What does a baby see during their first year of life?

What does a baby see - motherhooddiaries

When you meet your newborn for the first time, you can see her clearly, but your baby cannot see you quite so well yet. That’s because your baby’s brand-new eyes will see quite blurry at first, and then develop gradually during her first year of life. By the time she hits her first birthday, she will have eyesight almost as good as yours. If you’d like to view the world through your baby’s eyes, you can check out Vision Direct”s interactive tool here. The tool was designed by Vision Direct to help you understand how your baby’s eyes develop over time, from newborn to 12 months old. You can also input your child’s age and the tool will give you an idea of your baby’s field of vision, depth perception and colour awareness. As you move the slider along, you’ll notice that not only do objects and colours become sharper for baby, but the background will also slowly come into view as well, so your baby starts to develop their peripheral and depth vision over time too.

“We hope that this will help parents understand how their baby’s vision changes during this critical time for development. The tool features helpful tips on how to support your child as they learn to focus, track objects and see colours.” Brendan O’Brien, Vision Direct’s Head Optician and Chief Operating Officer.


What a newborn sees - motherhooddiaries

(A newborn can barely see her own mother in the first few weeks of life and they can only see in black and white).

Unlike your baby’s hearing, which has fully matured by her 1st month, her sight develops more slowly. During the first month of life, a newborn can see shapes, light and movement, but only in shades of grey. At birth, you may notice how small her pupils look, which means that her eyes are very sensitive to light. As her central vision develops she will continue to develop the peripheral (side) vision. Within a couple of weeks, as her retinas develop and get stronger, the pupils will widen, which means more light and dark patterns can enter through the eyes. You will see that your baby will start to pay more attention to objects in front of her too. At about one month, baby can see you a little clearer, but will still prefer brightly coloured objects about three feet away.

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2 months old

By 2 months old, your baby will be able to see only the bright primary shades. Don’t be alarmed if you notice your baby’s eyes crossing or wandering around because, in most cases, this is normal and her eyes will eventually correct themselves. Please notify your paediatrician if you start to see baby’s eyes constantly look towards the nose or outwards from the nose.

6 months old

By 6 months, the baby can move her eyes more quickly and is able to follow moving objects, allowing her to develop physically, mentally and emotionally, until, at one-year-old, she can see almost as good as her parents. Her ability to see how far an object is away from her (depth perception) is developing more fully now. She can almost see the world in 3D and so you will probably see her reach out for objects that are both near and far to her. Her colour vision is developing well too, although not to an adult’s capacity just yet.

What a 6 month old sees

(A 6-month-old baby can see her mother more clearly now, but everything else in the background is still blurry)


At 6 months, baby can also understand object permanence, which means that she knows that objects continue to exist even when she cannot see, hear, touch, smell or sense them in any way. This is why touching and handling objects are really important for infant development, and it especially encourages her to strengthen and use her eyes.

10 months old

What a 10 month old sees

(By 10 months, baby can see in colour and, bar a couple of shades or two, this vision will stay with her when she’s grown up. Baby can also start to see the background more clearly)

By 10 months, baby’s can judge distance quite well at this point and you’ll notice this by the way they can pull themselves up to stand. They have an almost full capacity for a range of colours in their vision and by 12 months, they can almost see as well as us adults, bar a few developments along the way.

Protecting your eye health is for life

Protecting your baby’s eyes should not stop at 1 year old. It is important that you and your family continue to look after your eyes well into adulthood. Make sure you receive regular eye health and prescription checks so that you maximise your chances of good eye health and your sight can last you a lifetime. Make sure that you continue to watch for any signs of eye and vision problems in your baby. This can include an inward or outward turning of eyes, a noticeable delay in not being able to track moving objects well and any other signs you may have picked up on baby’s central, peripheral and depth perception. Whatever inkling or gut instinct you have, notify your paediatrician straight away as eye or vision problems can delay a baby’s development. The paediatrician should be able to help you find age-appropriate activities that you can do with your baby to encourage them to develop their vision. Click here for more information on Vision Direct and stay updated with new articles on eye health, as well as new products and features on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

*This post is sponsored by Vision Direct*

*Where I have made references to the baby as ‘her’ or ‘she’, please take that to include all babies and not just females. *

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Leyla Preston (575 Posts)

Leyla Preston is the owner and Editor of Motherhood Diaries global magazine for parents. Leyla is a busy mother of two even busier boys; Aron, 8, and Aidan, 6. When Leyla isn’t feeding, managing a gazillion tasks or cleaning the infinite mess at home, she is busy working on this magazine and a new cooking channel coming very soon – no rest for the wicked! You can follow Leyla on Twitter (@M_Diaries) or join the busy Motherhood Diaries Facebook group where all mums get together and share stories and solutions with one another: https://www.facebook.com//groups/motherhooddiaries/