Why do babies love black and white images?

Newborn baby with black and white book of pictures

12 days old enjoying Mesmerised

“Anything with very obvious contrast – such as black and white edges and lines – is an optimal stimulant for the visual system. This type of stimulation basically gets the system up and running” – Professor Usha Goswami, director of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education at Cambridge University.

Newborn babies are highly attracted to black and white images due to their limited vision when first born – at birth, a baby’s retina is not fully developed. The retina is the back layer of the eye that detects light. An adult retina can distinguish many different shades of light and colour, but a newborn retina can only detect large contrasts between light and dark, or black and white. So while an adult can appreciate various shades of pastel colours on the wall of baby’s nursery, a newborn may only see them as one shade all blurred together (ref. www.askdrsears.com). High-contrasting, black and white images with sharp outlines are therefore much easier for baby to see in these first few months of life when everything else is out-of-focus. Your baby will be completely absorbed when the striking pictures of a black and white book are put in front of them.


newborn baby eyesight

Newborns have limited vision

A baby’s eyesight will continue to develop over the first 6 months – use of our specially designed black and white, and high-contrast books, will help to nurture that development, while also providing much-needed entertainment and stimulation for your baby.

See our  ‘Baby Vision Guide‘ for a month-by-month guide to infant visual development.





Try out this vision simulator to get an idea of what your baby can see when first born and then at each consecutive month: http://tinyeyes.com/index.php



These articles will also give you more background on why black and white images are important for baby’s development:



High-contrast books are top of the list of recommended books for babies on the Raising Children website.