Understanding the milestone
As babies’ eyesight develops, they are attracted to a myriad of objects- mostly moving, color contrasting – but prefer to look at human faces. Around this age, though things still appear blurry, they can look in a range of 8 to 12 inches. At 2 Months Baby ‘s Eye contact is a sign of progress in their neurological evolution, and also a step to deeper intimacy.
Now the baby knows how the faces of those enigmatic figures with the mellifluous voices really look like. He notices the facial expressions and understands them to be an outward indication of what you feel inside. He is well on the way to learn to mirror your reactions of mirth and produce them in himself- the beginning of empathy!
What to expect and when.
Researchers have discovered that babies can recognize eye contact even as early as 2 days post birth. Within 6 to 8 weeks averagely, they will initiate eye contact, though it is normal even in case they don’t until 3 months.
Around 3 to 4 months, their contact span will be a good five seconds, increasing with time. Your deep gaze can overwhelm junior! He is likely to turn away to avoid over stimulation. Give him time to build capacity for tolerance.
Help ‘em bloom.
When it comes to baby development play for a 2 month old, you can help them develop social behaviours through the regular social game itself. Pick and act upon his social cues, so he learns to pick up on yours. Be consistent and predictable in your responses – warm- as it will help him trust you, ‘attuned’, and feel secure with you.
They know of your importance in their lives, but it’s necessary that you help them feel how important they are to you. Cuddle and play frequently. Interact whenever dressing, bathing, feeding, etc. while trying to make eye contact. When responding joyously to his developmental progress, you stimulate his brain to release ‘happy’ hormones.
When you talk as you look at him and wait for his response, he notices how you pause to give him space to respond, and how then you respond to what he does. This is how he’ll learn the ‘back-and-forth’ of conversation. Do the same when reading or singing in a duet. He’ll eventually also learn that smiling is a way to socialize, to initiate an interaction.
When weary, hungry or unsettled, he is not likely to put up with you. He needs to be in repose, alert. You both can then develop mutual attention, where you both maintain eye contact.
What to not worry about
Don’t panic if he looks away. There are ample of distractions in the room
Remember temperament. Some kids are fast to try new skills. Some flow unrushed!
All milestones are average measures. They aren’t for diagnosis.
Autism scare is trending these days. While one of the indicators is a difference in eye contact from what is normal, such minute differences are only distinguishable by hi-tech detection devices. Note also, that a delay may indicate a vision problem. Or, there may be an attachment problem- they do not feel secure.
It is a justifiable concern if they lose previously mastered skills; also if they haven’t developed ‘joint attention’- the ability to follow your gaze (a cue) to look at something else.