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March 18, 2011

Your 1-week-old


Your baby's eyesight is still pretty fuzzy. Babies are born nearsighted and can see things best when they're about 8 to 15 inches away, so she can see your face clearly only when you're holding her close.

Don't worry if your baby doesn't look you right in the eye from the start: Newborns tend to look at your eyebrows, your hairline, or your moving mouth. As she gets to know you in the first month, she'll become more interested in having eye-to-eye exchanges. Studies show that newborns prefer human faces to all other patterns or colors. (Objects that are bright, moving, high-contrast, or black-and-white are next in line.)
Even this early, babies can recognize faces and gestures intuitively — and sometimes even imitate them. Try putting your face close to hers and sticking out your tongue or raising your eyebrows a few times. Then give your baby some time to mimic your gesture.

Even if your baby doesn't copy your expression now, she's keeping close tabs — and learning. If you interact with her and she doesn't seem receptive at all, don't worry. She may have gotten sleepy or a bit overwhelmed and need to take a break.

Young babies spend a lot of time sleeping, and to reduce the risk of SIDS, the safest sleep position is on their back. But when your baby's awake — and in the coming weeks she'll have more and more "awake" time — be sure to put her on her tummy. Babies need to spend time on their belly every day to strengthen their neck muscles. So start getting her used to that position now, or she may resist when she gets older.

All babies are unique and meet milestones at their own pace. Developmental guidelines simply show what your baby has the potential to accomplish — if not right now, then soon. If your baby was premature, keep in mind that kids born early usually need a bit more time to meet their milestones. If you have any questions at all about your baby's development, ask your healthcare provider.

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