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At birth, your baby's vision was pretty fuzzy, though she could make out light, shapes, and movement. Newborns can see only about 8 to 15 inches away — just far enough to clearly make out the face of the person holding them. Handily enough, your face is the most interesting thing to your baby right at this age, followed by high-contrast items such as a checkerboard, so be sure to put in a lot of face-to-face time.
By the time she's 1 or 2 months old, your baby will have learned to focus both eyes and will be able to track a moving object left and right, though she may already have been able to do this for brief periods since birth. A simple rattle passed in front of her face will often transfix her, or you can play eyes-to-eyes by getting very close to her face and slowly moving your head from side to side. Often, her eyes will lock onto yours.
Starting at 2 months old and continuing through her fourth month, color differences will become clearer to your baby, and she'll start to distinguish similar shades such as red and orange. As a result, she'll probably begin to show a preference for bright primary colors and more detailed and complicated designs and shapes. Encourage this by letting her look at bright pictures, photos, books, and toys.
Once your baby passes the 5-month mark, she'll be better at spotting very small items and will begin to tell the difference between pastels. By 8 months, your baby's vision is strong enough to recognize people and objects across the room.
Note: If you think your baby may have a vision problem, make an appointment to see her doctor.