gurgles and coos, you coo back. With these pleasurable experiences, your baby learns he or she is loved and enjoyed.
• Have something for infants to watch while you’re changing or dressing them. A small mirror near the dressing table is fun for the baby to look at.
• Routinely play games with your infant, when she’s in a playful mood, while you’re changing her, or after she’s been fed. Peek-a-boo is a favorite for babies.
All infants are different and each one will act in a different way, if your baby is smiling and watching you to see what will come next, she is most likely having fun and wants more. Follow your infant’s cues and she will tell you what she likes and doesn’t like. If she fusses, cries, or seems restless, then you know she has had enough and it’s time to stop.
Every time infants hear a sound, they are learning, and because they enjoy hearing new sounds and interesting things, they want to learn more and more about their world.
• Sing to your infant-even if you can’t sing a note, he will be delighted and impressed with your ability as you sing nursery songs while you change or dress him.
• When your baby makes sounds, play with these sounds.
For example, when he make a sound, a coo, gurgle or squeal-make it back to him. When he hears you repeating the sound he’s made, he will make other sounds and soon you’ll have a conversation going.
• Rattle some plastic keys by your infant’s ears; give a safe rattle to hold on to.
• Hang a set of bells or a wind chime in the doorway.
• Take your infant with you around the house as you work, clean, or interact with other family members. Let your infant see and hear the sounds in her environment.
Around three months of age, infants will be able to focus their eyes and will begin to use their hands to reach, touch and grasp the things they see. From this point on, your baby will be very active, and will want many more things to play with. Infants need toys they can feel such as:
• strings of plastic beads
• floating bath toys
• toys they can shake, push and pull
• toys they can finger, hold, touch and drop.
As infants feel, mouth, touch their toys they learn, and if they can make the toy do something; they begin to learn that they are important in their world because they can make something happen.
HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN PROVIDE"
• Make a cradle gym out of empty thread spools, plastic bracelets and other nice-to-pull objects, suspended securely on elastic across the crib…When the infant pulls the objects, the string stretches, and when the infant lets go, they bounce back.
• Find playthings that are safe and of different textures like - soft, smooth, rough, bumpy or fuzzy.
• Make a cloth ball by stuffing an old towel or scrap fabric with nylon stockings and sewing it together into a round shape.
• Tie some netting together to form a puff ball and watch your baby experiment while playing with this ‘prickly’ toy.
The best thing your infants can touch and feel is you. The warmth of your body as you hold her, your soft skin or dress, the rhythm of your body as you rock or walk, these are the things your baby needs to feel, and the things she learns from.
Infants begin developing taste around 9 weeks of pregnancy when tiny taste buds form on his mouth and tongue. He can taste when you are eating foods that are sweet, savory, or spicy. Your infant will grow to like foods he gets used to, therefore try to introduce the infant to foods with various tastes and textures. Follow your pediatrician’s guidelines in introducing new foods.
As you have experienced, your baby will put everything in his mouth. That’s because babies use their mouth as a way of exploring, learning, and making sense of the world around him. They learn about different tastes and textures of both food and nonfood. Because babies will put anything in their mouth you need to be vigilant in keeping the environment around the baby free from any small, sharp, and dirty things that could cause harm.
HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR INFANT LEARN THROUGH TASTE:
• you can help him learn by offering age-appropriate and interesting toys to explore with his mouth.
• Toys with different textures
• toys that have interesting colors
• Toys with lights
• Toys that make noises
• Introduce baby to foods with different textures and tastes
A baby eventually stops using his mouth and taste buds in this way. By the time he's 12 to 18 months old, he uses his mouth less to explore and make sense of objects.