Development for 0-3 Years Old Babies
FOR 0-3 MONTHS BABIES: DEVELOPMENT
Congratulations! You have experienced the greatest miracle of nature. After showing patience during the most difficult nine months of your life, you can now embrace this very valuable and unique individual you brought into the world with surprise and happiness. Like all mothers, you will occasionally stare at your baby in disbelief that it was born, still not fully realizing that it is in your arms to love and raise. At this time, you may not be able to cope with your emotions. Congratulate yourself on your new responsibility though, for you are about to embark on the most incredible journey of your life. In this journey, you will get to know your baby and learn to be a mother.
YOUR BABY IS ON THE WAY
At the time of birth, your baby’s senses are bombarded with stimuli from the outside world, and many new connections are formed in his developing brain. Your baby’s senses of touch and taste were awakened while he was still in the womb, and his hearing was well developed. He heard many strange and new sounds that filled the room the moment he was born. Even the sounds he had heard while in the womb sounded very different as the flesh walls and uterine fluid were no longer there. Despite the importance of all these warnings, the most challenging change for your baby in the first few minutes of his life was the light environment he fell into after the darkness in the womb. Many of your baby’s first movements are involuntary. Some are caused by the body’s responses to stomach gases or temperature changes. Parents’ favorite gesture is the involuntary grimace, which is often mistaken for a smile. Other movements you’ll see your baby do are due to the startle grasping and walking reflexes he acquired during birth. Some reflexes are evolutionary remnants and have no meaning for the baby. However, some movements, such as the orientation reflex during breastfeeding, are of great importance for your baby’s survival. Your baby has three very useful feeding reflexes. The first is the orienting reflex: As soon as the baby feels a skin contact on his cheek, he turns his head, opens his mouth and starts to look for the breast. The second is the sucking reflex, which allows the baby to take milk. When the liquid fills the baby’s mouth from the breast or bottle, the third reflex, the swallowing reflex, is activated and the baby’s first feeding is completed.
VISION IS DEVELOPING
Sight is your baby’s last sense to mature, because in the dark environment of the womb it has received almost no stimulation. Therefore, the visual cortex, the part of the brain responsible for vision, is less developed at birth than, for example, the auditory cortex. Newborns have very limited vision and babies can focus only 25-30 centimeters away. Vision at this stage of development is around four percent of adult vision. The easiest things for your baby to see are simply patterned objects with sharp contrasts that you place near. That’s why simple black and white geometric patterns are so appealing to your baby. Newborn babies cannot see all colors. For example, although your baby can see the difference between red and yellow, he will not yet be able to distinguish between green and blue. But the thing your baby will love to look at the most is the human face. By the third month, your baby can begin to perceive details on the inside of the face, the shape of the eyes, nose and mouth, and use them to distinguish people. Your baby’s eyesight develops to ten percent of normal within six months. This allows your baby to track moving objects and focus on objects that are twice as far away as at birth. After another six months, the baby’s vision will come very close to adult acuity, but it takes about four more years for this sense to fully mature. Between the second and third months, your baby’s coordination skills develop significantly. Controlled limb movements occur in the direction of visual stimuli. So when it sees something interesting, it stretches its legs or arms towards it. After four months, your baby’s ability to deliberately open and close his hand will develop a lot. He can now consciously extend his hand towards an object to grasp it. Can plan how to reach and grasp before taking action. Therefore, when reaching for a ball, he spreads both hands to the sides, and when reaching for a pencil, he uses one hand like pincers.
RECOMMENDATIONS: If you want to develop your baby’s eyesight early, decorate his room with distinctive patterns and sharp contrasting colors (black, white and red). Although this look may not appeal to us adults, it attracts the attention of the newborn. Remember that newborns are particularly sensitive to movement. When showing your baby a new toy, move it back and forth across the field of view. Your baby makes sudden and hard movements at first, but then begins to follow the object without stopping. Change the pictures of the animated toy hanging above his crib from time to time, too. He will quickly realize that the new picture does not fit the image he has created in his memory. These little strains help your baby’s vision develop.
