Your baby starts to use the sense of smell when s/he is in your womb. The baby’s nose becomes familiar with the scent of the amniotic fluid inside your body, which carries the smell of your breast milk and the smell of foods you eat.
Smell is processed in the part of the brain that also controls memory. Babies form strong associations between particular scents and feel attached to them.
Newborn: As a newborn, your baby will have highly developed sensitivity to smell. S/he will recognise you with your scent before even able to see you. The little one will have an attachment towards the scent of your breast milk. By recognizing your scent, s/he will be more comfortable and feel more secured knowing that you’re around.
One month: Your baby will get acquainted to different smells and sometimes his/her smelling ability will be overpowered by strong aromas. This can create disturbance in his/her sense of taste also. Thus, resist yourself from wearing strong perfumes.
Three months: Your baby will grow more familiar with the smell of different people around. S/he will probably identify a person with his smell and will be able to distinguish a known person and a stranger by their smell. If the little one feels uncomfortable by someone else’s smell, s/he may cry out loudly.
Six months: The baby will probably use his/her sense of smell and taste to decide whether to eat a new food, or not. If somehow, s/he likes the smell of the food, s/he may reciprocate by smiling and making noises.
Twelve months: By the time your baby is 12 months old, s/he may build his own preference of food by judging the smell of it. The little one’s likes and dislikes regarding food may depend upon the smell of that food.
Familiar smells like the scent of mother will be able to comfort the baby. S/he will be able to identify places by their smell, eg the baby will know s/he is on his bed by the smell of the homely atmosphere, the blanket s/he uses, or his/her favourite toy. These smells will be able to calm him down. Similarly unpleasant smells may disturb the little one and make him/her throw a tantrum.