Are Sense Perceptions Developed In A New Born Baby?

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As a new parent, you might wonder if your newborn baby can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch the world around them. After all, they seem so helpless and fragile, and their senses are essential for their survival and development. So, are sense perceptions developed in a newborn baby? Let’s find out.

Visual Perception

Contrary to popular belief, newborn babies can see from birth, but their visual system is not fully developed yet. They are nearsighted and can only focus on objects that are about 8 to 10 inches away from their face. They also prefer to look at high-contrast patterns, such as black and white stripes, dots, and circles, rather than low-contrast or monochrome ones. This preference is called the preference for novelty, which means that babies are attracted to new and unfamiliar stimuli. They also have a preference for faces, especially those with large and contrasting eyes, nose, and mouth, which they can imitate and recognize.

Hearing Perception

Newborn babies can hear from birth too, and they are sensitive to a wide range of sounds, including voices, music, and environmental noise. They can even distinguish their mother’s voice and recognize it from other voices. However, they are also easily startled by sudden or loud noises, and they might cry, flinch, or turn their head away as a reflex. They also prefer to listen to human speech than other sounds and can distinguish between different phonemes, which are the basic units of sound in a language. This ability sets the foundation for their language development, as they start to babble, coo, and eventually speak in their native language.

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Taste Perception

Newborn babies have a well-developed sense of taste, which helps them to identify and prefer sweet, sour, and bitter flavors. They also have a preference for breast milk or formula over other liquids, as they are born with an innate ability to suck and swallow. This ability is crucial for their nutrition and hydration, as well as their oral and motor development. However, they might also reject or spit out new or unfamiliar tastes, as they are still learning and adapting to their environment.

Smell Perception

Newborn babies can smell from birth, and they are sensitive to a variety of odors, including the smell of their mother’s breast milk, amniotic fluid, and other familiar scents. They also have a preference for pleasant smells, such as vanilla, and can recognize them from other smells. However, they might not be able to distinguish between different odors as well as adults, and their sense of smell might be influenced by their breathing patterns.

Touch Perception

Newborn babies have a highly developed sense of touch, which covers their entire body, especially their face, hands, and feet. They are sensitive to different textures, temperatures, pressures, and pain, and they respond to them with reflexes, such as grasping, sucking, and crying. They also have a preference for skin-to-skin contact with their parents, which can soothe them and regulate their body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. This preference is called kangaroo care and is recommended for premature babies, as it can improve their health and development.


In summary, newborn babies are born with a set of senses that allow them to perceive and interact with the world around them. However, their senses are not fully developed yet and are shaped by their environment, experiences, and interactions with others. As a parent, you can help your baby to develop their senses by providing them with a safe, stimulating, and nurturing environment, and by responding to their needs and cues. This way, you can lay the foundation for their future learning, growth, and well-being.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can a newborn baby see colors?

A: Yes, but they see them differently than adults. They can see high-contrast colors, such as black and white, red and green, and blue and yellow, but they cannot distinguish between similar shades or hues yet.

Q: Can a newborn baby recognize their mother?

A: Yes, they can. Newborn babies are born with an innate ability to recognize and prefer their mother’s voice, face, and scent, which provides them with comfort and security.

Q: Can a newborn baby taste salt?

A: Yes, but they might not like it. Newborn babies have a preference for sweet flavors and might reject or spit out salty or bitter tastes.

Q: Can a newborn baby smell perfume?

A: Yes, but they might not like it. Newborn babies are sensitive to a variety of odors, including perfume, but they might prefer natural or familiar scents over synthetic or unfamiliar ones.

Q: Can a newborn baby feel pain?

A: Yes, they can, but their pain response might be different than adults. Newborn babies might show signs of pain, such as crying, screaming, or grimacing, but they might also have subtle or silent signs, such as changes in breathing, heart rate, or facial expression.

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