20 answers

Baby Stares into Space

My son is 8 wks old and since he was about 3 wks old, he stares off into space a lot. He smiles, laughs and is starting to coo and interact with me a good bit, but there are times when he stares past me (or whoever) at the ceiling. When he is doing this he does not respond to anything else. You can put something in his line of sight and move it around but he doesn't seem to see it. If I move him he just turns his head to continue to stare in the same direction. I know I've heard that symptoms resembling these are signs of autism in toddlers, but I don't know about infants. I hope I am overreacting, but I am a new mom. Is this normal? any help would be greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone for their advice. I spoke to his ped. about it and he agreed to help me keep an eye out for him. He seems to be growing out of it, though, and rarely does it anymore.

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I honestly belive that children really do see things that we can not. It doesn't matter what we were raised to believe in or try to deny. My son did the same thing from time to time. Now he is almost 4 and still does it but he can talk now and when I ask him who he is talking to or looking at he says it is ronnie, who is my husband's uncle, who has passed. The thing is he only saw ronnie we he was a baby and not old enough to remember who he is.

Both of my kids went through this stage and they are now perfectly normal at 9 & 6. I always just said they were looking at their angel. You never know, maybe they are. I have seen other babies do it too. I don't think you have anything to worry about.

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Hello S.,

Good for you to be asking the question! I don't want to scare you or alarm you unnecessarily, but my son did this also. He still does at times. He is 8 now and was diagnosed with autism at 2 1/2. I write you only to say, watch him carefully and watch his development closely, but lovingly.

Here are some things you should watch for if you are remotely concerned about autism, as well you should be, since the best predictor for recovery is early identification and early intervention. Autism effects 1 out of every 166 children. It is more prevalent in boys, ratio is 3:1.

Unfortunately, the doc's will probably tell you what they told me. "Don't stress mom! You are just a new mom/paranoid... etc" It wasn't until the magical age of 2 1/2 that they said the word autism... time was unnecessarily wasted because I had concerns and questions for over a year prior to his official diagnosis.

Here is some "Red Flags", think of this often while watching his development.

In clinical terms, there are a few “absolute indicators,” often referred to as “red flags,” that indicate that a child should be evaluated. For a parent, these are the “red flags” that your child should be screened to ensure that he/she is on the right developmental path. If your baby shows any of these signs, please ask your pediatrician or family practitioner for an immediate evaluation:

No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
No babbling by 12 months
No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
No words by 16 months
No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age
*This information has been provided by First Signs, Inc. ©2001-2005. Reprinted with permission. For more information about recognizing the early signs of developmental and behavioral disorders, please visit http://www.firstsigns.org or the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/actearly.
www.AutismSpeaks.com has a wonderful website that gives you typical developmental milestones, red flags, etc. It's a great resource!

Also, make sure that he is healthy when receiving vaccines and that the vaccines are Thimerasol free, Thimerasol is a preservative in vaccines which is MERCURY and is toxic to neurodevelopment.

Good Luck,
C. Davenport
Mom to Autistic 8 yr. old and Autism/Disability Advocate

1 mom found this helpful

I would definitely get a referral to a pediatric neurologist. It may be that this is only a coping factor when he's experiencing over-stimulation, but if the problem is greater, the sooner the help comes, the better. Remember, you know your baby better than anyone else, and 99% of the time, the mother is aware of the problem first. Let us know how things go--we're here for you!

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds like he is having petite mal seizures. You should take him to your doctor. L

I think all babies do this to some extent. They're just not adjusted yet to the whole sight thing!
If you're worried about autism then I would look into getting immunizations without mercury in them, since that seems to be the leading cause of autism in children. Particularly the MMR shot, which is given a lot in the first year.
I wouldn't worry for now, though. As long as he is responding to you sometimes, I think he's perfectly normal!

Both of my kids went through this stage and they are now perfectly normal at 9 & 6. I always just said they were looking at their angel. You never know, maybe they are. I have seen other babies do it too. I don't think you have anything to worry about.

S., I am no docotr, but at this age I think this is normal matter a fact I have seen many infants do that. They get ther little eyes on something and it is as though they are studing it really hard and nothing will get there eyes off of it. I really don't think it is something to worry about.


I would not get upset at this time. As he is so new to being here in the world and is experiencing different things. He may just be getting use to being able to see and trying to focus. My daughter had a lamp that she loved to stare at the light and she also stared at the ceiling fan, even when it was off. So he is probably just fine and adjusting to this new place he is living in now.

I dont know about autism, but I do know that my 3 year old daughter did this for a long time, and she was finally diagnosed with seizures. Now granted she has many other health problems which are terminal, but they told me that they are focal seizures. At that age I dont know if this would be the case or not, but I would definitely mention it to the pediatrician, and also keep a calender with the date, number of times a day, and how long the baby does this before he begins interacting again. This is how my daughter was diagnosed because her EEG was totally normal.
hope this helps, but doesnt alarm you at the same time.

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