How the senses of a baby develop
Around 7-8 weeks of gestation:
- Baby is sensitive to touch in the area around the mouth.
- Taste receptors on the tongue are formed.
Around 12-14 weeks of gestation:
- Baby can put his or her thumb into the mouth for sucking.
- Baby’s hands open.
Around 20 weeks of gestation:
- Hearing structures develop.
Around 24 weeks of gestation:
- Baby is sensitive to touch all over the body, especially around the mouth. Touching the inside of the hand triggers a grasp reflex.
- Baby can detect different flavours in the amniotic fluid due to maternal diet, which may influence taste preferences later in life.
Around 26-27 weeks of gestation:
- Baby reacts to bitter taste.
- Baby starts to move in response to sounds.
Around 28-29 weeks of gestation:
- Baby grasps with his/her toes when someone touches the ball of the foot.
- Baby distinguishes sweet and sour tastes.
- Baby is able to distinguish between voices and is most aware of low frequency sounds. Sleep can be easily disturbed.
- Only little or no pupillary constriction. The eyelids are thin and eyes may be partly open much of the time.
Around 32 weeks of gestation:
- Baby recognises the mother’s voice.
- Pupils constrict in response to light and may therefore protect the eye from bright light.
Around 34 weeks of gestation:
- Baby prefers sweet tastes.
- Baby may recognise familiar sounds and begins to ignore some sounds that previously disturbed sleep.
- Baby starts to look at and follow a moving object or face but does not recognise objects yet. Low light is optimal for interactions.
Around 35-40 weeks of gestation:
- Baby begins to recognise mother’s voice, language and speech pattern.
- At 39 to 40 weeks of gestation baby can fix and follow moving object in horizontal, vertical, and diagonal direction and sees greyscales. After 40 weeks of gestation vision develops fast.