Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Baby Milestone, Gaining Control of Vision

By Christina VanGinkel

Milestones from one baby to the next can vary greatly as they grow older, with no two children, even within the same family, often meeting the same milestone at the exact same stage as another. However, most young infants should reach certain milestones within a few weeks of each other, give, or take those weeks each way. One such milestone is the strengthening of their vision.

By the time your infant is around the two-month mark, they should be clearly exhibiting signs of their eye control strengthening. You may notice that they will hold their own hands up in front of their face, obviously fascinated that they can see something they themselves put there. They may be more interested in simple toys that you hang in front of them, for instance if you place them in a stroller or baby recliner of some sort with the toys dangling nearby. Colors are not really of importance to the degree that they will suddenly begin noticing these things, with many doctors and vision specialists even claiming that the contrast between toys that are black and white in nature being the easiest items for baby to see and to strengthen their vision by viewing.

There are things you can do to foster the strengthening of your infant's vision, starting with providing them with different scenery throughout the day from the first day you bring them home. Think of it this way, if you had to look at the same wall or window even, hour after hour, day after day, sooner rather than later, you would become so used to seeing the same view that you would not even really notice it at all anymore. The same holds true for your infant. If they are looking out at the world everyday, and seeing the same old thing, this is not going to be inspiration for them to strengthen either their vision or their minds. Place their swing or bouncy chair in different positions. Put them down in their crib on opposite ends every other time; carry them up in your arms facing out away from you so they can see what you are seeing.

Also, when baby is in a stationary position, such as nestled into a baby swing, talk to them as you move about doing your daily tasks and chores. This will provide them with both auditory and visual stimulation, giving them an object to focus on. Call to them from across a room, and when they look your way walk towards them, talking to them until they clearly see you. You will notice that a very young infant may startle when you call out their name, but not really see you until you are inches from their face. As they grow, they will begin to see you earlier, at some point even across the room from where you first called their name. This is a great way to clarify to yourself that your child's vision is progressing, as it should.

As baby ages, keep up the visual stimulation, providing new stimulation such as adding toys with faces. Children seem to learn early on that a face is an important object, with even the youngest children sometimes babbling on to objects that have faces, while tossing aside those that do not.

If you have any questions about your infant's or older child's vision, never hesitate to consult a professional. Even if you are assured that everything is normal, and yet you feel differently, go elsewhere for information. If you asked your baby's pediatrician, consult with an eye specialist, for example. You know your child better than anyone else does and if you continue to feel that there is an issue with your child's eyesight, it is in his or her best interest to find the underlying cause of the situation as early as possible. Poor eyesight can often be an issue with other illnesses, so staying on top of what many consider a routine milestone can often result in getting your child help in other areas where their health may be of concern. Be alert to your infant's vision losing ground too. This can be something as simple as misreading the signals, to possibly being a sign to something more serious.

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