Explore the SCIENCE OF THE SENSES™ for healthy baby development

Everyday moments become sensory experiences, nurturing healthy baby development

From the moment a baby is born, what a baby feels, sees, hears and smells can impact their development. There is a foundational and emerging body of research suggesting that multisensorial stimulation– the concurrent stimulation of tactile, olfactory, auditory and/or visual stimuli– benefits the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of babies. That’s why ordinary moments, like bath time and massage, can become extraordinary opportunities to strengthen the parent-child bond and stimulate baby’s growth and development in amazing ways. Like you, we understand the importance of these moments. JOHNSON’S®, partnering together with baby care experts, is excited to be bringing the SCIENCE OF THE SENSES to the forefront of healthy baby development.

Science of the senses

Defining multisensorial stimulation

Experiences involving multisensorial stimulation benefit baby’s emotional, cognitive, and physical development.

Tactile stimulation

  • Reduces stress in babies and parents1,2
  • Improves preterm weight gain3
  • Improves maternal mood and lowers anxiety2

Visual stimulation

  • Facilitates early communication4
  • Direct eye contact enhances neural processing4
  • Provides foundation for social development4

Olfactory stimulation

  • Directly linked to and influences emotion and memory in the brain5,6
  • Promotes relaxation and enhanced mood in babies and parents7
  • Stimulates learning when combined with touch5

Auditory stimulation

  • Creates memory for language development8
  • Improves heart rate (premature infants)9
  • Promotes bonding between baby and parent9
  • Reduces parental stress9

Incorporating multisensorial experiences into baby’s everyday bath time routine

An everyday ritual of bathing and massage is an ideal opportunity to introduce baby to new textures, sights, and sounds:

  • Can be a calming, soothing experience for baby and promotes bonding between the baby and the parent/caregiver10
  • Creates opportunities for skin-to-skin contact
  • Bathing has been shown to help decrease stress (cortisol) levels7

Learn more about the research behind the benefits of multisensorial stimulation.

References: 1.Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Field T. Preterm infants show reduced stress behaviors and activity after 5 days of massage therapy. Infant Behav Dev. 2007;30(4):557-561. 2. Feijó L, Hernandez-Reif M, Field T, Burns W, Valley-Gray S, Simco E. Mothers’ depressed mood and anxiety levels are reduced after massaging their preterm infants. Infant Behav Dev. 2006;29:476-480. 3. Diego MA, Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Deeds O, Ascencio A, Begert G. Preterm infant massage elicits consistent increases in vagal activity and gastric motility that are associated with greater weight gain. Acta Paediatr. 2007;96(11):1588-1591. 4. Farroni T, Csibra G, Simion F, Johnson MH. Eye contact detection in humans from birth. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2002;99(14):9602-9605. 5. Sullivan RM, Taborsky-Barba S, Mendoza R, et al. Olfactory classical conditioning in neonates. Pediatrics. 1991;87(4):511-518. 6. Herz RS. A naturalistic analysis of autobiographical memories triggered by olfactory visual and auditory stimuli. Chem Senses. 2004;29:217-224. 7. Field T, Field T, Cullen C, et al. Lavender bath oil reduces stress and crying and enhances sleep in very young infants. Early Hum Dev. 2008;84:399-401. 8. Graven SN, Browne JV. Auditory development in the fetus and infant. Newborn Infant Nurs Rev. 2008;8(4):187-193. 9. Loewy J, Stewart K, Dassler A, Telsey A, Homel P. The effects of music therapy on vital signs, feeding, and sleep in premature infants. Pediatrics. 2013;131:902-918. 10. Blume-Peytavi U, Cork MJ, Faergemann J, Szczapa J, Vanaclocha F, Gelmetti C. Bathing and cleansing in newborns from day 1 to first year of life: recommendations from a European round table meeting. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2009;23:751-759.