Your Baby's vision - it's eye-opening
Have you ever seen a brand new litter of baby puppies trying to navigate their environment with their eyes closed? Their eyes are still developing and require the protection of the eyelids for a bit longer. Like those adorable puppies, our newborns' eyes are also developing; however, they continue to grow and mature without being sealed closed.
At birth, your baby only sees black, white, and shades of gray. However, at one week after birth they can see red, orange, yellow, and green. It takes them a bit longer to see blue and purple. By age 5 to 6 months, your child will be able to see all the colors of the rainbow.
When we think of nurseries, we tend to think of pastels, but those are not naturally stimulating colors for your baby’s vision. Decorate baby's room with bright, cheerful primary colors that are more stimulating. This is also true for baby toys and the reason that the Our First Year team has chosen toys that are bright and colorful - to stimulate a baby’s vision. This is also the rationale behind our black, gray and red backpack.
So, let's get to the science that backs up these vision claims...
The visual system of a newborn infant takes some time to develop. In the first week of life, babies don't see much detail. People probably look similar to a Picasso masterpiece, rather than a Rembrandt. Baby's first view of the world is indistinct and only in shades of gray (no, moms, we are not referring to that book, just the color). Like those little puppies, it takes several months for your child's vision to fully develop. In addition to lack of color, babies cannot see objects far away. Their primary focus is on objects 8 to 10 inches from their face or the distance to a parent's face. As their color vision begins to develop, babies will see red first. Not to worry, they will see the full spectrum of colors by the time they reach five months of age.
Despite these visual limitations, studies show that within a few days after birth, infants prefer looking at an image of their mother's face to that of a stranger. Congratulations, your baby is already starting to bond with you!!! Infants start to develop the ability to see in color very quickly. Soon they will be able to see all the colors in the spectrum and not only the contrasting colors of red, black, gray, and white.
To help stimulate your infant's vision, decorate their room with bright, cheerful colors. Include artwork and furnishings with contrasting colors and shapes. Also, hang a brightly colored mobile in their crib. We understand that the shabby chic neutral decor may be à la mode according to the latest interior design magazine, but this is not the case for your baby. Your baby is naturally drawn to the bright colors.
While infants should be placed on their backs to sleep to decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), put them on their stomachs when they are awake and you can supervise them. This provides important visual and motor experiences. A colored mobile that contains a variety of colors and shapes placed above or near their crib is most interesting for baby.
According to Angela M. Brown (Development of Visual Sensitivity to Light and Color Vision in Human Infants: A Critical Review), color vision improves greatly over the first three postnatal months, and the typical 3-month old has at least some color vision. It is not until around the fifth month that the eyes are capable of working together to form a three-dimensional view of the world and begin to see in depth. Although an infant's color vision is not as sensitive as an adult's, it is generally believed that babies have good color vision by five months of age. By 6 months of age, color vision should be similar to that of an adult, enabling your child to see all the colors of the rainbow.
Moms, Dads, and other caretakers, before you purchase that trendy pastel plush toy, blanket, or other accessories, please remember that contrasting and bright colors are more visually stimulating for baby. Instead, opt for the Our First Year backpack, that is chock-full of brightly colored toys with a purpose. For more information on how to stimulate your
baby's vision, check out the activity cards that accompany each toy...it's all in the bag!