Building Your Baby's Faith

Even now, your baby is learning about God--through all five senses

From birth, babies learn about their world through the five senses. Within a week, your newborn can smell the difference between your breast and that of another nursing mother. Hearing matures around three months and sight at about seven months. You can use your baby's developing senses to teach her about Jesus.

Taste and Smell
At birth, a newborn's taste and smell are the most developed senses. It's never too early to start saying a simple grace: "Thank you for food, God" or "Lord, bless this food."

If you're breastfeeding, saying grace before nursing may feel a little strange at first. Remember that mother's milk is a gift of God, so we should thank him for it.

Your baby learns your moods and emotions by your touch. The American Academy of Pediatrics says you send "a clearer message of love and affection" for your child through touch.

One simple way to build faith is to place your hand on your baby's heart and say, "God loves you." Changing "you" to your child's name personalizes it even more.

When our son Kenneth, nicknamed "Kiwi," turned 2 months old, we started using touch to help him learn about his body and his Creator. When we changed Kiwi's clothes, we touched various parts of his body and said, "God made Kiwi's hands, God made Kiwi's feet," and so on. Sometimes we sing the old spiritual "Dry Bones" and touch each body part as we sing about it.

Touch can also add to finger-play devotions. For example, you can place your hand on your baby's heart when you say the word "love" in a devotion. A devotion with touch may lead to little hands on yours. These moments of spontaneous affection are gifts of God. (For more ideas, see "Devotions for the Littlest Ones," Nov/Dec 1997.)

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