Color is an important part of the world around us. And when it comes to babies and young children, understanding, and processing color is an essential part of their development. But does color matter when choosing clothing, whether it’s baby onesies and rompers or swaddles and swaddle transition suits like the Zipadee-Zip?

At Sleeping Baby, this is something we’ve thought about a lot when choosing our different clothing designs and patterns and to share with you our thoughts, we explore how color choice for your little one’s wardrobe could play an important role in their mood, behavior, and wellbeing.

How Does Color Impact Development?

A number of studies have suggested how color can influence a range of human psychological functions, like creativity, productivity, and mood. While some researchers associate this with the cultural and personal associations individuals have with color, others closely link different colors with a tangible impact on the human brain.

Primary examples of this are how strong colors like red are said to produce feelings of urgency or excitement, while calmer colors like blue reduce tension and anxiety. In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers found that the color red negatively affected performance on tests. Equally, in a study of athletic performance, wearing red has been shown to give an advantage.

While there is a large body of research out there to absorb and establish your own opinion on, it’s logical that for children, who are much more sensitive to their environments and external stimulants like light and atmosphere, color plays a significant role in their development.

For this reason, it is important to consider how color choices could have a positive or negative effect on your little one, whether it’s the color you paint their walls or the choice for their swaddle transition suits, baby onesies, or pajamas!

If you’re interested in finding out more about how your baby is sensitive to their external environment, and particularly how this impacts their ability to sleep, take a look at our blog: Reduce Baby Startling: How To Create The Perfect Bedroom Atmosphere!

It is important to consider how color choices could have a positive or negative effect on your little one, whether it’s the color you paint their walls or the choice for their swaddle transition suits, baby onesies, or pajamas!

Different Colors and How They Affect Us

baby sleeps on blue bed- does color matter?

Based on research, individual experiences, and cultural associations, below are some of the potential effects that different colors could have on your child. But please note that research methods and source information varies, so absorb the below using your natural parenting common sense and experience.

Red

Red is commonly believed to be one of the most powerful colors and a strong stimulus in many different applications, with both positive and negative connotations.

  • Can induce feelings of excitement, urgency, and power
  • Overwhelms other colors in its surroundings
  • Could promote aggressiveness, frustration, or anxiety when used in large amounts
  • Could prevent relaxation and ability to sleep when used in a baby’s room

Yellow

Yellow is a relatively ‘light’ and warm color that comes with many positive associations drawn from nature and cultural meaning.

  • Symbolizes the radiant warmth of the sun, or the charming appearance of the sunflower
  • Could have a positive impact on memory, motivation, and attention
  • Creates a feeling of joy, enthusiasm, and inspiration
  • Can cause distress or overstimulation when used too much

Blue

Many see blue as the opposite of red, in terms of its impact on our mood and its associations.

  • Has a ‘cool’ and comforting nature that evokes thoughts of spaciousness, calm, and contentment
  • Could be used to reduce body temperature, blood pressure, and pulse rate
  • Often chosen as peoples’ most popular color in research surveys worldwide
  • Could support a baby’s easy and peaceful transition into sleep at night

Green

Another color that is reminiscent of calm and peacefulness, but also comes with additional connotations of health and nature.

  • Symbolically represents the power of nature and life
  • Could improve concentration and productivity while studying or working
  • Induces feelings of tranquility, calm, and balance

Orange

Orange comes with the powerful energy of red, tempered by the subtle warmth of yellow ⁠— a compromise for parents who enjoy the radiance of a powerful color but want to avoid the dominance of red.

  • An extrovert color that could evoke passion, excitement, and energy
  • Could be overstimulating when used extensively in children’s bedrooms
  • Could help overcome tiredness and fatigue
  • May help promote self-confidence and independence for introverted children

Purple

A mixture of red and blue, purple is a complex color that offers attributes of both, while bringing with it associations of calmness.

  • Could help to stimulate creativity and original thinking
  • A calming and tranquil color
  • Widely available in both boys and girls clothing offering gender neutrality

Pink

Famously a classic color for girls, but so much more than this, pink blends the energy and stimulation of red with the non-threatening and respectful nature of white.

  • Represents compassion, nurturing, and love
  • Could help calm children and alleviate feelings of anger and frustration
  • Complements a variety of other colors when used in lighter tones and shades

Brown

Relatively close to the color black, but far less serious and dominating, especially when used in softer, muted tones or when mixed with white to create beige.

  • Often associated with nature and the earth
  • Evokes feelings of groundedness, stability, and reliability
  • Could create a warm and enclosing feeling

Orange comes with the powerful energy of red, tempered by the subtle warmth of yellow ⁠— a compromise for parents who enjoy the radiance of a powerful color but want to avoid the dominance of red.

Choosing Patterns for Your Swaddle Transition Suits

Some of the most popular shapes and patterns for baby onesies and swaddle products are:

  • Geometric - simple shapes and patterns that use variations of squares, circles, triangles and their variations, such as rectangles, ovals, and polygons. Typically, they are symmetrical.
  • Organic - shapes and patterns that represent nature and life around us. Many swaddle transition suits and baby onesies will feature leaves, flowers, plants, clouds, and animal shapes. These could be asymmetric, but can also be arranged to create predictable and repetitive layouts.
  • Abstract - these shapes can be completely random or partially based on real things. Interesting mixtures and blends are often made between different shapes to create unique, abstract designs.

