Black and White for Babies

Black and White for Babies

This blog post is all about exploring black and white for babies.  It touches on why black and white products are beneficial for your little ones, when babies can start seeing colours and which types of products are great for encouraging newborn cognitive, physical and visual development.

1. How long does it take for babies to see colour?

Babies are unable to see colour as newborns.  A fact that was a surprise to me as an expectant parent!  Your baby will see the world in black and white for at least the first 3 months of their lives.  It's because of this, that black and white or high contrast patterns and shapes are recommended for newborn babies.  

It is worth noting that as their eyesight develops over their first few months of life, babies will start seeing shades of grey (no, not 50!), and bold geometric patterns, with the next recognisable colour being red.

2.  Why is black and white good for babies?

Giving your little one plenty of interesting black and white items to look at is a great way to help stimulate your baby's eye development and stimulate the development of the optic nerve. 

Items such as black and white board books, swaddles, flash cards or soft toys and soft books are all excellent options in encouraging baby's brain development in an age appropriate way without over stimulation.

There are 3 main ways in which black and white materials can be used to develop cognitive, physical and visual development in newborn babies.

  • Using a soft toy such as a cuddle cloth for tummy time encourages baby to reach for the comforter, thus encouraging physical development.  Similarly, hanging a toy from a mobile or arch of a baby mat can also be used to encourage physical movements.
  • Soft toys and books that have mirrors, crinkle sounds or bells will help aide cognitive development.  Baby will begin to learn cause and effect, for example that touching a crinkly ear on a teether or soft toy makes a sound.  Don't expect them to recognise their own face in a mirror until at least 18 months old though!
  • As newborn babies can only really focus on people or items around 8-11 inches away from them, a graphic, high contrast muslin cloth or swaddle on your person whilst feeding for example, is a great item for them to focus on.  Similarly, when baby is ready for tummy time, laying out a large black and white printed swaddle on the ground is great for them to focus on.


3.  Which black and white toys can I use?

Believe it or not, you don't only have to rely on black and white toys to help develop baby's vision.  Sustainable and simple methods are at your disposal by simply utilising things you have around your home! 

Sewing together scrap pieces of fabric, (that grotty 'white' t-shirt and those 'black' leggings that are turning slightly transparent for example), a white piece of paper and a black marker to draw simple shapes.  You get the picture.  

If you do prefer to buy black and white items, we'd always recommend natural products, so those made from organic cotton and natural materials.  The options are endless!  As baby gets older, you can begin to introduce other colours such as red, grey and yellow together with other graphic, high contrast prints and patterns and enjoy watching your little ones visual recognition develop!



Why not check out our gorgeous range of high contrast baby swaddles and baby comforters from Wee Gallery here.

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