Newborn Senses


An interesting characteristic of a newborn infant is its quite unremarkable vision. In fact, it is only able to focus on a subject that is about 18 inches, or 45 cm, immediately in front of its face. An initial impression might point to the fact that this could create a problem. However, in reality, it is more than adequate for one of its most important emotional requirements, i.e. to look at its mother’s eyes whilst breastfeeding.

In this respect, the araeola describes the circular area of colored skin surrounding the nipple. One reason why the colour of the areola differs from that of the rest of the breast is that it is in the approximate region where the ducts of the mammary glands reside. A close inspection of the nipple of a mature human female will reveal the presence of several small openings arranged around the tip of the nipple, called lactiferous ducts, from where milk is released during lactation, which describes the secretion of milk from the mammary glands during feeding. Babies instinctively have a sucking reflex action which makes it easier for them to suck the nipple and swallow milk. It is possible for most mothers to breastfeed for anything up to six months, sometimes even more, without the need to add either infant formula or solid food.

The concept of depth perception is the ability to observe, visually, an environment in three dimensions. The term perception is specific to human beings who are, as far as is known, the only beings capable of communicating with each other about their ability to judge distance. An infant does not develop this ability until he is able to move about unaided.

It is quite normal for a newborn to cry when it wants to be fed. So what does the infant do when it is not sleeping or being fed? The answer is that, for most of the time, the newborn is quite content to stare at random objects. In fact, anything that is shiny, has contrasting and distinct colours or contains some form of complex pattern will all catch the infant’s attention. However, studying other human faces is, without doubt, the preferred choice of most newborns.

During the time that the newborn was still inside the mother, it could hear and be conscious of many internal noises. These could include the mother’s heartbeat, together with many external sounds, such as human voices, music and, in fact, almost any everyday sound. This ability to hear sounds whilst still in an unborn state is in no way affected by the fact that the newborn’s ears may contain some fluid or even an element of catarrh.

Newborns tend to respond to the voice of a female in preference to that of a male. As a result, this may go some way to explain why many people unwittingly raise the pitch of their voice when talking to newborns. Such a voice change is known as motherese. It is known that the sound of other human voices, especially those of the mother, can evoke a calming or soothing effect upon a newborn. On the other hand, loud or sudden noises can startle or scare the infant. It has been shown that newborns have a distinct preference for those sounds that were an everyday feature in their prenatal environment. An interesting example could relate to the music associated with a television programme that their mother regularly enjoyed watching.

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Author's Bio: 

Peter Radford writes Articles with Websites on a wide range of subjects. Young Baby Articles cover Newborn Appearance, Senses, Attachment, Care.

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