Browse our Zipadee-Zips in a range of patterns!

How Do Babies Experience Patterns and Shapes?

As your baby distinguishes between different shapes, like triangles and squares, they are building their visual processing skills. Exposure to and familiarisation with shapes and patterns is said to be a great way to improve coordination and develop cognitive skills.

Interestingly, it has been discovered that people take more pleasure from repeating patterns than non-repeating ones, and are more excited by more intense patterns than weak ones. Researchers have also shown repeatedly that newborns prefer to look at black and white geometric shapes, rather than bright colors or pastels, until their ability to distinguish color is fully developed.

Having said this, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that specific patterns are better or worse for your child’s development past this stage, so you can feel free to make a design call based on your personal preferences. Similar to color, the important thing is your child has enough variety to support cognitive development.

Match Color Choices with Different Ages

Research also suggests that different colors are more suitable to different ages, especially when you consider the way a baby’s brain develops rapidly from month to month.

0-3 Months

A newborn baby can only see in shades of black, grey, and white when they’re first born. Therefore, monochrome color schemes with high contrast patterns are actually one of the best choices for both baby clothing, offering the greatest amount of  visual stimulation, which could send important messages to the brain and lead to faster development of brain function.

3-6 months

As your baby grows, the inclusion of more color in their life is important for their development. As well as stimulating their brains, you will help them to develop their own associations and preferences, shaping their personalities as they get older. At 3 months and beyond (around the time they may start needing swaddle transition suits to help them phase-out of the swaddle stage) your baby will be able to clearly see colors.

It is likely they will have a preference for more distinctive, brighter colors such as yellow, greens, blues, and even reds, which are a good way to stimulate your child’s brain at this age.

6-12 months

For 6-8 months, experts say a baby's color vision is quite well developed and they should be able to distinguish even between subtle variations of colors. Due to this greater sensitivity, this is when more attention should be paid to the color choices of your baby’s clothing and room. Important color connections can be made by introducing different shades, hues, and tints at this stage, paired with more complex patterns and shapes.

For 6-8 months, experts say a baby's color vision is quite well developed and they should be able to distinguish even between subtle variations of colors.

Blue vs. Pink - Do “Gender Colors” Even Matter?

blue pink does baby clothing color matter

Color impacts the human brain in the same way, regardless of gender. However, as your child develops, they will build their own set of individual associations and preferences with the colors around them. Findings are varied about whether there is an inherent gender difference in response to color.

Ultimately, choosing classic blue for your boy, or sparkly pink for your girl isn’t going to lead to any development gains. And many researchers believe gender color preferences are largely influenced by cultural norms and upbringing. So when choosing the color of your baby onesies and swaddle transition suits, there’s no real need to factor in gender appropriateness at such a young age.

The key is offering a range of options as your child grows, giving them the experience of the variety the world of color has to offer. When they’ve matured into their toddler years and further, they’ll likely have their own opinions about color preferences you can factor into their wardrobe choices.

If this is still a concern of yours, there are so many great gender-neutral color choices you can choose when buying your little one’s swaddles, pajamas, or baby onesies!

Check out our color options for Zippy-Swaddle and Zipadee-Zip swaddle transition suits!

Practical Considerations

One of the biggest considerations when choosing the color of your baby onesies and swaddles is how they might match with other items that you’ve bought, or have been given to you from friends and family. While you might love eccentric colors and patterns, it’s worth thinking about how these choices will work well with other items in the wardrobe.

Again, neutral colors are a safe bet as they offer the greatest amount of versatility. We would also recommend choosing enough items that are darker, and less likely to highlight stains or dirt. While white is one of the most popular choices for baby rompers, they’re also the easiest to get dirty and hardest to clean!

Early Years Clothing Criteria

There are some important traits (in addition to color) of early years clothing that parents should also consider when choosing their baby onesies, swaddles, or swaddle transition suits. We’ve listed them below:

  • Age appropriateness
  • Temperature suitability
  • Materials
  • Comfort levels
  • Safety
  • Practicality
  • Conduciveness to sleeping

Ultimately, choosing positive colors should be accompanied by the above factors as well. And a good way to frame all this is to look for clothes your child can feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable in — also helping them to achieve much-needed sleep so their brains can recover and grow from their day of processing so many new experiences. 

For specific information on how to choose the right baby clothing, from baby onesies and swaddles to rompers, to help you baby sleep at night, take a look at our blog: What Should My Baby Wear to Sleep? — The Right Products for the Right Time.

So What’s the Best Color For Baby Onesies and Swaddle Transition Suits?

There’s no clear guidebook for what colors to choose for your baby onesies or swaddle transition suits, but reviewing some of the ideas and findings above could help you decide on how to plan your little one’s wardrobe when it comes to color.

Each color could have a different impact on your child, but then again, each child is unique and may quickly develop their own associations and relationship with color. The important thing is you are mindful of any potentially negative affects color choices could have on your child’s development, while giving them an appropriate amount of variation to stimulate their visual processing skills while they’re so young.