Naptime Project: High-Contrast Buntings

"Nap when your baby naps." That's common knowledge and common sense and new moms would be wise to follow said advice. But did I mention that I've a recovering workaholic? It's hard for me to use daylight hours for sleeping.

Today's nap time project was inspired by this space: the empty space between the changing table and the gallery wall.

When decorating the nursery/playroom, the tendency is to decorate for Mommy, a natural effect of having an absentee client, him being in utero and all. Colors are chosen from Mom's preferred palette; decor is based on Mom's theme of choice; art is hung at an adult's eye level. And while I do love looking at the gallery wall, I've realized that it'll be a while before Baby J gets to appreciate the art that I so carefully chose "for him". 

I've read a bit about the benefits of exposing infants to high-contrast patterns and prints. Studies show that, because of their developing eyesight, from 0-3 months, babies can only see objects that are 8-10 inches away from their eyes. These objects must also preferably be high contrast—black on white or white on black—which is what they are best able to focus on. So, sorry, Moms, those pastel prints you find so adorable are as good as invisible to your little one, at least in the first few months. I found this article by Dr. Sears of Attachment Parenting fame helpful in understanding visual development in newborns. He writes: 
"If you provide continuous visual input into baby’s eyes, the retina thrives, the optic nerve grows, and the visual part of baby’s brain thrives and develops by leaps and bounds.... Surround a baby with soft pastel colors, and you might as well be blindfolding him. Surround your baby with black and white or light and dark pictures, and watch your baby’s eyes light up."
So after the ten minutes of type-A mom panic that I spent thinking my child would be as good as blind because I did not have the proper visually stimulating crib toys, I pulled myself together and got to work on the bunting project. If I were more talented, I would make a Munari mobile for him like a good Montessori mom (which I'm not, though I aspire to be), but as soon as the instructions used the words "calculations" and "dimensions", I knew it was not meant to be.

I started out with just patterns, then decided to add some letters and images for variety (patterns: Peoni Patterns | animal images: Origami Bats). Love it so much, I may play around with it in the future when J starts to see in color.

Maybe your little one will like them, too. Here it is, yours to download, print, and enjoy!


The bunting set prints onto 8.5 x 11 paper (I used 200 gsm white cardstock) and includes 5 patterns and 7 animal prints. I was only able to fit 8 flags in my space, but you can easily print more pattern sheets to make the buntings longer. Use a cutter to cut out slits where marked and thread a 1/2-inch ribbon through each flag.   

And while I still want the crib toys, I hate to (but also happily) admit that J seems pretty content with the poor mom's paper variety. He stared, cooed, and batted at it for a good half hour, and even cried a bit when I took it away.

I've also used a black and white dress draped over his bassinet, a damask-print toiletry pouch, and a book propped up and opened to a page of black and white art. He liked the last one the best, until he batted it too hard and it fell on his face. Whoops.

What's your baby's favorite crib or carrier toy? What does he or she enjoy observing? Please do share so we can all enjoy an extra five minutes of free time. Who doesn't need that, right?