A newborn baby focuses best on objects that are between 20 to 30 cms from him. Have you wondered why? A baby’s(infants) complete vision development happens after a few months of his birth. There are a lot of factors standing between a newborn baby and a clear view of his surroundings and you. The baby’s eyes will be puffy for a few days after delivery and still adjusting to the bright lights of the outside world.
Baby’s eyesight is naturally nearsighted and used to dark surroundings because of being in the mother’s womb. There will be a slight swelling in the baby’s eyes which will last only for two to three days. The pediatrician will generally give you a drops to put into the baby’s eyes to avoid infections like conjunctivitis (pink eye). This drop is to be put into the baby’s eyes for mostly 7 days.
As I said a newborn baby’s vision is designed near-sighted by nature itself. A newborn baby can see the face of his mom while nursing. Is it a coincidence? No I believe nature has designed the baby and mother specially for each other. Infant vision development happens over the first year of their life. Just like other developmental skills baby’s need to work on their eyesight development.
Infants learn to see by looking around, watching and observing their parents and the environment they are in. This baby’s vision development is very important for the baby’s brain development. When they learn to process what they see, subsequently brain interprets what they see and their reaction to it.
Newborn Vision Development at 0 to 2 months:
In the first two months of the baby’s life, vision is blurry. The baby can focus on big, bright and contrasting shapes. They are able to see your face if it’s too close to their face. They still have not learnt to recognize your face. Don’t be disappointed if your baby does not recognize your face yet. A newborn baby recognizes the mother by her smell and because of breastfeeding. Mother has a natural bond with the baby.
Baby’s vision develops gradually. When your baby is looking at you, he is not actually looking at you. He is trying to see you as an object against the background. At first two months the best contrasting color a baby might like is black and white. Baby is still not able to coordinate both eyes to move together. A newborn vision development does not support moving tracking objects yet. Eye coordination slowly starts happening. Sometime you can see both the pupils in different direction. It is okay because the baby is learning to control where they look.
How to help with the infant’s vision development:
- Get up close to your baby were he can see you and talk to them.
- Set up the nursery to be in black and white color with big shaped images.
- Make black and white flash cards which will help with baby’s eyesight development and brain development as well. Show them the flash cards and also explain to them about the image.
3 to 4 months:
During these months, the baby is generally turning towards sides to see something. They are learning about the world around them by watching. Slowly as the baby’s eyesight is developing, the baby will be able to differentiate between a few more colors. And the baby’s vision will be a little better than before. You baby might start tracking moving objects (slow and bright colored moving objects). Baby starts to reach out for the object around them. Try and learn hand eye coordination as they grow.
By this time your baby will be able to recognize primary care giver’s faces. Mom and Dad can be differentiated by the baby. What is the best you can do for the baby’s vision development? Provide the right stimulation for the baby’s vision development.
How to help:
- Spend time talking to the baby. Sit close and talk to the baby.
- Explain to them about their body parts.
- Show them flashcards. You can add one or two more bright colors into the black and white flash cards set.
- Take a mobile which makes nice pleasant sound.
- Keep changing the direction of the baby’s crib. This way the baby has something new to focus on can avoid flattening on one side of the head.
5 to 8 months:
From 5th month to the 8th month most of the infant vision development will be completed. Baby will be able to perceive variety of colors(not as much as an adult, but fairly enough). Baby will be able to control his eye movements and look at an object together. In the three months important concept of “Depth perception” in baby’s vision development happens. Depth perception is nothing but the newborn baby will be able to know how near or how far the object it. They can understand the 3d concept now. Everything around them will be in 3d vision for them now.
Baby has started understanding depth perception, therefore your baby will now be able to grasp objects which are near them and which catch their attention. If the baby has started crawling the child will now work on hand and eye coordination and other motor skills.
How to help with the baby eyesight development:
- Provide them a variety of colors to explore now.
- Make colorful flashcards and keep it within their reach.
- Hang these colorful flashcards around the crib ( like a mobile). Let them touch and see and play independently.
- Make eye contact with your baby as you speak with him.
- Keep a light in the room he or she can look at. Light is mesmerizing to the babies. A hanging overhead light, a bedlam or sunlight falling in through the drapes these things are most that stimulate them.
Vision Development at 9 to 12 months:
In these three months the baby’s eyesight development completes. A infant’s eyesight will reach normal adult levels. He will be able to see everything. Now what happens is he is learning to process all the information he is watching. He might be able to select a certain toy based on his preference. Consequently would be able to locate the toy from the place he kept it last time. Depth perception keeps improving.
How to help with the infant vision development:
This is the time were you stimulate your baby’s vision development by providing a variety of environment exposure. Take him or her out into the environment. Show them a variety of plants, flowers, trees, animals to look at and touch and feel. Now these experiences help tremendously in brain development.
Show them various textures (velvet, a sandpaper etc), temperature (hot water or cold ice etc), state of substance (solid, liquid, foamy etc). These are very import for baby eyesight development.
A newborn baby’s vision development happens gradually in the first year of his or her life. It is the most natural process designed by Mother Nature. We need not interfere by doing anything exceptional. Simple things can stimulate the baby. A baby’s surrounding stimulates the baby. More importantly our job as parents is to provide the right surrounding and a nurturing environment for the newborn baby.
Firstly, the pediatrician generally checks vision during the 6th week of the baby’s life to make sure baby’s vision development is happening. Anyhow if you have doubts about your baby’s vision look for below signs and symptoms and immediately inform your doctor about what you feel. The doctors will help you rule out if there is any problem in baby’s eyesight and help you treat it early (if any exists).
- Too much Tears
- Excessive Redness or Swelling
- White pupils
- Frequent movements of eyes.
- No movement at all when you move a noisy toy or rattle or when you bring your face close and speak. In other words baby should be able to look in the direction of sound.
- Increased sensitivity to light.
- No sensitivity to bright light at all.
Best ideas to stimulate baby’s eyesight development throughout the first year:
- Black and white flash cards around the crib.
- Crib mirrors. (Babies love watching faces , however they do not understand it as their own until first birthday.)
- Anything with high contrasting patterns.
- A hanging light or bedside lamp or plain simple sunlight coming through the windows.
- Colorful flashcards after the 5th month.