It's All Black and White — At Least to Your Baby!
The first time you see your baby after he or she is born is nothing short of magical. Did you know, though, that your new baby’s vision is only in black, white, and gray tones? At birth, your child’s eyesight is not fully developed. Read on to learn about your baby’s vision in their first six months of life, as well as for some tips on how to promote healthy eye development.
Your Baby’s Vision at Birth
At birth, your baby sees in black, white, and shades of gray. The nerve cells in their brain that control vision — called the occipital lobe — and retina are not fully developed. Newborns do not have the ability to focus on near objects, which is why your baby’s eyes may go cross-eyed when she tries to look at you!
Your Baby’s Vision in Months 1-3
Your baby’s eyes at one month of age are not very sensitive to light, so being in a well-lit room will not affect their ability to sleep. By three months, however, this sensitivity shifts, and you might want to start dimming the nursery lights. Your baby also continues to see in black, white, and gray tones. You might notice your baby tracking moving objects and recognizing items such as toys or mobiles with bold, geometric patterns. As their color vision starts to develop, babies will first see the color red. By the time they are a mature three months old, they will see the full color spectrum.
TIP #1: to help your baby’s visual development, try introducing fun new shapes and items. We love the Wee Gallery “I See” stroller cards, featured in our March 2017 Mom & Baby Boxes! You can stimulate your baby’s eyesight while they are riding comfortably in their carseat or stroller.
TIP #2: to help stimulate your baby’s vision around month three, decorate their room with bright, cheerful colors. If you shy away from colorful walls, try brightly colored artwork and decorations that have contrasting colors and shapes. Add new items to their room or change the location of their crib so they have stimulating viewpoints while awake.
Your Baby’s Vision in Months 4-6
By six months, your baby’s brain has made significant growth in the vision centers — her vision may already be 20/20! Your baby sees more clearly, quickly, and accurately. Their ability to perceive colors should be similar to your own now, and their hand-eye coordination is also improving.
At six months of age, your baby should also have their first eye exam. Testing their visual acuity and overall health of their eyes ensures that you can identify anything that might interfere with normal, healthy development. Check in with local optometrists, as many run specials where eye exams for children under one are free!
TIP: as you introduce baby cereal and foods, be sure to include foods that are high in vitamins that promote eye health, such as choline. Check out this cereal from Happy Baby that is high in both choline and DHA!
Babies are incredible little people — be sure to give your baby’s eyes the attention and adoration that they deserve!
Kelsey Packard is a project manager in Austin Texas with a Masters in Human Development and Family Studies and certifications in parent-child attachment. She is a mama to two littles. She enjoys writing in her free time and supporting other mothers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org