I’m Laura and I’m an Orthoptist, which means that I am a specialist in children’s visual development. I’m currently on maternity leave with my 14 week old son, Thomas, and have been a consultant for Etta Loves since Jen first had the idea and got me involved to add the science into the designs.
Having worked in Orthoptics for almost 19 years I am well versed in the science of vision development, but watching it in action with your own child, and seeing the magic in the Etta Loves muslins is truly fascinating.
Vision is a rapidly developing sense. At birth infants have very limited vision - having spent 9 months in the dark it is all brand new. The more they use their vision the more the connections form between the eye and the brain and the more their vision improves. Young infants can detect high contrast patterns and their best point of focus is around 8-10 inches from their face. They are particularly attracted to black and white patterns because the cells in their retina which detect colour are not thought to be developed at this young age, so the higher the contrast the better.
Having been involved with Etta Loves from the beginning I was excited to be able to try the science in action, and I was not disappointed! Our first adventure with the muslins was with the Animal 3-pack and at around 5 days old I noticed that Thomas was captivated by them.
He spent ages just staring at them, taking in their patterns and he was quiet for 5 minutes - which was definitely a bonus. I laid the zebra muslin on the mat of his play gym and tied the dalmatian musin onto the arch of the gym. It was so lovely to see the wonder on his face as he gazed at the patterns and it was also great to have the muslin on the base of the play gym so that the post-feed dribble was absorbed rather than me having to add the play gym mat to the rapidly growing washing pile.
As every mum knows tummy time is beneficial to babies, helping them to develop their head, neck and upper body muscles and build strength and coordination which is needed for rolling over and crawling. It has to be said that Thomas is not so keen - whenever I put him onto his tummy he faceplants the floor and cries. But I found that by putting one the sensory muslins over my shoulder and holding Thomas higher up on my shoulder he gets the benefit of practising strengthening these muscles and the patterns keep him interested long enough to stay there for a bit. So, strengthening muscles, stimulating vision, and I also get the benefit of additional cuddles with my gorgeous boy, and who could say no to that!