When a baby is first born, its eye muscles are very uncoordinated and not very strong. In fact, most first-time mothers are horrified to see that their precious new babies sometimes look slightly cross-eyed – which is generally simply because a newborn baby is unable to move both eyes at once due to poor muscle control. This look normally rectifies itself as a baby’s eye muscles grow in strength.
What A Baby Actually Needs To See
New babies are also unable to see further than about eight to 15 inches away. This is because all that a baby needs to see at first is the distance to his mother’s face whilst he is breastfeeding – something Nature has determined.
Newborns can see and make out objects within a few days. The new child recognizes features that are familiar and a baby at the breast often focuses intently on his mother’s face – a very bonding process for the pair. This also includes different human faces, probably allowing the child to pick out the image of those caring for him.. Although the baby won’t be able to see great detail, he can recognize a face’s different shape or whether the hair is long or short.
Distance Vision Is Blurred For Babies
New babies are in fact near-sighted – which means they can see objects that are close but anything at a distance is blurry and unformed. If you’ve spent time around a newborn baby you’ll have noticed that they seem to gaze at nearby objects or lights intently.
By the age of four months, a baby can follow an object around with his or her eyes and track the movement of something or somebody he is interested in around the room. They may also start reaching out for things.
Can New Babies See In Color?
However, differentiating between different colors and shades is a more sophisticated stage of development that does not really become apparent until the child reaches a minimum of three months old.
You may have seen monochrome books for babies or black and white mobiles to put above a newborn baby’s crib. Very young infants have an attraction to dark and light shades and appear to find toys of this sort absorbing and entertaining.
New babies change rapidly and their eyesight is one of these changes. Despite having relatively poor vision at birth, by the age of six months sight is the strongest of a child’s five senses and actually many babies have better eyesight than adults at this age.
Charlotte blogs about lifestyle, health and parenting for Direct Sight.