At birth, babies present a state of hypertonia in the limbs and hypotonia in the head and trunk. The sensory development of the newborn is measured through the senses: hearing, vision, taste, touch and smell.
Not all the senses in babies are equally developed, so in each one we are going to find differences that will mark their evolution in the different stages of the baby.
Hearing. The newborn perceives noises, but does not hear them. He is very sensitive to intensity, his mother's voice calms him, sweet music and loud noises excite him. You are still unable to locate the source of the sound.
Sight. The first days the baby's eyes are closed, he sleeps most of the time. Your eyelids pucker when the light changes or when there is a high-pitched noise. You can fixate on a bright spot, but you only see a blurry image. He looks carefully at the mother's face but until three months he is not able to differentiate a real face from a drawn one.
Some strabismus may be seen when a newborn gazes into a face as coordination of the eye muscles is not yet good.
Taste. From birth, the sense of taste is highly developed: the newborn prefers sweet or sugary taste to acidic, salty or bitter tastes. If we bring it a finger covered in sugar, it will suck it and will continue to suck when we remove it. Instead, he will grimace with a salt-covered finger without sucking on it.
Touch.For the newborn, touch is equivalent to language. The contact with the skin (especially that of his mother) and the heat, is a very strong stimulation. Through the skin, the child captures all the vibrations of the mother and experiences all the feelings that she provides.
Smell. After multiple studies on smell in newborns, it has been found that the baby grimaces when he perceives a strong and unpleasant smell.
Grasping reflex (grasp). The excitation of the palm of the newborn's hand by an object determines the strong flexion of the fingers on this object. There is also a less intense foot grasping.
Suction reflex. The excitation of the newborn's lips results in a rhythmic sucking movement, which is the sucking reflex.
Static righting reflex. The child has a tendency to extend the lower limbs when it exerts pressure on the soles of the feet (the heel in particular). This reaction will disappear around the tenth month to reappear later in its active form when the child is able to straighten up.
Reflection of automatic gear. The excitement of the soles of the newborn's feet (by standing on something), determines a movement of the legs that resembles gait.
Reflection of the Moor (arms in cross). When there is a sharp blow (a slap), the child abruptly separates his arms and, in a second time, puts them on his chest. The Moor reflex can be elicited in various ways and also manifests itself by changing position.
Reflection of the cardinal points. The excitation of the corner of the lips causes a rotation of the head in the direction of stimulation.
Some reflexes observed in the newborn that will not disappear permanently:
- The hiccups. Act that is accompanied by movements of the tongue and the lower jaw, interrupted by pauses. Babies have hiccups.
- Yawning. It translates the newborn's fatigue and the desire to sleep.
- The sneeze. Protective reflex adapted to the respiratory system
- Swallowing. Caused by food contact at the level of the pharynx or tongue
Expert in Early Intervention
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