HEARING IS DEVELOPING
The baby’s hearing, contrary to his vision, was well developed before birth. Your baby can detect and distinguish many of the sounds that fill the womb months before birth. Your baby can hear almost as well as an adult at the time of birth, so the part of the brain responsible for hearing, namely the auditory cortex, is highly developed. However, research has shown that newborns prefer a complex auditory stimulus such as the human voice, especially the mother’s voice. The human voice, especially the mother’s voice, makes the baby happy. Human voices can have very different frequencies, tones and rhythms. It can be high or low treble or full fast or slow. Every person’s voice is as unique as their face.
SUGGESTIONS: There are games you can play with your baby to ensure his hearing. When you get a new rattle, shake it at the back or side of the baby’s head so that it returns to this sound. See how he reacts when you call him from different parts of the room, and raise and lower the volume of your voice as you approach his crib. Apart from these, you can take advantage of the baby’s not forgetting the auditory stimuli acquired in the mother’s womb, and you can soothe her with a song that you often listen to when she is pregnant. You can also fill your baby’s environment with lots of interesting sounds by singing songs, reading stories and playing different music to your baby.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TOUCH
Touching and caressing is not only pleasing but also healthy for your baby. Our skin is our body’s largest sense organ. You wouldn’t believe it, but every square centimeter of a newborn’s skin contains about six million cells and a total of nearly four meters of nerves. No wonder the skin is an organ sensitive enough to detect even the lightest touches and the smallest changes in temperature. Because babies do not have much use of their hands, parents often neglect the development of their offspring’s sense of touch and focus on developing their sense of sight and hearing. However, the sense of touch can also be stimulated. Some experts believe that gently massaging a baby’s skin is important for its development and health. It has been seen that massage given to babies reduces stress hormones, increases immune responses, and has positive effects on respiration, blood circulation, digestion and metabolism. So massage can improve your baby’s physical condition as well as improve his ability to resist illness and stress. But the most important element of a mother’s touch is to instill a sense of security in the baby. A baby who feels the touch of your hand on his skin will feel protected and loved.
SUGGESTIONS: Give your baby lots of interesting objects to explore to stimulate their sense of touch. Don’t be too worried about him putting everything in his mouth. As long as the object is clean and large enough for him to swallow, it’s okay for your baby to explore it with his mouth and hands, as long as it doesn’t have sharp corners. Notice how the baby learns to hold objects differently, depending on their size and structure. It will prefer to scrape rough surfaces, while caressing smooth and soft surfaces will dominate. Give him objects of different structure and size so that he can adjust his gestures: he will use both hands for large objects, and pliers with one thumb and forefinger for small objects. Give him two objects at the same time to use both hands and see how he makes them touch each other. Give him ample opportunity to explore what happens when different objects collide with each other or the table. Sounds and flying toys can get on your nerves, but remember that your little researcher’s goal is not to make noise and disturb, but to explore his ever-expanding world.
Developed senses of smell and taste
It plays a role in putting objects, toys or fingers in the mouth, improving the baby’s sense of taste. It is not correct to associate these movements with hunger before the baby is weaned. His preference for sugary flavors may cause him to grimace when it tastes salty or sour. But no matter how bad it tastes, the baby will want to try it. Like any other sensory experience, tasting a new taste creates new connections in the baby’s brain. This helps your baby develop his own taste after weaning. Your doctor will recommend that you introduce your baby to new foods around the sixth month. This is the golden age of exploration for your baby. The solid foods he will eat at this stage are not to make his stomach bloat. It still gets all the nutrients it needs from milk. However, tasting different foods will be a great pleasure for the little one, and your baby’s taste buds will begin to develop. So, give him as many different flavors as possible until his first birthday. Don’t make the mistake of not feeding your baby foods you don’t like. You should give your baby the opportunity to develop their own taste buds. Remember that every new flavor your baby tastes gives a boost to their developing senses. Your baby’s sense of smell is very developed even at birth, allowing him to distinguish things he cannot see clearly. It is thought that the sharp and developed sense of smell compensates for the inadequate vision at first. In other words, your baby, like baby animals, determines the location of things that he cannot see in the first days of his life by smelling. From the moment your baby is born, they begin to recognize the unique scents of their parents. However, as babies’ senses of sight, hearing, touch and taste develop, their sense of smell begins to atrophy. The reason for this is not known exactly. From this we understand that the baby’s developing brain is restructuring itself in response to the tasks imposed on its maturing senses. This astonishing process will continue, as baby’s senses will develop in different ways as he explores all aspects of the world.