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Visual stimulation
At first, babies can't see very far, and life is blurry. To picture how the world appears to a newborn, imagine yourself at a movie where everything on the screen is slightly out of focus. You can see colors and shapes, but everything looks a little bit fuzzy. (By around six weeks, babies should be able to fix their gaze on a toy held close to them and, if you move the object slowly, follow its movements.)

In addition, newborn babies can't see the middle of an object as well as they see the edges, and they have a hard time distinguishing details. What babies can see best are sharp contrasts. So when your ardent admirer gazes up at you, the focus will be on your eyes, hairline, and mouth, because there's a distinct difference between the object and the background.

Stripes, polka dots, plaids, and checks also feed baby's hunger for interesting things to look at; wear a 'loud' outfit, and you'll get quite a reaction.

Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education