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Sensory Development Milestones in a Newborn's First 12 Months

March 1, 2017
Published in: Children

A sleeping infant posed for a picture

Your baby's development during their first year of life is greater than it will be during any other period of their life. If you watch close enough, you can actually see as your newborn's sensory development accelerates during these first 12 months.

Life through the Eyes of a Newborn

Newborn – When your baby first arrives their color vision is very limited. Their eyes will be drawn to areas of contrast, especially bold designs with big contrasting colors against each other.

2-3 Months – Eye coordination will begin to improve and they may be able to watch an object asBy 8 months of age, your baby should be able to see and identify objects up to 10 yards away. you move it around in front of their face.

4-5 Months – Your baby's eye rods and cones should be almost fully developed, allowing them to begin seeing things in color.

6-8 Months – Eye control and hand-eye coordination further improves. Their depth perception will be improved and they may be able to see things up to 10 yards away.

9-12 Months – Depth perception and ability to judge distances have greatly improved and they are able to easily grab onto objects with minimal effort.

Hearing Milestones

Newborn – From the day your child was born, barring any hearing issues, they've been able to hear you clearly. In fact, they were able to hear you voice while still in your womb.

3-4 Months – At this stage, your newborn will begin to associate sounds with familiar objects. They may respond in delight when they hear your voice and will begin to attempt mimicking the sounds they hear.

6-8 Months – Your baby will be able to identify the direction sounds are coming from and will turn to them if interested.

12 Months – At this point your baby will be able to recognize their favorite songs and will react to them.

Touch MilestonesYour newborn will love nothing more than skin-to-skin contact.

Newborn – At birth, your little one will love nothing more than skin-to-skin contact. They will primarily explore the world around them using their mouth.

6 Months – As their hand-eye coordination improves, your baby will begin to grab everything in sight and will be very curious about the different textures of objects.

12 Months – By the time they reach 1-year-old, your baby should be able to crawl (and maybe even walk) and will have their pick of what they want to hold onto!

Taste Milestones

At birth, newborns possess a sweet tooth that is satisfied by the sugar in breast milk or formula.Newborn – Breast milk or formula will make up your newborn's entire diet. The sugar in these satisfies their sweet tooth as they're extremely sensitive to bitter tastes at this age.

4-6 Months – During this period your child will become more open to different flavors, particularly salty tastes. Breastfed babies may be more willing to try different flavors because there was more taste variance due to different foods, which altered the taste of their breast milk.

Smell Milestones

Newborn – Babies are born with a fully developed sense of smell. In fact, during your third trimester, they can even smell some of the things around you as they enter through the amniotic fluid. They quickly learn the smell of their mom and will turn toward the breast when they smell the source of their food.

Through 12 Months – While your baby's sense of smell may be fully developed at birth, they still have to learn which smells they like and which they do not. As they get older, you may notice they have stronger reactions to some smells than others.

Understanding your baby's development during the first 12 months is important to ensure you're able to identify any potential problems but also exciting to be able to see them grow up before your eyes!