The Almighty Nose


Your baby’s nose and sense of smell plays an important role in early development …

Here’s an amazing fact – your newborn will be able to recognise you simply by the smell of your skin. From the very beginning, your baby’s smell has an important role in his sense of comfort and security, and in the bonding process.

When does my baby’s sense of smell develop?

Your baby was born fully equipped with all the necessary senses – sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. Some of these are more developed than others. For example babies can only focus at close range – about 8 to 10 inches, just enough for your baby to see your face when you are holding them in your arms.

But your newborn’s sense of smell is far more advanced. The brain’s olfactory (smell) centre forms very early in fetal development. The nose itself begins to form in or around your seventh week of pregnancy, with two little nostrils forming about two weeks later. By week 10, olfactory smell receptors form and by late in to your second trimester, your little one is using his nose to detect odours.

How? Well, as your baby ‘breathes’ and swallows the amniotic fluid, he becomes familiar with its scent, with your scent. A number of studies have shown that the same chemicals, including some from the foods you eat, are found in your amniotic fluid as well as in your skin and breast milk. When your baby is born, he may not be able to recognise you by sight, but he will recognise your natural scent and be drawn to your breast milk.

The security of your smell

In those first few days, your baby’s ability to recognise your scent will give him immense comfort and security. So try not to mask your natural scent with strong perfumes or highly fragranced skin products. In fact, one of the best ways to spend those first few days is with plenty of skin-to-skin contact, allowing you to breathe in each other’s scent. This closeness releases higher levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin, helping you to create a strong bond.

Research has shown that babies can differentiate between their own and another’s mother milk within days of birth. The reason that babies know to turn their heads towards their mother’s chest to latch, also known as the rooting reflex, may also be related to their sense of smell.

The familiarity of your smell will be an enormous source of security and comfort to your baby, particularly in the first few months. If you are finding him hard to settle, try putting him down with pillow cover from your bed or a cotton t-shirt you have worn – smelling your scent will help to relax and comfort him.

Snuffly beginnings

Many parents spend much of their first few days hanging over their baby’s crib while the new addition sneezes and coughs their way through the night. It can make for an unsettling beginning but it is most likely your baby’s way of getting rid of the amniotic fluid and mucus left over in his respiratory system.

Babies have narrow little nasal passages and this can also make their breathing quite snuffly and loud. All that sneezing could also be a sign of their little systems getting rid of dust and air particles that their bodies are not quite used to yet. This is completely normal.

What about nasal congestion?

Dry air, irritants such as dust, cigarette smoke and perfumes, or viral infections can cause a blocked, irritated nose. Stuffy noses or nasal congestion occurs when the tissues inside the nose become swollen or produce mucus. Babies breathe through their noses so nasal congestion can be incredibly distressing for them and will generally affect sleep, which leads to more upset.

If your baby has nasal congestion, try using an infant nasal saline spray. This will help to clear the nose and soften any dry or thick mucus, so that it is easily removed. Often babies will clear their nose by sneezing, so be sure to have a tissue to hand. If the weather is really cold, you can warm the saline solution by popping into your bra or warm the bottle in your hands for a few minutes before administering.


Sterimar Clears and Unblocks Little Noses

A range of specially designed solutions – to clear and unblock little noses and keep them in top working condition.

Recommended by doctors, mums and winner of several awards, Sterimar Baby is a 100% natural purified sea water based nasal spray that gently cleans and clears little noses.

The gentle micro diffusion spray disperses the solution into very fine droplets coating the inside of the nasal passages to ensure ease congestion and provide cold defence.

The nozzle fits safely and comfortably inside your baby’s nose and will continue to work at any angle to ensure an easy and stress free application every time.

Sterimar Baby contains no preservatives or additives making it the ideal solution to use from birth.

Available nationwide from your local pharmacy. 

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