The Functional Mom Blog

Visual Tracking in Newborns

So what visual skill can you work on with baby at 0-3 months. The answer? The ceiling fan, the mobile, your face. In a word - LOOKING. Visual tracking  is one of the best ways to engage your little one during active awake times. The way we experience the world is impacted greatly by our vision. Vision is the foundation to our gross motor coordination and fine motor coordination we will evolve throughout early childhood.

Why is Visual Tracking Integral to Play?

Sight is the only sense that isn’t stimulated in the womb. That means it’s important for your baby to have lots of chances to practice her visual skills in order to improve her vision. 

What is your baby able to see? 

Your baby is nearsighted and is best able to see objects close up (8-10” from her face) from 1 - 3 months. Baby's visual acuity appears blurry so that's why most toys on the market for the age group tend to be simple, bold and high contrast (white and black). 

Visual Skills for 0-3 months

I encourage moms to hold baby very close to their face and slowly move their face. Just like at the optometrists/doctors office. You will go in a horizontal pattern, vertical, and outline an H. You can do this with your face or a toy with high contrast. To further challenge baby, you can add a rattle. This helps to engage more than 1 sense at a time. 

What you want to see if that baby is: 

  1. Holding their gaze steady with movement and not observing darting of the eyes. 
  2.  Eyes are working together so that they are not drifting apart or crossing
  3.  Focus on objects at different ranges of distance from baby's face. 
  4.  Following toys/faces

In addition to eye muscle development, your baby’s brain is learning to make some sense of and meaning from all the visual input it’s receiving from the eyes: Visual Sensory Processing.

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