Wie Babys die Welt sehen - Lottili

How babies see the world

What do babies see in the first few weeks after birth? Does vision develop gradually or is it fully developed straight away? Can babies recognize objects or do they only see colors? Let's take a closer look at the question of what and how babies see the world. Because anyone who can see the world through the eyes of a baby suddenly understands much better what motivates the offspring.


How babies see in the first few weeks after birth

Around the 28th week of pregnancy, babies open their eyes in their mother's stomach. For the first time, the diffuse impressions behind closed eyelids become a concrete image. But of course the view in your stomach is limited to a very small world. The sense of sight has enough time to get used to the world and to develop in peace.  

Babies still see the world unclearly

You have probably often heard the sentence that very old people sometimes take on very childlike traits again. Although in most cases this is of course meant symbolically, there is still a grain of truth in it. In any case, when it comes to the topic of “visual acuity,” the different generations are quite close. In the first few weeks after birth, visual acuity is not as well developed as in adults. During this time, babies still have a blurry perception of their surroundings because they are short-sighted and far-sighted at the same time during these weeks. This means that they can only “focus” in a tiny area, 20 cm to 25 cm away. Parents often intuitively take this distance when dealing with their child. In any case, your baby can see you particularly well this close. 

How babies train their eyesight

Immediately after birth, our senses are not yet fully developed. We learn to trust them over time because, like our entire body, they get bigger and stronger every day. Vision becomes more complex, just as children slowly get used to the width and depth of the world. Focusing at different distances works better and better over the months, so that you will soon be able to see in three dimensions. But more on that later.
Your baby will soon learn to recognize things and people and to differentiate between them. Continuous training of the visual muscles is very strenuous. This can be so strenuous that some babies sometimes squint, as if we have over-exerted our muscles while exercising.

Babies love contrasts

Let's imagine what the world looks like for the baby before birth. The light is subdued and the light falls through the skin in gently blending shades of brightness. The baby lies safe and secure in the mother's stomach, which also protects it from too many sensory impressions. It doesn't seem so strange that the newborn is extremely sensitive to light in the first few weeks. The brain first has to get used to being constantly confronted with so many impressions. However, this can be done relatively quickly because the nerve cells in the brain and our retina develop quickly. The brain needs these cells for high-contrast vision.

So the first thing babies see is contrast. They are almost magically attracted to black and white patterns. They also perceive their first color impressions very early on. The colors red, orange, yellow and green are among the first colors perceived. Nevertheless, in the first few weeks, babies' world revolves around contrasts.

When we can see and distinguish things clearly, the world becomes much easier to understand.

After about 4 weeks, the baby's optic nerve is much more developed. It can now recognize contrasts well. He begins to follow interesting objects with his eyes.

Babies see double

How complex the process of seeing actually is can be easily observed by the development of all the associated skills. Babies see double until they are about three months old. Both eyes transmit the same image to the brain, and the baby is not yet able to put the two images together. In the third month, children develop the ability to see in three dimensions. At the same time, other developmental processes take place in the body. Sensitivity to light decreases while the sense of touch also develops. At this moment hand-eye coordination develops: the baby then recognizes an object, can reach for it and soon learns to hold it.

How black and white becomes a color film

Although babies perceive their first color impressions quite early, in addition to contrasts, the real ability to see colors only develops after a few weeks. The diffuse perception then creates a concrete sensory impression.

From the second month of life, the black and white film becomes an increasingly colorful world. Current studies show that particularly strong colors such as red and green, yellow and blue are among the colors that babies see and distinguish first. Every child is different and every child has their own pace, so of course the timing may vary. If the baby is surrounded by many striking color impressions and strong contrasts, he or she collects many visual impressions and learns in a playful way to connect the eyes and the brain.


The sense of sight plays a crucial role in the development of various human abilities. The little person begins to understand the world through seeing. Visual perception stimulates motor, mental and verbal development. Logically, interesting things arouse a child's curiosity and interest in their surroundings. The baby begins to reach for exciting objects, holding them in his hands, all the while practicing coordinating movements and eyes. At some point, toddlers begin to move around, and their now well-trained vision still drives them to explore the world. 

The development phases of vision


The eyesight 

1st and 2nd week of life
  • Contrasts: black, white and gray
  • Blurred
  • Faint shades of red, orange, green and money

3rd and 4th 

week of life

  • Contrasting and interesting items 
  • The baby may begin to follow the object with his eyes

5th and 6th week of life

  • Optic nerves become stronger
  • The babies may squint during this time
  • Better perception of colors

7th and 8th week of life

  • Blue and violet enter the perceptible color spectrum

3rd and 4th months of life

  • Coordination gets better
  • Sensitivity to light decreases
  • Babies no longer see double

up to one year

  • Development and training of three-dimensional vision
  • Getting better hand-eye coordination
  • Objects can be clearly identified


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