Why is black-and-white beneficial for the development of babies?

By Rom V. on behalf of OLLI+LIME.

Understanding color and how it works is not only important in graphic design. Knowing the way your baby’s brain is functioning through those early months is not an easy task, but you might already be aware that they respond to outer stimuli – especially shapes and colors.

Color is an expression of light. Various materials will reflect or absorb colors, which results in objects taking on a certain color to the human eye. With your newborn, things are much simpler. Your baby’s brain is young and growing. Infants are able to see only a certain range of colors and only within a short distance. Also, a busy pattern or strong colors can intimidate their young brain.

This is why black and white is a great choice for your baby nursery.

Black and white images combine these two shades in a continuous spectrum, producing a range of shades of gray. Over the time, various visual media began with black and while, however the technology improved and changed to color. Still, even to day, black and white is used in fine art photography. The reason for lies in the soothing, yet elegant, visage that the black and white scheme provides.

True black and whites are rare. Black is not visible on the color spectrum. It is the absence of light. Pure black exists in nature only during the total absence of light. White is sometimes considered to be a color, because the white hue comprises of all the hues that are visible on the color spectrum.

In a technical sense, black and white aren’t colors, they are shades. Shades that your baby will certainly enjoy to see as they gaze around their nursery while resting in their crib.

Baby Development in the early months

Every baby develops differently. This can depend on various elements connected with the baby’s development at birth, to the predispositions and genetics. It is never good to compare your child thoroughly with another, as you have to know that everyone is different.

It is important to know that the milestones that the American Academy of Pediatrics proposed for tracking baby development are simply guidelines.

As suck, milestones are behavioural or physical checkpoints in baby development that change as they grow. They represent core skills that the children should be reaching. Some will get there faster and some slower, but there is a general timeline within which your baby’s skills will expand and milestones be reached.

At the very beginning, when your little one is first introduced to their baby nursery it may seem that they are doing nothing else but sleep, eat, cry and repeat. With the occasional filling of their diapers. However, as you approach that end of the first month, things will change. Your baby will become more responsive to their surroundings, alert to the sounds and interested by the movements. With time your little one will start moving their body more and with greater coordination. You will soon notice that little hand going straight to their tiny mouth! Your baby will listen to you as you speak, observe your face when you hold them and move their own body to respond to you or attract attention.

Among the movement, hearing, smell and touch milestones, visual milestones are very important. While not every child will reach them at the same time, providing entertaining and visual stimulation to your baby is always advised.

Within the first month your baby would be able to focus their eyes on objects that are about 8-12 inches away – perfect for observing the bedding, patterned walls or cute wall art near their crib. Their eyes will wander around the room, exploring and sometimes crossing, but don’t worry! That is normal and temporary. Your baby will prefer seeing your face most of all, but after that they will look out for patters. And young babies have a preference for black and white patters, rather than bright colors.


The impact of Black and White on the development of your baby

Have you already noticed that your little one is attracted to patterns and books with black and white pictures?

Currently, many nurseries and practitioners confirm that babies are naturally attracted to high contrast patterns. They praise the benefits of black and white. This has led to many nurseries choosing to develop a fully black and white environment, while some are going for the neutral color scheme as a back drop for higher contrast items. This practise is leading to higher visual stimulation for developing infants and toddlers.

As we mentioned already, during the first month, and even the first year, of life, your baby’s vision is limited. They will respond to simple, bold patterns with high contrast. Black and white, rather than color.

Toys and decorations that are high contrast will captivate their attention better and serve to support their visual development, inviting babies to engage with them. They will offer stimulation that will keep them captivated for a short period of time – because, as you are no doubt aware of, your little one’s attention span is very short in the first year.

The visual contrast will encourage your baby to explore different patterns and textures. Along with that, strong black and white patterns will help your baby develop their ability to focus their attention and boost their levels of concentration.

Maybe the black and white color scheme will not always appeal to adults, but your newborn will enjoy it. Before your baby is born, they cannot tell the difference between dark and light. In the first weeks after birth, your baby’s vision is still developing – their eyes haven’t learned to work together but they are trying their hardest to! This will change over the next few months.

A few scientist have suggested that this limited vision and ability to see around feeding distance, is a biological trait that evolved to help babies feel safe and secure with their parent – while also limiting the sensory input of the wider world. This would go hand to hand with your baby disliking busy patterns and strong colors and opting to be interested in gentler patterns with the combinations of black and white.

Your baby’s color perception is limited at birth. While there is not enough scientific evidence as to what color our little babies can see, there is a wide agreement that they first see black, white and shades of grey. The contrast of black and white will make a certain object easier for your baby to detect.

This is a perfect reason to set up a black and white play area for your baby, or incorporate different black and white patterns and accessories in your baby’s nursery room. A wide range of visual stimulation and play opportunities will lead to a greater ability to learn.

Black and white and Cognitive Development

Throughout the first months, your baby’s brain changes. As a result of that, our patterns will look different to your baby week to week as it grows, giving them endless entertainment.

Every part of your baby nursery design is important – from the colors that you use, to the patterns, to the placement and spacing between each shape, as your baby will react to all of it. Babies have to learn how to see. By using their eyes they develop the critical eye to brain connections. These connections enable them to see the world clearer and eventually in the wonderful Technicolor.

The world will provide a great mix of stimulation for your little one, allowing their cognitive development. Using products that have been designed to visually attract a young infant brain would be ideal. Our black and white patterns are created with your baby’s sense in mind. They will provide visual interest and help the connections between the eye and the brain thanks to the black and white combinations.

As your baby grows and becomes more aware of their surroundings, they will entertain themselves while looking out of their crib. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the things that are in their vicinity are comprised of gentle, but stimulating, black and white patterns that they are sure to love?

Black and White and Visual Development

With the growth of your baby, you will notice how their attention is drawn away from your face and to objects in their surroundings. They will focus on the world around them, for example: black and white books with simple lines and bold patterns. They are easier for babies to see.

Bold images stand out from the rest of the world.

Black and white toys, books, bedding, wall art, they will all stand out to your baby and give them a chance to see clearer and experience part of the wider world. High-contrasting black and white images with sharp outlines would be much easier to see for a baby that is in their first few months of life as their eyesight is still developing. Their retina can only detect extreme contrasts between light and dark, or black and white.

How to best stimulate your baby?

With black and white stripes and light and dark contrasting colors. Even though the pastels are soft, pretty looking and very popular in nursery rooms, they will not do much for the visual stimulation of your baby. Your baby needs a higher contrast that will send strong visual signals to your baby’s brain and encourage their visual development.

Stronger signals mean more brain growth and faster development! So, what are you waiting for? Surround your baby with eye-catching black and white patterns from our huge collection!