Your newborn's vision in the first month
Unlike your baby’s hearing, her vision takes a while to develop, and should be tracked throughout the first few months. Newborns can only see blurry shapes because they are nearsighted, so her best vision is 8 to 12 inches (about 20-30 cm) away. During this time, your baby loves to look at faces, including yours and her own, so be sure to interact frequently.
World of color:
Color vision is also developing in the first month, and by a week old, your baby will be able to see red, orange, yellow, and green. Blues and violets take longer for newborns because these colors have shorter wavelengths. Brightly colored wall hangings and toys help her to distinguish color and form, but if you want your baby to appreciate your decorating skills, steer clear of pastels, since they're difficult for her to appreciate. Patterns and high contrast objects, like checkerboards and concentric circles, are also quite visible, and good for your baby’s eye development. Lighter tones, on the other hand, will be harder for your baby make out for a while.
During your baby’s first months, her eyes have a difficult time distinguishing between two items and moving between two images. It takes time for your baby to actually learn to see, because her two eyes need to learn to work together. your baby’s eyes may wander or cross, but should focus and be able to track objects after the first month or so. Her eyes are also much less sensitive to light than yours, so don’t worry about leaving lights on in the nursery. Make sure to get your baby’s eyes checked at every wellness visit, and discuss any potential issues or questions with the doctor.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Infant development: Birth to 3 months.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, June 25 2014. Web.
- “Infant Vision: Birth to 24 Months of Age.” American Optometric Association. American Optometric Association. Web.
- “Newborn Eyesight.” HealthyChildren. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.
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