Visual Stimulation for Newborns
The best visual stimulation for baby’s eyes.
The best way you as a parent can stimulate baby’s vision is using black and white stripes or light and dark contrasting colors. So what about those nice soft pastels that used to be so popular in baby toys and nurseries? While these may look pretty to you, they do nothing visually for your baby. Research has proven that black and white contrasts register powerfully on baby’s retina and send the strongest visual signals to baby’s brain. Stronger signals mean more brain growth and faster visual development. Surround a baby with soft pastel colors, and you might as well be blindfolding him. Surround your baby with black and white or light and dark pictures, and watch your baby’s eyes light up.
Visual play for you and your newborn baby.
Here are some fun and creative ways you can stimulate your newborn’s vision:
- Surround your baby’s bed with stripes – buy sheets, blankets, crib bumpers, pillowcases and wallpaper that have dark and light stripes.
- Surround baby’s play area with stripes – babies have what I like to call the “quiet alert state.” Baby is awake, eyes are open, and baby stares intently at whatever grabs her attention. This is the perfect time to place a black and white striped book, picture, or toy about 8 to 12 inches from baby’s face. Watch your baby fix on this and stare almost glued to it.
- Black and white or light and dark contrasting toys – mobiles, rattles, the first teddy bear, and other favorite toys will grab your baby’s attention better if they’re the right colors. Resist the pretty pale blue and green rattle and go for the black, white and red one!
- The right distance – your newborn can see clearly about 8 to 12 inches away. Whenever you interact with baby, whether it’s with a toy, your hand, or your face, try to stay within 12 inches.
- Great expectations – don’t expect your newborn baby to stare wide-eyed at you for hours on end. Babies spend most of their first weeks eating and sleeping. Take advantage of the quiet alert times and don’t waste them. Baby will love to fixate on your face, and will begin to focus on your eyes in the early weeks. After a month baby will even begin to follow you with her eyes as you slowly move from side to side.
- Dress the part – for those who want to take visual stimulation seriously, try to wear striped shirts as often as you can. Your baby’s eyes will thank you.
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