We have the pleasure of speaking with one of the experts on the Mommy’s Bliss team, Dr. Smita Malhotra. Dr. Smita is a pediatrician and mom who talks to a lot of newborn parents. We asked her to share some of the common questions she gets and how she responds.
Q: Can my newborn see me?
A: “The short answer is yes! The longer answer is a little more complex. As a rule, newborns can only see about 8-to-12 inches in front of them. That’s why breastfeeding is such a bonding experience. When your newborn is breastfeeding, your faces are the perfect distance from each other so he can stay fixated on you. Anything beyond 12 inches is a big blur. Newborns mostly see in black, white, and shades of gray; color vision doesn’t develop until a bit later in babyhood (along with their ability to see farther and farther away).
Something else that’s interesting about newborns is that they have a very keen and distinct sense of smell, and they can always smell their mom (or whoever carried them), even if she’s on the other side of the room. A lot of dads have a hard time feeding their newborn a bottle if the birth mom is nearby; the baby knows there’s breast milk right there! And when moms are trying to wean from breast to bottle, I tell them to leave the room or leave the house so the baby can’t tell they’re around.”