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Q&A: Newborn's vision development?

What can my baby see when he is born? And what about as he gets older?

Re: What can my baby see when he is born? And what about as he gets older?

The Bump Expert

At birth, babies clearly can see, though it's very difficult to know what exactly -- after all, they can't tell you. It probably feels like your newborn is focusing on something from the breast to eye distance, but kind of looking past you rather than into your eyes. He's actually looking at the side of your face, between your eye and hairline -- he sees black and white best, so this area of contrast is easiest to focus on.

In a couple of months, your baby will look into your eyes more. You'll start to get a social smile, as he looks into your eyes and recognize you. No matter what the studies say, if you think your baby is looking across the room at you and smiling... he is!

At around four months, he’ll start to notice and stare at his body parts -- it's really cool to watch as your baby detects his own hands.

By six months or so, he'll clearly recognize you from across the room, and should be able to track and follow your movements.

By nine months, he'll notice those teeny tiny minute details that you might not even see... and that you probably wish he couldn't, either! (Meaning, all those little things he picks up while crawling around the room.)

Visually, a baby's favorite toy will always be your own face. There are tons of nice mobiles and baby toys and books, but the best toy is always someone's face. Plus, it's cheap, and always available. And, make sure you're smiling! Babies can pick up if your face is sad, and that's distressing to them.

If instinct says your baby isn't seeing or hearing you, definitely bring it up with your pediatrician. In my experience, mothers are the first ones to pick up on problems.

Dr. Vicki Papadeas

Q&A: Newborn's vision development?

My baby is 7 weeks and I notice his visual development progressing as he listens to my voice as i call out his name, and he responds with a smile as his eyes look to see where that voice is coming from, its so neat to watch him grow.

danagil |

Q&A: Newborn's vision development?

My baby is 7 weeks and I have notice that he will not respond when I say his name (like smile or coo) but he will look around at if he hears my voice or my husbands. It is weird but in the coming month he'll get tired of hearing his name.

HachiDaBride |

Q&A: Newborn's vision development?

My daughter doesn't look yet when you call her name, but she will follow your voice if you move across the room. She does that to my husband all the time. She is also smiling at us when we speak to her face-to-face.

symeabean |

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