How and when can the development in a baby take place through the sense of touch?
Even before a baby can see, hear, smell or taste the baby develops the sense of touch. It is one of the first senses, which the baby learns and it helps the baby to adapt to his environment. It helps the baby to communicate his needs, interact and explore his surroundings and get a feel of everything. The sense of touch plays a vital role in strengthening the bond between a baby and his/her parents or caregivers.
As early as 7 to 8 weeks of pregnancy, that is when the baby’s sense of touch starts developing in the mother’s womb. By the end of 11 weeks of pregnancy, the baby starts making small and tiny movements, exploring the mother’s womb. These are the first explorations of the baby, as they try to feel the environment as well as their own body.
It’s through this sense of touch, by the end of 11 weeks of pregnancy, the baby starts making small and tiny movements. As they enter the world we cuddle, hug, kiss, hold and soothe him. It gives a sense of security to the newborn.
The baby’s sense of touch starts developing in her mother’s womb and then continues to develop and evolve during her first year and beyond. Newborn babies have highly sensitive skin. And through the contact of skin is how one can communicate and bond with their baby.
It makes them feel comfortable and secure. It is an important part of bonding and communication. Babies tend to respond in their way and show what pleases them and what displeases them. If we stroke a baby’s head or their back, they tend to fall asleep.
If we stroke the palm of their hand, they tend to hold your hand or grasp your finger. After 2-3 months when the baby puts any toy in his mouth, he tries to figure out its texture by using his tongue. Breastfeeding can also be considered as the best example of the sensitivity of a baby’s touch.
Gradually babies tend to respond to tickling and other playful activities. Their mouth and tongue are highly sensitive and they use it to try and identify things. As they grow, they reach out and hold or grab things and try to get a feel of them. They try and analyze it in their way.
After 6 months they can grasp things and hold on to objects for a longer period. They would like to play with toys that can be twisted and turned and changed into different forms, hence increasing their thirst for exploring the feel of different objects.
By the time they are a year old, they start crawling and also walking and now they have a larger field to go touch and sense all types of textures – hot, cold, soft, hard, wet. They are using their hands more often now than their mouths. They like to touch and observe all the things that they are comfortable with.
Stimulate through touch
For a baby’s sensation of touch to enhance, it is very necessary for a parent to stimulate their baby using various ways. Soothing, Cuddling and hugging your child plays a vital role as the baby holds on to you and relaxes under your touch and feels comfortable. He starts recognizing and familiarizing himself with your touch.
Playing also plays a major role over here as toys have different shapes and structures and playing with them helps in the baby’s stimulation development. Apart from giving your baby toys and household items, they can also be allowed to play with their food once in a while to experiment and investigate something new.
Sometimes a gentle massage once a day can also enhance their muscular development and strengthen your bond with the baby. Skin-to-Skin contact has always been proved beneficial for the baby and this has been observed especially in the case of premature babies.
In low birth weight babies. Skin-to-skin contact not only helps the baby but the mother too as it reduces stress levels and helps in bonding. The close contact with the baby can also help in regulating your blood pressure and hormone levels.
By paying attention to a baby’s response to different kinds of touch, we can find out which touch pleases him or displeases him. From the moment the baby enters the world, he tries and interacts with the outside world using his touch.
Touch and emotional engagement can help boost early childhood development. Skin-to-skin contact not only helps in the overall development, but it helps babies calm down.