I thought I’d dissect my ‘Don’t Bore Your Baby’ quilt© for clarification. Newborns can see contrasts and colors, but work on focusing and differentiating. If the baby’s surroundings do not have sufficient contrast and /or black and white, then the baby is not exercising his/her eyes as much as she/he could be. Many, many of the quilts, crib accessories and nurseries in the marketplace have colors and designs that the baby won’t benefit from or find interesting for months or even years. (And don’t get me started on the white nursery!) In my opinion, the nursery should be about the baby, not the parents. Or, at least, the play quilt, stroller quilt, etc. should be solely for the baby’s benefit.
There are purists who say the newborn should be surrounded by black and white, because that is the strongest contrast to attract the baby’s attention and assist in practicing focusing the eyes to work together. However, let’s face it, a black and white nursery would have a short life span and is not appealing for most people. Consequently, I use only some black and white in my baby quilts, as in the framing of the animal blocks in the above quilt. The new born will stare at this contrast. The baby can see colors, but cannot differentiate similar tones, such as red and orange, which are next to each other on the color wheel, for quite a while, so I use an accent fabric that has a white background. This fabric provides contrast, fine lines, and interest. In this case, all the animals can also be a source of discussion. For several months from two months old, she/he is working on differentiating colors and that is why the baby likes high contrast and primary colors.
This bicycle print is my favorite fabric for my ‘Don’t Bore Your Baby’ quilts© to date. This design allows the baby to focus on the fine details of the bikes before he/she can differentiate the different colors of the bikes. And, the older child will still love the quilt.
Here’s a different accent fabric. Here again, we have the black and white contrast. We also have some strong contrast between the white and the many colors of the giraffes. There are also some fine details to interest the baby. At around four months, you might find the baby picking at the giraffe, bike or animal figures, because she/he is beginning to develop depth perception and is trying to pick up the figure. So you can see, these quilts grow with the baby. (For further details regarding visual development, see the American Optometric Association.)
I’ve just discovered that there is a recent book: Bore Your Baby to Sleep by Howard Chilton. I have not read this book, only comments and reviews. This would seem to go against the grain of my quilt, but my take on the book is that it does not. I think ‘calm your baby to sleep’ might be more accurate, but again, I’ll get to reading this book. I would hate to bore my baby at any time, as I am a firm believer there is a fully developed human being/soul caught in a rather useless body. To have something to focus on in the evening, in their crib, will provide calming time to go to sleep. Also, my experience was that if the baby has something interesting to look at in the morning, she will entertain herself for a bit allowing a little desperately needed additional sleep for the parent.
I’ll admit, one can also compromise in the nursery by having all the items the baby has immediately in sight; ie, interior crib bumper (if using) and quilt for the baby’s eyes, and the exterior bumper and crib skirt in a fabric that is more appealing for the adult. I think kids rooms should be decorated for or by the kids, not decorated to match the rest of the house…but that’s just me.
Of course, I also used a colorful fish tank as a living mobile next to the crib, but that is another story. Happy Quilting.