All sensory organs: skin, eyes ears, nose, and tongue, in the baby develop and are ready for function before birth, as a fetus while still in the mother’s womb.
The baby is born with the ability to detect events around him, to feel external and internal stimuli, both from the environment and those from his own body. But it is still not able to fully perceive the surroundings in all its details. The sensory organs need some time to fully adapt and develop.
The touch sensory enabled by the skin as an organ is the first sensory developed in the fetal period. This sense in the baby is most developed, and in its psyche, it gives first impressions of the environment in which it is located.
The baby is most sensitive to touch in the lips area, cheeks, hands, and feet. In other parts of the body, the sense of touch is less developed. It feels the least touch on his shoulders, back, chest, and abdomen.
The sense of touch is most pronounced on the lips, so it is common for the baby to put in the mouth all the objects that he grabs. When we touch a baby, it usually pulls on the touched part of the body, such as the foot when we tickle it on the foot. It responds to more intense stimuli with whole-body movements.
More mature newborns can already locate the irritation, touching the irritated area, and trying to remove the cause.
The baby also responds to hot and cold, i.e. changes in temperature in its environment. Heat sensitivity is most pronounced in the foot area, lower in the head and upper limbs.
The baby calms down when it is warm and, if it is cold, responds with upset movements. The heat reaction will be more pronounced if the heat deviates from the normal physiological needs of the body.
The feeling of pain in the baby is relatively poorly developed immediately after birth and intensifies already in the first days of life. All parts of the body have varying degrees of pain sensitivity, the largest being on the lips. When that area is irritated, the baby responds by shaking his head and expressing facial pain or crying if the pain is severe.
There are innate differences between children and their sensitivity to pain. These differences appear to be partly responsible for the differences in the intensity of timidity, which occurs later when they are already more mature and is attributed to the fear of former pain.
In addition to the sense of touch, vision is the most important function with which the baby gets first impressions of the environment. It sees as soon as it is born, but the sharpness of the vision and image created in its retina is still blurry and vague. This is because the baby still cannot focus the eye at a certain point, it cannot focus both eyes equally.
The baby also responds to a strong light source by narrowing the pupils, turning a blind eye or it looks away. A few days after birth, it can already follow the movements, and after two weeks it begins to notice colors.
At the end of the first month, the baby can point the eye in a certain direction, but only with one eye – monocular vision. The other eye moves in the opposite direction, so the baby has transient strabismus. Already at the end of the second month, the baby begins to fix objects with both eyes – binocular vision. Then the dimness disappears, and the sight becomes sharp and acquires spatial features and begins to recognize the perspective.
The baby’s interest in color dominates by the end of the second year, along with the development of speech that significantly improves the skill of color differentiation.
The hearing in infants is relatively poorly developed, although the ear system at birth is already fully formed. The reason for this is mucus in the middle ear or in the external auditory corridor, which remains there for several days after birth. When the mucus disappears, the baby fully responds to auditory stimuli, with blinking eyes, deep breathing, accelerating pulse, and louder tones with muscle spasms throughout the body. The longer the noise lasts, and the simpler it is, the baby’s reaction becomes weaker.
After birth, the baby does not distinguish between high and low tones. It begins to recognize them after a few months of life.
The baby is sensitive to intense odors by suppressing mucus in the nasal cavity. Then the baby responds by muttering, sneezing, crying, and turning its head in the opposite direction from the source of the odor. It is only later that it begins to respond to pleasant, mild odors.
The taste of the newborn is underdeveloped due to the still unformed thong receptors. But already in the first days, it begins to distinguish the sweet taste from the rest. After a while, it becomes able to distinguish the others, too.
Besides the stimuli from the immediate surroundings, the baby feels a whole range of stimuli from its own body, from its own internal organs. Most of these stimuli affect the nervous system, such as the digestive and urinary organs.
The baby becomes anxious when they feel full bladder or when they feel the need for defecation. Immediately after urination and defecation subside. They are generally internal, so-called visceral or organic stimuli.
With the combined use of the senses, especially sight and touch, the baby gradually becomes familiar with the environment. Its movement in space also contributes greatly to this.
There is a so-called kinesthesia in the human body that informs us about the movement and coordination between individual parts of the body. Balance is a sense of the position of the body in the space. This is made possible by the special nerve endings found in the inner ear that help control the body’s position, the so-called spatial orientation. This sensation exists in the infant and is refined by its growth.
By the end of the sixth month, the baby will be able to distinguish between the shapes of the objects. This ability is further enhanced as it grows. With the enrichment of experiences, intelligence also increases.
Speech development contributes most to recognizing and distinguishing characters. The baby develops much more slowly the ability to correctly estimate the size of objects, their position, and the interrelationship in space. This skill begins to appear and begin to develop at the end of the second year.
By the end of the fourth year, the child adjusts to the perspective, distance, size, and position of objects in the same way as adults. This ability is also greatly aided by the development of speech.
The baby’s ability to fully perceive the environment develops by itself, depending on the functional development of the sensory organs and the nervous system. Therefore, it is neither necessary nor possible for the baby to learn how to perceive things, but it should be allowed to safely access various objects that will enable it to become acquainted with the characteristics of the still nature around it, and it also develops the sense organs, as well as enriches its experience through contact with the environment.
For this purpose, items such as trotters, animal toys, rubber or plastic dolls, cubes, boxes, balls and the like can be used. The child’s toys during the first two years of entertainment also serve to sharpen its senses and develop its psycho-motor.