High contrast books for babies have become more and more popular and with great reason! The best thing you can do to visually stimulate your baby’s vision and brain growth is to use black and white stripes or light and dark contrasting colors for at least the first 3 months. In addition, it won’t hurt to include them for 6 months. Study after study proves that babies prefer looking at high contrast colors over everything else.
How to Use High Contrast Books and Items For Babies in the Beginning:
- Due to an underdeveloped retina, keep objects and your face around 8-10 inches from the baby’s face, so the baby can focus in as best as possible.
- Black, white and red is the best to use on EVERYTHING. According to research, pastels are a waste of time, especially in the beginning.
- You can and should consider high contrast for your clothes, the baby’s toys, books, the mobile, crib bedding, room decor, blankets, items that you put around the car seat, and footsies. Preferably dark and light stripes.
- The movements of people and objects should be repetitious and slow and graceful.
- Use these items during the time you play and give attention to your baby. If they start to fuss, it means they’re tired of it, and you can try again later or tomorrow. Don’t overstimulate before nap time.
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What Are the Benefits of High Contrast Books For Babies?
#1. Brain Development:
Newborns’ brains contain very little myelin. Myelin is the protective covering that surrounds fibers in the brain called axons. Their main function is to protect and insulate the axons and enhance their transmission of electrical impulses. They are the reason babies process information slower than adults. Most areas of the brain begin adding myelin in the first 2 years of life in the areas that receive the first input from the eyes, ears, nose, skin, and mouth. Source
#2. Eye Development:
Bold black-and-white images stimulate the development of the optic nerves. Focusing on such visual stimuli trains newborns’ vision, teaching the eye muscles and brain to coordinate and function properly. Consequently, research has proven that black and white contrasts register powerfully on baby’s retina and send the strongest visual signals to a baby’s brain. Stronger signals mean more brain growth and faster visual development.
If you provide continuous visual input into baby’s eyes, the retina strengthens, the optic nerve grows, and the visual part of a baby’s brain thrives and develops significantly. Source
#3. Improved Attention Span:
The repeated sight of appropriate objects will help to increase your baby’s attention span. If your baby is able to focus on one object, information about that object gets to the cortex. Coincidentally, this will form a pathway for stimulating brain growth. Source
#4. Enhances Their Tracking Abilities:
Tracking is when your baby moves his eyes to follow an object. Tracking helps your baby to learn where an object is in space and how it differs from its background so that he can reach for it. He discovers that objects have permanence by seeing that they move, yet remain the same. Since you are using high contrast which the baby prefers, the baby will more likely follow the object for longer periods of time with ease.
To start with move objects left to right. Near 3 months, you can start to move objects up and down. Once your baby masters following these movements, the last directions to try are horizontal tracking skills.
#5. Extends Tummy Time:
When parents place high contrast objects around the baby during tummy time, the child focuses on the objects for longer periods of time and stays content. In addition, you can open the books to Baby’s favorite pages and stand them up around Baby during tummy time.
#6. A Content Baby
Last but not least, when you are intentional about using black, white and red items you will find that your baby is content in their environment. This is because they are soothed by the high-interest contrast that holds their attention. Above all, research has shown that these color patterns cause babies to relax. Keep high contrast items in your diaper bag to bring out during long waits and in the car for longer trips.
The Best High Contrast Books For Babies and Some Other Goodies to Go the Extra Mile
We personally used high contrast books for babies and other black and white items with our children, we give them as gifts and have recommended them to expectant friends. The choices below are from all of those involved. We used the items below throughout our children’s first year. Let it be known that I am an Amazon Affiliate.
The first 3 are the best black and white books for newborns.
This black and white book for infants folds out accordion style and is great for tummy time.
Finger Puppets are a HIT for a long time! We still use ours.
Importantly, reading nursery rhymes helps to stimulate a babies interest in sounds, and to develop listening skills. Additionally, singing the nursery rhymes helps to develop early language skills, and strengthens the emotional bond between a parent and their baby.
Particularly, I love Manhattan Toys, and this mat is a must. We used it on the seat in the car for Baby to stare at from car seat. Not to mention, this mat has a hidden mirror for a peek-a-boo effect, along with a teether, squeaker, crinkle paper, and jiggle pull ring and 2 magnets for attaching to magnetic surfaces!
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As you can see, there are many benefits to using high contrast books for babies along with all the other cool items that are now offered to parents. Now it is up to you to choose some items for your baby. Add all of these items to your baby registry. Ultimately, it is up to you to be intentional about using them. So your baby can reap the advantages and thrive and develop by leaps and bounds.
Furthermore, I encourage you to read 10+ Best Board Book Genres For 0-1-Year-Olds to have a full grasp on the books that will make the most impact with your child the first year. Make the most of your time with your baby by using what works.
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Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours! Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS