One of the most unforgettable moments of parenthood is when you first hold your baby. They're seeing their world -- and meeting you on the outside -- for the very first time. I couldn't help but wonder what my babies thought when they first looked at me. Was I just a fuzzy blob? Did they know who I was? And who would we become together?
When you first have a baby, it's customary to stare into their eyes for what feels like hours at a time, trying to shoot reassuring rays of pure, unconditional love into their tiny brains. I know as a new mommy, this solidified the bond between me and my babies.
“A baby visually recognizes their mother before they are able to make eye contact,” says Deborah Weber, Ph.D., Senior Manager for Child Research at Fisher-Price. “Research has shown that as early as a day after they are born they show a preference to look at their mothers face vs. a stranger’s face.”
Eye contact also means your baby will soon start reacting to you. Pretty soon, I was on the receiving end of smiles and giggles (that were possibly from gas, but who cares?). Oh, how I cherished each giggle! And before I knew it, there was another added dimension to our mutual relationship with eye contact -- the ability to arrest my kid for any transgression with a mere side-eye. But I digress!
“On average, babies are able to make eye contact around two months, or 4-8 weeks old,” says Dr. Weber. But don't panic if you don't notice eye contact right away. Remember, all children develop at their own pace. You've got a better shot at noticing eye contact when your baby is awake and alert. Once you hit this milestone, it's only a matter of time before your kid becomes adept at catching your side-eye... and throwing some right back!
Viv Schaffel is a freelance journalist and essayist who writes for a vast array of publications, including CBS Watch!, The New York Times, Working Mother and The New York Post. She writes/performs sketch comedy and is an upstanding member of US Weekly’s Fashion Police, poking fun at red carpet risks.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.