Your baby learns about the world through the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and textures in the environment.

How Well Can My Baby See?

Your baby's eyesight has been maturing for many months, and he or she is able to see quite well near and far and even focus on quickly moving objects. Your baby's motor skills are now working together with eyesight (hand–eye coordination), and it's likely that he or she can spot a toy across the room, focus on it, move to it, pick it up, and explore it in lots of ways.

Familiar and loving faces are still your baby's favorite things to look at, but he or she also may enjoy looking at pictures in books, especially familiar images. Your baby may love objects with parts or pieces that move, and will spend lots of time staring at and manipulating these things, trying to figure out how or why they work. Take your baby with you to see new and interesting places. Point out the sights and label them by name.

Does My Baby Understand What I Say?

Your baby's been listening to you since before birth and is starting to know common words, such as ball, cup, and bottle.

You'll also know you're being heard and understood when you ask "Where's Daddy?" and your baby looks his way; or you say "Go find the ball" and he or she crawls right to it. Your baby should already respond well to his or her own name and look up (and at least pause) when you say "No!"

Labeling simple objects during the course of the day reinforces the message that everything has its own name. Your baby is learning what familiar objects are called and storing this information away until the time when he or she can form the words. During this period, your baby will be making more and more recognizable sounds, such as "ga," "ba," and "da."

Taste and Smell

By this age, your baby is developing food preferences. Keep offering foods with a variety of tastes and smells, and don't give up if he or she doesn't take to it right away. It can take 10 tries or more before a baby learns to like new food.

Explore the sense of smell with your baby, too. Use scents to help your baby understand the world further. A trip outside can provide a wide variety, from the sweet scent of flowers to the distinctive smell of just-cut grass.


Your baby is getting around more independently as he or she learns to scoot, crawl, or walk. This means your baby can go and touch the things he or she wants to touch. After making sure there are no hot, sharp, or other dangerous things that can hurt your baby and no small objects that can be put in the mouth, let your baby explore the textures and surfaces of your home and yard.

Let your baby find out how that banana gets mushy on the highchair tray, and that ice cubes feel hard and cold. Find some sandpaper and let your baby rub a hand gently over its coarse surface, then move that hand to the smooth coolness of a stainless-steel sink.

Of course, your loving touch is still the most important touch your baby knows, so give your baby hugs and kisses each chance you get.

If You're Worried

You've probably addressed any concerns you've had about your baby's eyesight already. But be sure to talk with your doctor if you notice any problems, including:

  • eyes that always wander in or out or don't move together
  • an inability to see or recognize distant objects or people
  • regular tearing, discharge, crusting, or redness of eyes
  • frequent squinting or sensitivity to light
  • droopy eyelids
  • too much eye rubbing or scratching

If you're worried about how your baby hears, don't wait to tell your doctor, especially if you feel your baby is not babbling, imitating sounds, or responding to you or noises in the environment.

Back to Articles

Related Articles

Feeding Your 8- to 12-Month-Old

At this age, babies start to explore table foods.

Read More

Sleep and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old

Sleep problems are common in the second half of a baby's first year. It's best to respond to your baby's needs with the right balance of concern and consistency.

Read More

Your Child's Vision

It's important for kids to have their eyes examined regularly, as many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected and treated early.

Read More

Communication and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old

Babies this age might be about to say their first words, and communicate using body language. Read more about communicating with your baby.

Read More

Movement, Coordination, and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old

From scooting to crawling to cruising, during these months, babies are learning how to get around.

Read More

Your Baby's Growth: 8 Months

Your baby is growing by leaps and bounds, and may even be crawling or cruising. Here's what to expect this month.

Read More

Your Child's Growth

From the moment parents greet their newborn, they watch the baby's progress eagerly. But how can they tell if their child is growing properly?

Read More

Learning, Play, and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old

Your baby is learning more about the world through play and is beginning to use words. Keep those toys and games coming!

Read More

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and