Your newborn has a great big world to explore, filled with fascinating sights, sounds, colors, textures and tastes, and he's making full use of his senses to soak everything up. You can help by offering him a variety of items to investigate. One thing to remember is that babies are particularly drawn to contrasts, both colors and textures. If you offer him something soft, also offer him something hard. If you offer him something white, also offer him something black. Doctors aren't quite sure why, but contrasts attract babies' attention and get those little brains going.
Babies are born with better peripheral vision than direct vision, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Your baby's focus won't improve until he's about one month old. As a a newborn, he's very sensitive to bright light, so keep him out of the sun for a while. When he gets a bit older, though, he'll enjoy looking at brightly colored toys, especially red, though the reason hasn't been discovered yet, according to the AAP. Engage your baby's curiosity by offering him toys in red, black and white. Patterns like stripes and checkers also stimulate your baby's brain.
Give your infant the opportunity to feel all kinds of things. Newborns have an instinctual ability to grasp what you put in their hands. Try playing a gentle game of tug-and-pull with a silky scarf. When he's old enough to hold a bottle, slip a fuzzy sock over the bottom of it, and when he can sit in a high chair, try putting a variety of fun-textured things on the tray, such as jello and cool whip. It may be a little messy, but your baby will enjoy exploring.
Your voice is your baby's favorite sound. Talking, cooing and singing to him are all wonderful ways of exploring sound. Play music softly when he's in the room and let him listen to the melodies created by wind chimes. Fill empty coffee cans with things like paper clips or rice and shake them so he can hear the different sounds. A few months down the road, he'll love shaking them himself.
Taste is another sense that can be fun to explore. However, newborns aren't ready to sample different foods. Right now, the most important thing is making sure your newborn has the proper nutrition he needs to be healthy. MayoClinic.com recommends breastfeeding exclusively if at all possible, as breast milk meets all the nutritional needs your baby has. In fact, a baby who is breastfeeding won't even need water or juice in his diet. So wait a while before you start experimenting with food.
- Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images