We’re excited to share with you a BRAND NEW colour palette for Frugi… Our colouring pencils have taken a little break from our drawing boards and we’ve opted for bigger and bolder shapes in contrasting monochromes.
In their first year of life, babies have limitations in their vision, responding well to simple prints with high contrast. Sensory-friendly bold prints, such as the large black and white stars found on the Reversible Jacquard Blanket, stimulate a baby’s development of the optic nerves, helping to teach the eye muscles and brain to coordinate and function.
Come and take a look at the magical skies above with our new Magic Skies collection
1 Magic Skies Gift Set from £29
2 Reversible Joy Jacket from £34
3 Bobster Applique T-Shirt – COMING SOON!
4 Reversible Jacquard Blanket – COMING SOON!
5 Remi Reversible Pull Ups from £24
We chatted to Dr Stephanie Ooi about all things baby sensory to give new parents a helping hand when it comes to their babies development.
“Hi, thanks so much for having me on your blog! I am Dr Stephanie Ooi and I am a GP at MyHealthcare Clinic. I have been practicing for 12 years and have a particular interest in women’s health, children’s health and allergy. I was born and raised in London and live here with my husband and two girls aged 4 and 1. My eldest has several food allergies which were diagnosed at 6 months old which is why it’s a topic close to my heart. As well as being a GP and Mum to my two little firecrackers I also run a podcast The Medic Mum podcast and my Instagram page @the_gp_mum. I started the page 4 years ago in an effort to help parents get the correct information when it comes to the health of their little ones and it’s grown from there. Whilst I might be an “expert” when it comes to health, there aren’t any qualifications that can prepare you for parenthood and it has definitely been the most challenging (yet incredible and privileged) job.”
What is baby sensory and why is it important to the development of little ones?
Baby sensory is the stimulation of your baby’s senses through various visual props, sounds and textures. During the first three months of life, two million new neural connections are made in the brain every second. Sensory stimulation helps to support this creation of new pathways and aid development.
Please explain the 8 sensory systems and how babies perceive this sensory information?
The 5 main sensory systems that most people will be familiar with are sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. Babies will start to process these senses in a less developed way initially.
For example, sight is limited to 8-11 inches from their face for the first few months as explained in further detail later on in the blog. Taste buds develop in the womb and the amniotic fluid they are surrounded by when they are in the womb provides lots of different taste experiences for them. Newborns and babies have very sensitive taste buds as it helps to learn more about the world around them. Smell is similar and is established in the womb. It is very sensitive in babies.
Touch is also quite well developed. Babies are born with very sensitive skin which has a role in parent/baby attachment and bonding. This is why plenty of skin-to-skin contact is encouraged especially with newborns.
The 3 other systems that we have are balance and movement, body awareness and a third one called interoception (having a sense of hunger/pain/varying temperatures). As they grow and develop, their senses will too. Sensory stimulation will help to reinforce all of these new pathways.
Please explain ways in which parents can introduce baby sensory at home if they are unable to make it to a local class?
There are plenty of ways to do baby sensory at home. In fact, you may be providing baby sensory activities without even realising! Please ensure baby is supervised at all times.
Just a few examples include:
Put tin foil under their feet or let them play with it using their hands.
Play some music and sing/clap along
Put herbs such as rosemary or lavender in small organza bags and let them smell.
Wave a brightly coloured scarf slowly so they can follow the movement
Use materials such as scarves or ribbons and move them down baby’s body from head to toe.
Fill a tray with uncooked rice/lentils or cooled cooked spaghetti and let them play with it.
What can new parents expect from a baby sensory development class?
The classes are carefully structured from week to week and will include varying activities to do with your baby. Each activity has a purpose and the class leader can explain how the particular activity can help your little one. Expect lots of equipment and music! It also gives parents an opportunity to meet other local parents and gain play ideas for home too.
When is the best time to start a sensory development class if accessible?
Many sensory classes start from newborn so there is no limit on age. Even if baby sleeps in a class, they will still be gaining some sort sensory stimulation so it’s never too early! Equally it’s never too late either. Many classes go up to 12 months old so don’t worry if you find a class available at a later stage.
Our new collection features a range of baby clothes that feature bold, black and white patterns. Can you talk specifically about how colour can affect a baby’s development and learning, including those with learning disabilities?
Newborns can only see about 8-11 inches away from their face for the first few months and are only able to see in white, black and shades of grey. This gradually develops over time but is why black and white high contrast patterns are so helpful. Babies can see these images better in their slightly blurry world which in turn helps with the development of their optic nerves and overall visual development.
Lots of bright colours can be overwhelming from a sensory point of view especially for those with learning disabilities. Black and white can therefore help to reduce stimulation and create a more relaxing environment.
Our sensory system helps us to process the outside world. If there is a difficulty with processing, this can lead to the baby being overly sensitive or less responsive to stimuli. Below I have listed some things you might notice but it’s important to understand these must be interpreted within context. If you are at all concerned then please have a look at the answer to the next question.
☁️ Does not like getting messy with food
☁️ Does not like different textures of food
☁️ Refuses or gags at the sight or smell of some food
☁️ Does not like being put down in grass or sand
☁️ Does not like bright lights or loud environments
☁️ Does not like fast movements, being held up in the air or rocked in swing.
☁️ Needs to be swaddled after first few months and needs to be held close
Where can parents go should they want help with sensory developments and talking through any worries?
Don’t be afraid to flag up anything you are unsure of. You can speak to your health visitor initially who will then refer you onto the GP if needed. In addition depending on babies age, childcare professionals such as nursery staff may also be able to guide you as to whether they have any concerns themselves.
What sensory play did you do with your own children at home?
I did baby sensory classes with my eldest but my youngest was born during the first pandemic lockdown so had a completely different experience! We did some online sensory classes from home and I bought a small sensory kit online that had a few items too. I mainly used a coloured scarf, some bells, tin foil and a small mirror to help. Aside from this more “formal” play I also tried to talk/sing/dance and get outdoors with my babies as much as possible as this provides sensory stimulation as well. These are things you may already be doing and provide plenty of sensory activity!
Finally, we’re asking all our contributors about their Rainbow Days… This season’s collection was inspired by our Design Team’s Rainbow Days: a day filled with all the activities, people and places that bring you joy. What would yours be and why?
My Rainbow Day would start outside on a warm summers day in a park enjoying a picnic with the family including cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents. To me there is nothing more joyful than sharing food together but also being outdoors and seeing the kids run around enjoying themselves.
There is something incredibly comforting about being amongst nature too. We would then be transported to the Christmas light trail at Blenheim Palace – something that has become a bit of a tradition for us as a family over the past couple of years as it’s where my husband and I got married. Of course it would have to end with a treat – either a slice of cake from our favourite local bakery or an ice cream from the ice cream truck! The girls would be delighted.
Thank you for joining us on the Frugi Blog, Dr Stephanie!
To celebrate our NEW baby sensory inspired Magic Skies collection, we’ve partnered up with Plum Play to give our lovely Frugi customers a chance to win a baby sensory bundle!
Enjoy hours of sensory sand and water play with the Build and Splash Wooden Sand and Water Table. This sand pit and water table will get your kids splashing in the water and making shapes in the sand. Why don’t you spark their imaginations further by making the water table into a ball pit? Endless sensory play activities for your children to explore! The table is ideal for compact gardens and is made from FSC® certified sustainably sourced wood with rounded edges for added safety.
For your chance to win, simply enter your details below and click enter. Good luck!
This giveaway ends midnight Friday 8th April 2022. Terms and conditions apply.