The Sense of Touch in infants
As infants grow and develop, their senses begin to sharpen and improve. One of the first senses to develop is the sense of touch.
The touch sense begins to develop in the womb, as the fetus is able to feel the pressure of their mother's movements and the fluid surrounding them. This early development of the touch sense continues to grow and improve after birth.
Infants are able to feel and respond to gentle touches, such as a mother's caress or a soft blanket, from a very young age. As they grow and develop, their ability to feel and respond to touch becomes more refined and precise.
One key aspect of touch sense development in infants is the development of their sense of body awareness. This allows them to understand where their body is in space and how to move it in response to touch stimuli. For example, an infant may initially flail their arms and legs in response to a gentle touch on their belly, but as their body awareness develops, they will learn to move their arms and legs in a more controlled and purposeful manner.
Another important aspect of touch sense development in infants is the development of their ability to differentiate between different types of touch stimuli. For instance, an infant may initially respond the same way to a gentle caress and a firm pat on the back, but as they develop, they will learn to differentiate between these two types of touch and respond appropriately.
The development of the touch sense is also closely linked to the development of emotional and social skills. Infants who are regularly touched and held in a loving and nurturing way are more likely to develop healthy emotional bonds and social skills.
In summary, the touch sense is an essential part of an infant's development. It allows them to feel and respond to touch stimuli, develop their body awareness, differentiate between different types of touch, and build emotional and social skills. As a result, it is important for parents and caregivers to provide infants with regular and appropriate touch experiences to support their healthy development.
Author - Dr. Dinesh Nehete (Founder, En-Reach Parenting)
Co-Author - Ajay Vaidya