Has a baby ever challenged you to a staring contest? OK, maybe not an official contest — but it can feel a little like it nonetheless. They’re so young, so what could possibly have them so captivated?

Or maybe you’ve noticed a baby staring into space or at something inanimate. (And don’t forget the age-old attention-stealing trick known by moms everywhere: The ceiling fan.)

These are all good signs that a baby is learning and developing their cognitive skills.

Babies go through major periods of growth within their first few months of life. They’re curious about the world, and everything is new to them. They want to interact with people and be social.

Your baby may be staring as an early form of communication between them and the huge world around them.

Here are five reasons why your baby may be staring at you or into space.

A baby may be staring at you because they think you’re beautiful. We’re not kidding!

A decades-old experiment found that newborns and young infants spent more time staring at faces that adults deemed attractive. The study consisted of images (chosen by adults) of faces that are considered beautiful and others that are considered less attractive. The results showed that the babies stared at the pictures of the “beautiful” faces longer.

We do want to add: Our features make us unique, but here at Healthline it is our firm belief that all humans are beautiful. You might have interesting or distinct facial features if you find a baby staring at you — babies have no clue what society’s standards of beauty are.

Sometimes babies gaze their eyes on an item with outstanding features such as glasses, earrings, or colorful hair. Different patterns, textures, and accessories may catch a baby’s attention. It’s important for babies to see different things while their brain is rapidly growing.

Babies typically start to catch on to movement by around 3 months old. This may cause them to space out and stare. You may notice this if you take them outside or have a ceiling fan.

Sensory movement is a key part of helping babies’ brains develop. This is one reason why mobiles are so effective — they can have an almost hypnotizing effect. That said, you may notice your baby sometimes turning away from moving objects if they need to refocus their attention.

A part of vision development in babies and young children is the introduction to bright colors. Different color categories that contrast each other are also important. You may notice your baby staring at something as simple as furniture or books if the colors draw their attention.

Babies develop many different skills within their first years of life. Sometimes a baby staring might mean that they’re working extra hard to get their brain developed and growing.

A child’s brain is already 90 percent developed by the time they reach 6 years old. Babies can learn so much by simply observing the environment that they are in.

You’ll notice a lot of changes in your baby’s personality within their first year. Babies observe everything around them, and staring is one piece of evidence that their brain is working hard to grow.

As always, if you have any concerns about your baby’s staring — or any behavior — consult your pediatrician.