Smell – birth to four months

Baby has a good sense of smell from birth, better than vision and hearing. Smell gives their brain information that helps baby feed, learn about their environment and recognise family.

Surround baby with nice and soothing smells by:

  • waiting at least a day after birth before washing baby, because the smell of the womb comforts baby
  • having lots of close contact at first with mum and baby, because mum’s smell makes baby feel secure
  • skin-to-nose contact while feeding, so baby makes a pleasant link between milk and caregiver’s smell
  • holding baby bare-chested or under the shirt if bottle feeding to improve the bond and sense of smell
  • not changing soaps, lotions or perfumes, or just using plain products with no smell so baby doesn’t get confused
  • keeping brothers and sisters close because baby loves their smell and a strong bond will grow.
Published — 20 February 2019 Last updated — 20 March 2019

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