How well does my baby see?

Q: How well does my baby see?

A: Sight is the least developed sense at birth -- a newborn can only see about 8 to 12 inches away. Beyond that, the world seems like a pretty blurry place to your baby -- his eyes don't work together yet so he can't focus very well. But his limited vision actually helps him feel attached to you. A newborn can see just far enough to make out your face when you're feeding him.Here's what your baby sees as he grows:Newborn: Your baby loves to look at your face, especially areas of contrast like your hairline and eyes. Since his color vision isn't fully developed yet, he's mesmerized by black-and-white designs, bold patterns, and large, brightly colored objects. Until your baby is about 2 months old, his peripheral vision is stronger than his central vision, so don't hang a crib mobile directly over his head.2 months: Now that their eyes are starting to work together, most babies can track a moving object. Your newborn's brain is beginning to perceive and follow motion, so he'll love watching a mobile or playing in front of a child-safe mirror.4 months: He can now see in color, so his toys and stuffed animals become more appealing. He also has better depth perception and can spot objects across a room.6 months: Your baby is able to see finer details, so he may be fascinated by things that never interested him before: his teddy bear's face, the design on his rattle, or the tree outside his bedroom window. --Carol Sjostrom Miller

Originally published in the March 2007 issue of Parents magazine. Updated 2009

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