When you go to pretty much any baby shop, you’ll find a wide selection of toys and nursery goods. Most of these will be either brightly coloured or styled according to the latest trends in pastel colours for babies. What you usually won’t find is a large variety of black and white baby gear. The thing is though, black and white is best for newborn sight and here’s some proof.
Babies need early visual stimulation
By studying children that had cataracts as infants, Lewis and Maurer (2009) demonstrated that early visual stimulation, including exposure to high-contrast patterns immediately after birth, is necessary to enable vision to develop normally later on.
Babies need black and white pictures
Extensive research has shown that babies up to 6 months of age prefer to look at high-contrast shapes and that the best such images are black and white (Frantz, Ordy and Udelf, 1962; Bower and Lunde, 1977; Salapatek and Kessen, 1966; Chaze and Ludington-Hoe, 1984). Indeed, newborns can see very little colour (some green, yellow and red) and can only distinguish colours from grey under some circumstances (Adams, Maurer and Davis, 1986).
Babies need black and white pictures early on
Taking these two pieces of information, it becomes obvious that newborns and babies up to 6 months of age need to be shown high-contrast, black and white images in order for their sight to develop properly.
Black and white images do more than promote good vision
Scientists have also found that showing black and white pictures to newborns increases curiosity, concentration and attention and stimulates brain cell connections. This leads to an increased sense of self, more confidence and increased creativity (Why Babies Love Black and White, 2012). Fixating on black and white pictures also helps develop a baby’s ability to learn (Ludington-Hoe et al., 1985).
So, one of the best things you can do for the newborn in your life is to provide Bub with regular access to black and white images.
Free black and white images for the newborn in your life
Now you know how important black and white images are for newborns, why not get some free black and white pictures for the newborn in your life.
- Adams, R.J., Maurer, D. and Davis, M. (1986) “Newborns’ discrimination of chromatic from achromatic stimuli,” J Exp Child Psychol, 41, pp. 267-81. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0022096586900408
- Bower, T.G.R. and Lunde, D.T. (1977) A primer of infant development. San Francisco: W.H.Freeman & Co. Find it here: http://www.worldcat.org/title/primer-of-infant-development/oclc/2373078
- Chaze, B.A. and Ludington-Hoe, S.M. (1984) “Sensory Stimulation in the NICU,” AJN, American Journal of Nursing, 84(1), pp. 68–71. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3463253?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
- Frantz, R.L., Ordy, J.M. and Udelf, M.S. (1962) “Maturation of pattern vision in infants during the first six months,” Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 55(6), pp. 907–917 Available at:https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232532789_Maturation_of_pattern_vision_in_infants_during_the_first_6_months
- Lewis, T.L. and Maurer, D. (2009) “Effects of early pattern deprivation on visual development,” Optometry and Vision Science, 86(6), pp. 640–646. Available at: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.597.3989&rep=rep1&type=pdf
- Ludington-Hoe, S., Golant, S.K., Hoe-Ludington, S. and Ludinton-Hoe, S. (1985) How to have a smarter baby. New York: Rawson Associates.
- Salapatek, P. and Kessen, W. (1966) “Visual scanning of triangles by the human newborn,” Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 3(2), pp. 155–167. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/17247311_Visual_scanning_of_triangles_by_human_newborn
- Why babies Love Black and white (2012) Available at: http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/932/blackandwhite–informationfor0-3.pdf (Accessed: 9 March 2017).