“Unlike sight which takes several months to years to develop, a baby is born with a keen sense of smell,” says Joel Gator Warsh, MD, of Integrative Pediatrics and Medicine, Studio City, CA, and part of the pediatric staff of Cedars-Sinai Hospital.
“At birth, a newborn is drawn to their mother’s breast milk,” continues Dr. Warsh.
“We also know that a familiar smell can soothe an infant. For the first several months, a baby prefers his parent’s smell to anyone else.
“It is unclear whether a baby has a superior sense of smell to adults, but in general, we do not rely on our sense of smell as much as some other senses as we age.
“Maybe it is a use it or lose progression. Possibly, the sense of smell remains the same, but other senses are incorporated into our decision making, so we don’t realize how much we truly use our sense of smell as we age.
“Either way, we can be sure of one thing: Babies have a well-developed sense of smell at birth.”