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For your baby, it really is all black & white

Did you know that even in the womb babies can tell the difference between light and dark? Soon after birth, your baby can see shapes (or the lines where the light and dark meet), but lucky for new parents, they will prefer looking at familiar faces. Since newborns can barely see beyond 15-30cm, mom or dad's face is the perfect distance from theirs during feeding.

It won't be until your baby is a little older (around 2 months) that he will see his first primary colour, red. So until then, it's best to provide them with high-contrast, black-and-white images to exercise their eye muscles, help them focus and lengthen their attention span. 

Here's why your baby will benefit from black-and-white images:

  • Bold black-and-white images stimulate the optic nerves which are still underdeveloped 
  • It encourages brain development without over-stimulation
  • Engagement with contrasting images boosts babies focus and can help extend their tummy time
  • Gross motor skills rely on your baby's ability to distinguish shapes, estimate the distance and coordinate their muscles to move correctly to reach something 
  • Proper stimulation can increase curiosity and memory

To your baby, everything is new and exciting. And your baby’s vision is one of the most important links to their new world but there are many ways that you can incorporate visual stimulation in your daily rhythm.

Face-to-face play time

Simply looking into your baby’s eyes and them looking back is a big step in their visual development.  You can smile at him or make a funny face. He will enjoy the novelty and look at your features such as your lips and eyebrows.

Tummy time

Place black-and-white cards in front of your baby during tummy time (1-5 minutes on the floor per day is sufficient for newborns).  As your baby gets stronger, put the card book in front of them, so they practice lifting their neck and chin.

Changing table or crib visual cards

Create a fun layout on the wall next to your baby’s crib, changing table and anywhere else your baby spends time. Make sure you swap sides so the baby can practice looking left & right which will also help prevent flat head syndrome.

Bold fashion

Let them wear black-and-white mittens for short periods during the day. Hand discovery is an essential step on the path to hand control and they will enjoy the bold contrast.

Your baby's eyes are still "learning" to see and sometimes the muscles aren't coordinated. This can result in your baby looking a little cross eyed. But if you notice a considerable and persistent difference, chat to your paediatrician on your next visit. Here is a great video demonstrating how well your baby can see at different ages.

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