Who said babies can't learn anything when they're born?
Many people think just because your newborn cannot talk, crawl or, anything else besides eat, poop and sleep, that the learning stage doesn't start for at least a year. Wrong! Your baby's brain will actually develop by utilizing his senses and creating neuro-signals to the brain that in turn will start making connections between his nerve cells and encourage cognitive growth.
When it comes to nursery design, visual stimulation is perhaps one of the most important sensory inputs you can provide for your baby at birth, which is precisely why how you design your nursery is so important. It's not just about a pretty space, it's also about how you can actually strengthen baby's cognitive development by strategically placing stimulating elements that will have baby enamored by his environment and give baby a great running start.
Here are some great nursery design ideas that will help strengthen baby's cognitive development:
Contrasting Nursery Designs: don't be afraid to use contrasting colors and patterns in your nursery. Pastels are fantastic and soothing, but in order to really get the nerve cells connecting, you want baby to focus on dark and light colors. Stripes or chevron patterns work well, polka dots, whimsical animals, just about anything as long as the colors are contrasting.
Baby Bedding: the first place I would highly recommend introducing these visual elements is the baby bedding. Baby will spend about 2/3rds of the time sleeping, and is the closest element baby constantly comes in contact with for several months.
Wall Colors or Designs: although baby will not be able to see the nursery wall design unless up close, you may be holding baby and walking around the nursery to burp or put baby to sleep, and as baby's vision develops, the nursery walls will soon come to life. So make it count and make it contrast.
Nursery Mirrors: believe me, baby will be absolutely fascinated with seeing his own reflection. He might think it's another baby or evil twin, but having a safe, break-free mirror that is positioned on the wall (from the ground) is great for visual tracking and incredibly entertaining.
Play Rugs: Play Rugs are a great idea for tummy time as it's visually entertaining, stimulating and clean area to play on. It can add a fun theme to the nursery design and the place to be during play time.
Musical Mobiles: much more than a cute, baby crib accessory, musical mobiles have two great benefits in that they play soothing lullabies and are great for baby's visual development. Baby may not be able to see the mobile at first, but as he recognizes the lullaby sounds and is wondering where this music is coming from, the blurry picture will become more and more clear, and the mobile will slowly reveal itself as the 'spinning, music-playing thing' that baby loves to much.
Music, Music, Music: Classical, nursery rhymes, and infant tunes are all great ways to stimulate your baby. Your little one will learn to associate different sounds and it's a fantastic way to make playtime (or bedtime) fun for all.
Squeeze and Rattle Toys: baby will love to touch, squeeze and taste things, which are all great stimulating sources. Make sure to keep play toys clean and introduce only during play time and you certainly do not want to over-stimulate your little one. Baby's love to make sounds on their own so when he?s old enough to grasp an object in his hand, give him a toy that rattles or squeaks to give him a tiny thrill.
Play Gyms: Play Gyms are a stimulating haven for babies, as it encourages visual and hearing development, and fine motor skills. But don't forget to stay nearby and give baby praise for good play behavior. The encouragement will get baby excited and who knows, can lift his confidence.
Scent Toys: Before baby can see well or differentiate sounds, your scent is a comforting source that baby will associate you with. Often times when baby refuses to sleep by himself in the crib is because he can feel or smell mommy or daddy. Rubbing a scent toy on your skin and placing it in the crib can help comfort baby and get him to sleep in the crib by himself. Just one sleep tactic among the many others, but definitely worth a try.
I hope these nursery design ideas provide some inspiration on how to implement a stimulating and sensory-rich environment for your new little one. So give baby a head start and starting stimulating those nerve cells right away!