We just love bright colours at MGN, and naturally our Children’s wallpaper mural was always going to be a mass of bright colour stimuli. But when it comes to babies and their development of good vision, then bright colours are not the whole story – and it’s really fascinating to discover more.
As a parent myself I never really gave much thought to how I could help with the development and healthy vision of my own child, but so much more research and information is now available today. Proper stimulation can apparently increase curiosity, attention span, memory, and nervous system development.
In the first month of a newborn baby’s life they distinguish only very high contrast of light and dark as the baby’s retina is not fully developed. In fact, some parts of our mural illustration would be lost, as will pastel colours in general. Most colours will simple be seen as grey in these early weeks. It is therefore recommended to stimulate your babies brain with contrast of light and dark during these early days and weeks. We have found a lot of research online recommending stripes of light and dark colours for sheets, blankets and other babies things during this time. Stronger signals mean more brain growth and faster visual development.
Researchers also believe that a mother’s face is often so appealing to the baby for the very reason of this contrast of the mother’s hairline to her face. It is believed the contrast from hair to skin can offer that contrasting light and dark shade. And you were thinking it was your adorable features! In fact, your features will be hard to distinguish for some weeks and it is the contrast that appeals – sorry mom!
You may also notice that your baby has not quite perfected how to use their eyes in tandem, so they may wander a bit randomly or even cross now and then, which is perfectly normal.
Because of this lack of development of the retina it is also perfectly OK apparently to leave some lights on in the nursery as this won’t affect a newborns ability to sleep well. Your baby’s eyes are not very sensitive to light in the first month of life.
At around one month, although your baby will not be able to see far, they can start to focus on your face and see your features. Now they will start to be fascinated by your face.
You can test this new found focus if you place something with black and white stripes about 8 to 12 inches from baby’s face. Your baby should fix on this and stare almost glued to the contrast of the stripes.
In months two and three baby starts to develop much sharper vision and their eyes are beginning to move better together as a team. Now research suggest that bright colours play a crucial part in the development of good vision. Phew – those bright colours were not wasted after all. I was beginning to think we should have produced a black and white striped wallpaper mural! However, it seems that a bright, cheerful room with many colours and shapes helps stimulate your child’s vision development. It is recommended to decorate with bright colours and include artwork and furnishings with contrasting colours and shapes. Also to hang a brightly coloured mobile above or near their crib.
During these early months your baby is starting to learn how to shift their gaze from one object to another without moving their head. So in months two and three their eyes are becoming more sensitive to light. At 3 months old, an baby’s light detection threshold is only 10 times that of an adult. So now you might want to dim the lights a bit more to aid a restful sleep or nap.
We found some useful tips to help stimulate at 2 to 3 months (Optometric Association)
- Add new items to the baby’s room or frequently change the location of their cot or other existing items in the room.
- Talk to your baby as you walk around the room.
- Keep a night light on to provide visual stimulation when they are awake in their cot.
Our murals are currently exclusive to notonthehighstreet.com but check back soon for personalised previews available here.
At around nine months most baby’s eyes are almost at the level of an adult and they can see longer distances. In terms of eye colour then this is the stage when they are typically close to their final colour with only subtle changes appearing as they grow. Vision is now becoming sharper and they can pick out an object the size of a crumb. Your baby will soon start to point at toys and other objects nearby and reach out to grasp colourful objects. I know what this stage is like, and now as parents I also know you will need to start developing new eyes in the back of your head – to watch those tiny grasping hands as they reach for something they really shouldn’t be touching – crash! Whoops!