Development of Touch

Foundation for Learning

Touch is the first sense to develop, and it is the foundation of experience and learning.

  • It affects the bond between an infant and the parent, and the power of touch is usually stress relieving and stimulating.
  • Through touch, infants get to know objects, people, and their environment.

A newborn needs to be touched from optimal development, and a newborn reacts to touch in a similar way as an adult.

Newborns are faced with the cold outside the warm womb. The stiff edge of a seam inside clothes, and the hardness of the crib is in sharp contrast to the embedded womb.

Making Sense of the World

Infants make sense of their world by looking at things and feeling different things. And they love to put things into their mouth, so that they can feel it and taste it.

Touch develops in the womb

  • Protective movements can be seen in the womb, and before the eighth week, a baby reacts to avoid a hair stroke on the cheek.
  • Touch develops first around the mouth and then it continues to develop in a head-to-toe direction.
  • A baby reacts to a hair touching the palms around the eleventh week and the soles a week later.

The palmar grasp reflex can be seen from around week 24, when a baby responds to touch of the palm with a weak grasp. A couple of weeks later, a baby will hold onto the umbilical cord. By 32 weeks, a light stroke of a single hair can be felt in nearly every part of the body.

Develop a bond

Touch is important for a newborn baby, and it helps calm babies. Being stoked, help babies to sleep better and they cry less. All babies are different and it takes time to discover the unique ways that your baby responds.

Discover if your baby responds positively to being stroked or tickled. You can see if he smiles or makes eye contact and if he likes the type of touch, it will soothe him.

A special technique – baby massage – uses certain strokes to manipulate the infant’s muscles and ligaments. Learning this specific method can be helpful particularly for a blind or deaf baby.

Hugs and kisses are nice and they help to lay a foundation for learning and healthy relationships in the future

Let babies discover the world

  • Exploring different textures is a wonderful way to explore the world.
  • Toys and books with different textures are fun and educating – soft, fluffy, and scratchy.
  • It might be a bit messy to let your baby touch their food.
  • Feeling the texture of food as well as putting it in their mouth and eat it, provides knowledge about what banana is like.

Photo: Hand Holding Infant Foot by Kookkai_nak


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