Why Babies Stare At You So Much

Have you been out and about and noticed a baby staring at you like you hold all the answers to the universe? It can seem odd and a bit creepy but this is completely normal. Babies are inquisitive by nature and are very curious during the first few months after birth as everything is new to them. They want to take in their environment and their surroundings. Development also plays an important role in babies unintentionally getting into a staring competition with you, but there may also be other reasons why they can’t take their eyes off of you. If you’d like to know more about why babies stare so much, this is the article for you. Read on!

1. You Are Wearing Bright Colors

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We’re sure that wearing a bright neon green t-shirt is bound to turn a lot of heads on an otherwise somber monday morning. But you don’t need to wear something outlandish to get a baby’s attention. Even a nice shade of pink or a bright yellow will get them to stare at you. A baby’s vision develops as they grow and a key part of developing their vision is the introduction to bright colors. And studies show that newborns have an easier time seeing and focusing on high contrast objects and colors that contrast with each other (1). This is also why a baby might be staring at you when you wear bright jewelry, clothing or if your hair is a bright color, like orange.

2. You Have Unique Features

You Have Unique Features

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If you’ve ever carried a baby and had them try to grab your glasses or poke your many freckles, now you know why. They can’t help it, they are just enamored by your unique features. This also extends to accessories that you may be sporting that they don’t see all that often, so be careful to guard your ears if you have long chandelier earrings on. You must keep in mind that everything babies come in contact with or look at is something that is new to them everyday. And their curiosity is amplified when you have a unique feature they have never seen before. This could be colorful glasses, a different beard shape, a more uncommon hair color, a lot of freckles. It’s likely that this will grab the baby’s attention and make them more interested in you. Aren’t you the lucky one!

3. They Are Drawn To Movement

Typically, babies start to recognise movements upon turning 8 weeks or 3 months old (2). This is when their sensory movement starts to develop even more which is important as it is integral in helping the brain develop well. This is why you may wake up to find your 3 month old lying in their crib, staring at the ceiling fan like their life depends on it or why they are obsessed with games like peek-a-boo. They cause a lot of stimulation and make the baby look! Your baby could not be more impressed.

4. You’re Their Mother

You’re Their Mother

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If you are the mother of the baby then this is a no-brainer. They are staring at you because they know you are their mom. A study also showed that newborns are able to differentiate their mother’s face from the face of a stranger (3). Babies start to recognize their mother’s voice even before they’ve laid eyes on them. They can recognise it from the third trimester of pregnancy, even though low and muffled, they can hear their mom’s heartbeat too (4). How cool is that! Babies also use their sense of smell to figure out who is taking care of them shortly after their birth. This is also one of the reasons why skin to skin is so important right after delivery.

5. They Think You’re Beautiful

They Think You’re Beautiful

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That’s right, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this one likes to stare. Research actually shows that babies prefer to stare at faces they find attractive (5). Researchers tested this theory out by showing babies faces of people that adults found attractive and faces of people that adults found less attractive. And the results showed that the infants actually spent more time looking at the attractive face rather than the less attractive one. So the next time you step out and a baby is staring at you from across the street, take it as a compliment. You look extra good today!

Finding a baby randomly staring at you can throw you off. But we promise that they are not having murderous thoughts, no matter how intense their eye contact is. On the contrary, they probably find you fascinating, beautiful or are just enamored by experiencing you for the first time. Or maybe you’re just moving your hands around too much. Whatever the case may be, we hope this article clarified why babies can’t take their eyes off of you!

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Kezia John

Kezia holds a deep interest in writing about women adapting to motherhood and childcare. She writes on several topics that help women navigate the joys and responsibilities of being a new mom and celebrate every stage of their baby's development. When she is not writing for MomJunction, she sings in a classical Western choir and reads endlessly.