A young baby is aware of a lot more then we used to think in the past. In fact some of the capabilities of very young children are astonishing. In the “Good Old Days” people thought that a newborn was almost blind. They thought a baby couldn’t focus and was more or less colorblind. Meaning that a newborn is only aware of a fuzzy colorless world. We know now that this is not the case.
A newborn is not that little being focused only on himself and his own needs, like hunger, thirst, and other discomfort. From day 1 a newborn is fairly alert, interested and aware of what is happening in his surroundings. He is capable of experiencing and very interested about what is going on is his world. Contrary to old beliefs a baby is able to focus on objects and people that are about 10 inches away. Things that are closer of further away are out of focus, if this were different our newborn would be highly intimidated by the multitude of stimuli. If a child can see color from the moment its born is still unknown, but chances are that he can. And if not he or she will learn in a very short while.
A natural preference for faces
So your baby sees the same things you see, but of course has no idea about its meaning. That’s something he has to learn. Still very young children have a clear cut preference for certain objects. He or she will stare (or gaze if you will) to more complicated and will show more interest to moving then to static objects. This is one of the reasons your face is so enormously interesting to him. The eye contact that he is capable of during the first few days is very important for the development of his social skills.
Your baby is programmed so to speak to find your face attractive and inviting. As his interest in your face grows, his interest in the rest of the human species will grow with it.
It takes about 8 months before your baby is really capable of recognizing your face, at that point he or she will temporarily be scared by unfamiliar faces.