We celebrated our 8th anniversary today. <3 And to honour this special day we decided to have dinner at a suburban five star hotel, in one of their specialty restaurants. When we eventually got there, an hour late for our booking, we were really surprised by what #babyT did – he sniffed the air, scrunched up his nose and said “aaahhh” He smelled food in the air and by the sound of the “aaahhh” we could tell that he liked it. We have a foodie baby and now we also know that he has a refined sense of smell. 🙂 Did you know, a food lover mostly always has a refined sense of smell.

Olfactory or olfaction refers to the sense of smell and what is most fascinating about it is that among all the senses, newborn babies’s sense of smell and taste develops in-utero, i.e. when they are happily floating along in their mommy’s amniotic fluid. In fact the sense of smell is the most powerful at birth and which is why the magic of breast crawl takes place. Sense of hearing and even sight develops gradually as baby grows. But olfactory and gustatory senses are already present at birth. 

Scientists now tell us that foetuses can sense the taste and smell of the foods their mother ate right from the time they have completed their first trimester. Amniotic fluid carries the smells and babies begin to sense them and even develop a preference for certain foods over others. And even after birth newborns rely on their olfactory senses to make meaning of the world, identify their mother (how does baby stop crying just as mommy picks him up.) and her milk.

I used to do this to babyT in the early days when he was a newborn. He would nurse and nurse and just nurse and I would be dying to pee or parched for a sip of water, but couldn’t risk putting him down. Even if he did doze off and I let him sleep on the bed, he would rustle the moment I walked out of the room. Somehow he would know that I am not around and would wake up crying. So what did I do, I used to leave my recently changed but unwashed clothes – a top or a gown near him, to give him the false sense that I was still around. I was then free to roam around and conquer a tiny part of the world. J Have any of you tried it?

Similarly a regularly used blanket, a huggy toy or lovey doll all work to soothe babies and children by their familiar scent. So continue to use familiar objects around baby. Avoid strong smelling perfumes on your person, especially when nursing or trying to calm down a crying baby.

Like any other, we can help stimulate a baby’s olfactory senses and here are some ways you can aid development and make it fun:

1) Expose baby to a variety of scents – soaps, scented flowers (pollen free to be safe), mild whole spices, the smell of books, food and toys.

2) Encourage to smell food before eating

3) Offer a variety of foods

And lastly, a bit difficult to implement after you’ve had the baby, but if you know any pregnant moms to bes.

4) Try and eat a wide variety of foods, fruits and vegetables and flavours during your pregnancy. It may not be very easy for some women who face bad nausea and morning sickness but its worth a try if you are one who can manage to eat. 🙂

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