Now you see me: 9 steps in a baby’s vision development

Kinderling News & Features

When you pick up a gorgeous, fresh-born baby, gazing into their eyes is so special. And while they’re looking back at you, they’re not completely seeing the whole picture. Babies keep developing their sight clarity after birth, and it takes up to eight months for their brain to make complete sense of everything their eyes take in.

These are the nine steps to proper vision, from birth to eight months.


Your tiny newborn's sight is very fuzzy. In fact, newborns can only focus on things about eight to 12 inches away from them. Interestingly, this is about the distance from your breast to your face when they’re feeding. Although they can detect light, shapes, and movement, it's all very blurry. Right now, indulge them in lots of close snuggles and also high-contrast patterns such as a black and white checkerboard.

First month

Although your baby could see colours from birth, they’re still not able to distinguish similar tones, such as red and orange. This is why they preferences black and white patterns that are high contrast. This month they'll start to figure out focusing and begin to look less cross-eyed.

Second month

Your baby will enjoy following an object with his eyes, such as a moving rattle or your hands. They'll still love lots of close face to face looking but will also be figuring out colours a bit more and over the next few months. They’ll start being very interested in bold primary colours.

Third month

Your bub will be fascinated by anything they see now, particularly by things that move, like leaves in the garden. This is because they’re developing object tracking skills. Also, as the world begins to get more colourful, you can encourage their visual understanding of colours by giving toys to play with in bold primary colours.

Fourth month

If your baby is into pulling your hair right now, this is because they’ve entered the grabbing stage. Their eyesight is developing depth perception which means they'll want to combine this with newfound motor skills and try to grab whatever’s in sight. Give them things to grab and you'll be rocking their world.

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Fifth month

This month your baby is refining the ability to focus on smaller objects, and to distinguish colours. If you haven't got one already, they'll love a mobile above the cot in bold colours. They’re also starting to grasp the concept of object permanence, ie. that things exist even when they can only see a part of it - like your face in peek a boo.

Sixth month

As your baby's concept of object permanence develops, they'll love playing lots of 'now you see it, now you don't' games where things reappear before their eyes. Around now they'll begin to see in pastel shades as well as primary colours and will be able to distinguish pink from red.

Seventh month

By now your baby's eye pigmentation will be close to their final colour, although you may still see subtle changes. In terms of what they see, it's getting closer to having adult vision. When they start crawling, it will help to really develop depth perception and focus.

Eighth month

Your baby's vision is now almost adult in its clarity. While their attention will still be focused on what is visible nearby, such as a toy on the floor, their vision is advanced enough to be able to recognise people in a room, even from a distance.

If you are at all concerned about your baby’s vision see your doctor. 

 This article was originally published on Babyology.