When Do Babies See?

When do babies see?


Babies go through so many changes during that first year of their life. Their physical and mental development is mind-blowing. And it’s hard for parents to keep up with all the different changes their baby goes through.

One moment they are sitting up and the next they are walking around the move. One thing which can leave parents confused is when their baby can first see. They often think their newborn is looking straight at someone, but it’s not possible that they are actually focusing on someone when they are so little. And parents are left unsure of what to show their little one as their vision isn’t complete.

So you know when your baby can see more clearly, here is the lowdown on your baby’s vision.

The different stages of baby’s development


Babies have their eyes shut the majority of the time when they are first born. After all, they tend to just sleep and eat over those first precious weeks. But you might be surprised to know that even from birth, a baby can see light and motion. So they can recognise when you are close by.

They can also start to make out faces and shapes when you stand right next to them. So they know they are not alone when you are nearby.

You will notice that towards the end of your baby’s first month, they might start focusing on you a lot more. You will make eye contact and it’s a wonderful moment for a mum as they look at you, especially when you are reading to them and putting them to bed.

They should now be able to see to roughly 12 inches away. Over the next three months, they start to see a bit more clearly. They will be able to look at different objects and will begin to see the different colors. In fact, it’s such a good idea to then start introducing bright and bold toys which your baby can then focus on. It will grab their attention and help to enhance their sight. In fact, this might be the time to invest in a play mat.

You can lie your baby on it and then it can look at everything hanging above them. Choose one which has objects no further than 3 feet away so that your baby can see them clearly.

Once your little one is over the four-month mark, they will be able to see the world around them in much more depth. You will notice them looking at things in much more detail and they might even try to grab for items in their reach.

After all, their perception and coordination is developing so they will figure out how to do this.  You might notice they start taking much more notice of things like books, so it’s a good idea to start reading them to your baby at this point. Over the next couple of months they will get a sharpened view of the world around them.

They will be able to tell the difference between different people, and might have people they prefer to go to as they recognise them. Unfortunately this means they can also take a dislike to certain people and will hide when they see them!

You will also notice your little one will be able to spot a certain toy or person across the room and will go to them. Just before their first birthday, babies should start to have 20/20 vision and will be able to see around them much more clearly. This is when the fun really begins!

 Signs to look out for about sight development


We all hope that our baby will be absolutely fine and develop well. And for most babies, this will be the case. But unfortunately for some babies, they do have issues when it comes to their sight. And the best thing you can do as a parent is to get on top of it as soon as possible.

But a lot of parents don’t know what they need to watch out for that is a sign that their baby has a problem with their eyes. However, there are several things you can watch out when it comes to sight development.

For starters, you can check their eye movement by checking if they track toys. You should move something like a rattle in front of their face and watch their eyes. If they don’t seem to be moving their eyes as you move the item, it’s a sign that they are struggling to move their eyes and need attention.

You don’t have to use an object; you can just your finger if easier to see if they follow your hand. If they don’t do this by 4 months, you should speak to your doctor or your health visitor about your concerns about their development.

Even if it comes to nothing, you will be reassured that your baby’s vision has been tested. You can also watch out for issues such as your baby’s eyes crossing or going in different directions for a long period of time.

This could signal a serious problem which you need to go and talk to the doctor about. You should also keep an eye on the colour of your baby’s pupil. If it’s white or has white spots, this is definitely something you need to discuss with your doctor.

As your child grows up, they might tell you there is a problem with their eyes. While most children don’t go for an eye test until they are between 3 and 5 years old, you can get them to the optician earlier if you do think there is a problem.

It can be reassuring if you do think something is wrong to see someone who can check your baby. So don’t hesitate to go if you do think there is a problem with your baby’s eyesight.

If a problem with eyesight is caught early, it’s more likely to be sorted while they are young, so they can avoid things like glasses in the future.

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I'm Maria. I have a young daughter and have spent most of my adult life working in the Baby and Nursery Product industry. I have worked both as an in-store manager and buyer for a large nationwide UK-Based Baby retailer. This has given me a great opportunity to test and get hands on with the latest and greatest baby equipment. You can read more about me in the "About" Section of this website.