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How well does my baby see?

How well does my baby see?
Submitted by Parents Team

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

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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