Baby Milestones 0-4 Months: Babies and Staring
What you need to know about this important skill
Someday, you'll tell your child that it's rude to stare, but for now you want her to. "Gazing is a baby's first skill," says Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia. Facts about milestone numero uno:
High contrast helps. Babies love to lock in on your eyes because they stand out from your skin, making them easy to focus on. (Newborns can see only about 8 to 12 inches in front of them.) Arching your eyebrows will also grab her attention.
Staring is a social tool. When your baby plugs into your eyes and you gaze back, it's like the emotional electricity turns on, says Hirsh-Pasek. "From the beginning, babies realize this is a way to connect."
There's more to come. All that gazing lays the groundwork for other eye-motor coordination skills. By 2 months, your baby will likely follow a brightly colored ball that you move in front of her. By 3 months, she may swipe at it. By 4 months, she might even grasp for it.
Nurture that gaze
Take five minutes every day or so to see the world through your baby's eyes, so that you'll be attuned to how her gaze is developing. Where is she looking? What catches her attention? Does she notice you when you talk to her?