Tracking Objects With The Eyes

Your baby will love to explore her world as her eyesight develops.


Don't expect your baby to be able to see much when she makes her arrival. "A newborn's vision is very poor—between 20/200 and 20/400," says Los Angeles pediatrician Cara Natterson, M.D., author of Your Newborn Head to Toe: Everything You Want to Know About Your Baby's Health Through the First Year (Little, Brown and Co.). "Everything is very fuzzy except for things that are in the six- to 15-inch range." (Namely: your face and breasts.)

Within weeks, however, your child's vision should begin to improve as her eyes mature and develop. When this happens, she'll be able to master an important milestone: tracking objects with her eyes. Expect her to be capable of doing this by about 1 month of age—and don't be freaked out if her eyes get all googly on you in the process. "It's normal for the eyes to wander as the muscles develop and the eyes and brain learn to work together," Natterson explains. She adds that babies usually focus on the human face first, then move on to other objects.

So is there anything you can do to help her master this milestone? Maybe, but don't feel obligated. "We've been developing as a species just fine without extra gizmos," Natterson says. "That being said, newborns really do see black, white and red the best, so if you want to buy a mobile or toys with these colors, that's just fine."

If your baby doesn't seem able to track objects with her eyes by about 2 months, or if her eyes are still wandering by about 4 months, call your pediatrician. Here's another tip: If you're concerned about something your baby is doing, videotape it. "Just like when you take your car to the mechanic," she says, "your baby will never do it in the doctor's office."