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Newborn infants have unremarkable vision, being able to focus on objects only about 18 inches directly in front of their face. While this may not be much, it is all that is needed for the infant to look at the mother’s face when breastfeeding.

When a newborn is not sleeping, or feeding, or crying, he or she may spend a lot of time staring at random objects. Usually anything that is shiny, has sharp contrasting colors, or has complex patterns will catch an infant’s eye. However, the newborn has a preference for looking at other human faces above all else.

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Initial perceptual capacities at birth

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