As mamas, we spend hours looking at our babies. But when do babies make eye contact in return?
Let’s take a look.
In this article: 📝
- When should my baby start looking at me?
- Is it normal for babies to not make eye contact?
- How to encourage baby eye contact
When should my baby start looking at me?
If you’re asking yourself “when do babies start making eye contact?” the first thing to remember is that all babies are different.
Do newborns make eye contact? Sometimes, but more often than not, it’s accidental.
Usually, babies will stare (briefly) into your eyes at some time between one and two months of age, but it all has to do with how quickly they develop the ability to focus.
By three to four months of age (so just after they leave the newborn phase) your baby should be better at controlling the direction they’re looking, and they should be starting to explore the idea of hand/eye coordination.
By that point, they’ll probably be looking at you a lot more often, even if it’s just to figure out how to stick their fingers up your nose.
The thing to remember is that newborn babies can see less than a foot (30cm) in front of their faces. Their eye muscles haven’t developed enough to let them move their eyes at the same time.
They can’t really see colors, they can’t follow moving objects, and they have no sense of object permanence. So if they can’t see something, it doesn’t exist.
The bottom line? A newborn’s vision is only enough to let them see the person who’s holding and/or feeding them.
Thankfully, even if your little one is a long way off 20/20 vision and they won’t be staring deep into your eyes for a few more weeks, they’ll still know, love, and be comforted by your smell, your voice, and the sound of your heartbeat.
They know who their people are, and new baby eye contact isn’t everything.
Is it normal for babies to not make eye contact?
Yes, to a point.
New babies really struggle to make eye contact, and they don’t understand what it means from a social point of view.
So if you’re asking “why does my baby look away from me?”, it’s probably not personal.
Everything is hard work when you’re small, so even once your baby can meet your gaze, it might not take long before they’re tired of looking.
They’re also very unlikely to make eye contact if they’re feeling sleepy or upset. You’re more likely to get some eye contact if they’re calm, alert, and curious about the world.
This being said, if you have a baby who’s starting to think about moving on their own and you have the feeling that their vision isn’t where it should be, it’s worth asking their doctor.
A lot of babies have their first eye test at six months old and, if there is a problem, they might be able to get baby glasses sooner than you think.
How to encourage baby eye contact
There are lots of things you can do to help your baby to make more eye contact.
- Make sure you’re holding them where they can see you. That means in your arms, if they’re a newborn, or on your lap, if they’re a little older. You could also get down on their level and entertain them while they’re doing tummy time.
- Mimic their expressions and talk to them about what they might be thinking or seeing.
- Vary your tone of voice or sing to get their attention.
- Show them toys that make noises or have contrasting colors. Very young babies find it easiest to see black and white patterns, so choosing toys that fit this description gives them the best chance of tracking objects and making their eye muscles stronger.
For more tips, ask the mamas over in the Peanut community!
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