My baby won't look at me-- What's wrong? - Mothering Forums
Life With a Baby > My baby won't look at me-- What's wrong?
Free Thinker's Avatar Free Thinker 04:22 PM 06-07-2003
My DH and I are starting to get a little concerned w/ our DD b/c she won't look at anyone in the face. If you get down and look at her, she will turn her head most of the time. Sometimes she will look at us, and play a bit, but then she turns her head after a minute or two. If you move around to get in her line of vision again, she will reapeatedly turn her head away. Babies are supposed to like looking at faces Has anyone else had a baby that just would NOT look at you? She won't pay attention to any toys much either. She will watch the TV, and likes the Baby Mozart video we have for her. She seems to watch it very well for 15 minutes or so. She will sometimes watch the mobile on her swing, too. I know babies don't have the best eye sight, and I'm pretty sure she can see okay. Can she be exhibiting signs of autism, or some other type of problem already? Does she have a short attention span when it comes to people talking to her? Other people have noticed this problem, too, so it's not just us being over-conscience parents. Any advice, or solutions would be greatly appreciated!

lilyka's Avatar lilyka 04:52 PM 06-07-2003
My baby did this. She eventually warmed up to us. Was your baby in the Nicu at all? In the end t turns out Madeline has Sensory integration Disorder. She also had other things though. she didn't like to be held, even to nurse. we had to set alarms to feed her and then work very hard to get her to nurse. she ate for 15 minutes every 4 hours. She also slept a lot. almost 22 hours a day at first and even up to a year more than her peers. It is also possible that she is just very sensitive and is getting overstimulated easily.

It is worth getting it checked out. SID is easy treated with ocupational therapy (very playful gentle stuff from what I hear - we can't afford treatment for dd but she copes pretty well) If you are planning on shots I would recommend waiting until you have checked out SID. DD had horrible reactions and I am convinced it was becuase of her SID (I have a whole log theory but i won't bore you here )

Funny you mentioned the TV. It is like a drug for dd. from the time she was a newborn she was fixated on it. I couldn't even nurse with it on because shehave to look at it and then couldn't eat. now she can't walk into a rom with a tv on without becoming completely absorbed in it. if I want to have any chance of communicating with her it has to be off and behind closed doors.
Free Thinker's Avatar Free Thinker 05:00 PM 06-07-2003
No, she wasn't in ICU, or anything, She roomed in w/ me one night at the hospital, and has been with me ever since. We aren't haveing trouble nursing, but she doesn't like to be held close that much. She would rather face out, and look around at other things besides me She is warming up to the sling, and I think she might actually kind of like it now. It's just getting her to look at us: It's like she is totally disinterested.
PumpkinSeeds's Avatar PumpkinSeeds 07:39 PM 06-07-2003
My ds never looked at me either, even when nursing. Finally he snapped out of it, I don't exactly remember when, but it took a long time like several months.

He is a completely normal 2 year old now....
*Lisa*'s Avatar *Lisa* 07:54 PM 06-07-2003
It took a while before DD REALLY looked at us--I thought it was kind of strange, too, but there is nothing wrong with her. I think it's just that the babies' eyesight is poor. At this point, your baby's probably really attracted by major contrasts and movement (like the tv). DD was looking at us a long time before she was really interested in toys, too--it just takes a while for them to get used to their little bodies (and hands!). I'd bet you don't have anything to worry about at all, but it can never hurt to ask a doctor or somebody if you're really worried.
lilyka's Avatar lilyka 11:30 PM 06-07-2003
Oh well it sounds like she is just really intrested in everything else.
captain optimism's Avatar captain optimism 01:40 AM 06-08-2003
Another reason she might look away: babies find looking at faces very stimulating. They turn away to self-regulate. It can look like flirting. My baby will look, smile, and sometimes laugh, and then look away or hide his face. That behavior is normal. (I discussed this with a child psychologist who was visiting us socially.) And you know, a lot of adults do this too.

If you are really worried, you can bounce this off of a pediatrician or another experienced parent.
wombat's Avatar wombat 11:24 AM 06-08-2003
I wouldn't worry yet but just mention it at your next well baby check. I agree with lilyka and captainoptimism - all babies are different and some babies don't like as much stimulation as others. The fact that she does like to look at some things, even for a short time, is reassuring. My dd doesn't like to be held too much or slinged too much. I gotta hold her to BF but when we were on bottles, sometimes dh had to put her in the bouncer to feed her cause she fussed and squirmed so much. She also seems to prefer looking at the tv to nursing sometimes.
fullofhope's Avatar fullofhope 03:28 PM 06-08-2003
free thinker- it's great that you know your little one so well. I'm sorry, though, that you have to go through this worry! I agree with everyone here that it's just too early to know for sure, she could just be sensitive. As she grows, you'll have a better idea if it's something that needs to be looked into further. Trust your instincts, though- things like Asperger's (mild autism) and SID are better delt with early, before the age of 10, when the mind and muscles are more malleable.

