Baby's Sense of Smell


Of all your babys senses, the development of babys sense of smell is hard to recognize until she is big enough to express what her nostrils are up to. But if you are curious about what your little one could be smelling, here are seven interesting facts about babys sense of smell development in the first year of life.

Last Updated: 22 October 2020

Baby's Sense of Smell
Baby's Sense of Smell
1.       Your baby while in the womb had smelled all that you ate

Your baby’s sense of smell has been developing right from the first trimester of your pregnancy. The tiny pair of nostrils sniffed almost all kinds of smell that floated around in the amniotic fluid. If you are wondering how it would be to smell the amniotic fluid, you will be surprised to know that it is close to that of your breast milk and yes, it is also a make-up of the aromas of the different foods you ate in pregnancy.

2.       At birth, your baby can identify your unique smell

It doesn’t take long for your baby to recognize you by your smell. It would take a while for her to recognize you by your face but only a few days for her nostrils to spot, “That’s her, my mommy!” Your body odor is one of the first cues for your baby to begin bonding with you.

3.       Your baby can differentiate between your breast milk and another mom’s milk by smell

You didn’t expect this one, did you? And it takes only 3 days for a baby to do this! Yes, a 3-day old infant can distinguish if it’s her mom’s breast milk or not by the smell of the breast feed. Her little noses do a lot more than we can imagine even in the early days of her life.

4.       A strong odor like that of a perfume can interfere with your baby’s feeding

Now that you know how your natural odor is fascinating for your little bundle, it is highly advised not to use fragrances which can shadow your original odor, at least in the first few days after your baby’s birth. As smell plays an important role in the initial bonding between you and your baby, which also in turn is important for a comfortable latching and breast feeding experience, do not let an artificial substance to mask your baby’s sense of smell. Perfumes and scents on the new mother have studied to be negatively affecting a newborn’s feeding routines. 

5.       Your baby’s region in the brain for smell is closely associated with memory

Sure, you have had an experience of recollecting a memory from the past after the pleasant aroma of cappuccino reached you. It is because the regions in the brain for smell and memory are closely linked and it is happening in your baby’s tiny brain as well. The smells your baby is exposed to are also going to register the mood or an impact that happens closely at the same time. You can make use of this phenomenon in associating the aroma of healthy food to happy times like cuddling or tummy time for your baby, if doesn’t sound too complicated to comprehend.

6.       Your baby’s food preference is largely influenced by how it smells like

For one, you know how the aroma of the food you had during pregnancy has already created an impact in your baby. Around six months, when it’s time to wean your baby, her food preferences is likely to depend on the aroma of it, either following what you like or she might as well develop an independent food preference.

7.       Familiar smells can be comforting to your baby

Add your baby’s sense of smell to the things to soothe her when she is crying. Babies may feel insecure with some strangers whose body odor is not familiar to them. Like how the parent’s touch and cuddles can be comforting to a baby, their smells are as well a great comfort factor for a newborn.


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