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There’s a very good reason why babies make parents wait for months for that very first smile…
A series of images developed by eye surgeon Dr Romesh Angunawela of Clinic Compare remarkably outline in detail exactly what a baby sees, from newborn to the one year mark.
While a fetus can detect light and darkness from the womb, they are born seeing the world in black, white and grey. This is because nerve cells in the retina and brain that control vision are not fully developed at this stage.
A few weeks in, your bub will experience colour for the first time – red is said to register first, along with orange, green and yellow. Due to the shorter wavelengths of blue light, blue and violet hues tend to take more time – around three months.
Dr Romesh Angunawela says babies “begin to learn to process the flood of visual information from the moment they open their eyes for the first time.”
“Initially a child’s eyes can seem to wander due to lack of coordination, but this steadies quite quickly and by three months they should be able to discern mummy and daddy’s faces more clearly and fix on them.
“This may coincide with their first smile as facial muscle coordination also develops pace.”
And from that first gleeful, little grin, visual development increases at a ground-breaking rate.
“At birth a baby sees things more clearly between eight and 10cm, but their range of vision extends as they grow.
“Their depth perception also increases as the months progress and by the time they are crawling at 8-10 months, their hand-eye coordination begins to improve and they can reach for and pick up smaller objects.”
The first year involves an incredible learning curve for your baby. In fact, as Dr Angunawela puts it: "The visual cortex of the brain takes up nearly one third of the whole brain and begins to learn to process the flood of visual information it encounters from the moment your baby opens their eyes for the first time."
TIP: Experts recommend surrounding your little one’s nursery with bold, bright colours and contrasting shapes. Pastel colours, although aesthetically pleasing, may be difficult for them to get a grasp of.
Take a look at the video below to find out exactly how your baby sees you in it's first magical year of life.