lilyka- Is Madeline in public school? If she is, and has been diagnosed with SID, she is entitled to OT (occupational therapist) services at the school district's expense. You'd probably have to fight for it, they don't like to give it, but it is within your child's rights. (I'm a special ed teacher and recently helped a 5th grader qualify- he now goes to OT twice a week after school, plus she consults with his teacher on how she can help him.) Let me know if you want more detail on the laws, how to go about approaching the school, etc, or any good excercises to help kids with this.

to all of you
jackson's mama's Avatar jackson's mama 04:19 PM 06-08-2003
When Jackson was about 6 weeks old, I could have made the exact same post!! I was expectantly waiting for the social smile, and my baby wouldn't even look at me! I would try to get into his line of sight, and he would immediately look elsewhere. It made me so sad, I thought for sure my baby would always hate me .

But right around 7 weeks, he started showing more interest in me. Now, at 10 weeks, he stares deep into my eyes and smiles.... joy at last!!

I see from your signature that your baby is right around Jackson's age. Give it a few more weeks. I'm sure that soon your face will be the light of your baby's life .
Cajunmomma's Avatar Cajunmomma 04:41 PM 06-08-2003
Free Thinker, we had the same problem with our littlest one. She wouldn't make eye contact with us for the longest time. She also didn't nurse and slept most of the time when she was a newborn. I was really concerned about it and even mentioned it to our pediatrician, but he didn't seem to be very worried. I was concerned about a lot of things with her development (I guess once you start worrying, everything seems like a problem. ).

She's 2 now, really starting to talk and makes eye contact with us all the time. In fact, she'll even turn your head to her if you ignore her. She still doesn't like strangers, though, and will rarely smile or talk in front of anyone other than our immediate family.

I don't know if hearing stories that seem to have worked out well consoles you, but I think that most often things work out. Keep trying with your little one, and don't give up.
lexbeach's Avatar lexbeach 05:00 PM 06-08-2003
Well I don't know exactly how old your dd is, but her behavior sounds like completely normal 0-3 month-old behavior. When she turns away it is because she is over-stimulated. Instead of trying to get her to look back at you, or moving to her other side, wait for her to turn back to look at you. Turning the head away is a baby's way of saying "I need a break!" It is possible that your dd could be more easily over-stimulatedd than other babies you've known, or your friends' babies. I wouldn't worry about it at all. In a couple of months you'll probably be wishing that she'd turn her head away from you every once in a while, lol! I swear, somedays I feel like I'm just getting stared at all day long!

Also, I know that letting babies watch videos is pretty controversial, and I don't mean to start a debate, but I always feel like I have to say something about it. When babies watch tv/videos it can really be detrimental to their development b/c the tv/video does not interact with them. If your baby was looking at you and smiled, you would smile back excitedly and thus give dd a reward for interacting with you. If your baby was looking at the tv and smiled, the tv would not respond. Since you already feel you are having trouble getting dd to interact with you, you may want to consider cutting out the tv/video time.

Best of luck with your new babe!

mamawanabe's Avatar mamawanabe 09:55 PM 06-08-2003
I was worried about my friend's baby when he was a couple months old becuase he wouldn't focus on faces either - though he would focus on the ceiling fan, which he found facinating. Kid is 3 now and just a smart, loving, perfect little boy. So I think you're fine.
Free Thinker's Avatar Free Thinker 12:11 AM 06-09-2003
Thanks so much for all of the responses!!!! I'm not near as concerned if it is just normal behavior for some babies. My DH is a little shy, so maybe she is too. She seems worse after I take her to my parents for the day, so maybe she is just over stimulated, and needs a break
CollegeMama's Avatar CollegeMama 11:22 AM 06-09-2003
I agree with Captain Optimism and the others, when a young baby looks at a face, it's like a shot of espresso! Their heart-rate actually increases. She's probably just over-stimulated.
My DS did this also...I can't remember the age when he was able to look at us for longer stretches, but it'll be coming soon.

cinnamonamon's Avatar cinnamonamon 02:52 AM 06-10-2003
ditto all the rest!! your little one will look at you soon. those moments/minutes of deep eye contact will be that much more special when she does.
Mandy Lonergan's Avatar Mandy Lonergan 03:43 AM 01-28-2014

Hi there, Just wondering how your little one went? Did they eventually start looking at you? My baby sounds EXACTLY the same as your description. Would love to know the in's and out's of your experience if you are willing to share?

Thanks so much, Mandy - I'm not sure how to check back here but my email is [email protected] if you are happy to email. Thanks you 

Elaine Rose 12:04 PM 08-07-2014
trinitysmama14 05:16 AM 09-22-2014
My Daughter is a month and three weeks old. She looks in my face every once in awhile. When feeding, but sometimes more than none she doesnt. She really actually puts effort into not looking at us. I just played with her for thirty min and her head was to the side eyes close. I pleaded "look at me!!!" lol. and she down right refused, eyes still closed lol. She doesnt smile or laugh yet. she does in her sleep tho? Ahhhh just a worried mother lol