Etta Loves hacks with Jen Fuller

Founder and mama of 2, Jen Fuller has revolutionised baby sensory play with her gorgeous brand Etta Loves. The patterns that adorn the Etta Loves range provide the perfect visual experiences from newborn to baby, with week-to-week stages offering mesmerising designs tailored to support your little one’s cognitive development.

From the colours used, to the scale and shapes of pattern placements, the Etta Loves range has been expertly designed with consultant Orthoptist Laura’s recommendations, to help provide the science behind Jen’s vision.

Read on to discover Jen's month-by-month 'sensory hacks', designed to aid your little one's cognitive discoveries...

Before we reveal all from Jen, it’s worth reminding ourselves why this amazing brand has had such great success and is so loved by babies worldwide...

Who are Etta Loves?

Etta Loves unintentional inception started with Jen’s first born – Etta - who, at 6 weeks old, became mesmerised by Jen’s patterned black and white jumper. Jen describes it as a bit of a 'lightbulb moment' as she didn’t understand why essential products that were in Etta's eye line day in day out, weren’t being designed to create wonder. So, she set out to recreate this magic on her little one’s face by turning baby items into sensory essentials and so, Etta Loves was born.

The Science behind the brand

The science is at the heart of everything Etta Loves and ensures that babies are both stimulated and content, giving parents a priceless moment of calm and confidence that you are supporting their visual and cognitive development. 

Watch more here on how your baby’s vision develops in their first year…

Etta Loves sensory hacks

Exposure to patterns is of crucial importance to a little one’s visual development, as patterns offer an important source of information about the environment. However, at each stage of baby’s first year, their cognitive functions receive different perspectives of the world around them. For example, between birth and 2 months old babies love looking at patterns made up of lines, whereas from 2 months onwards they prefer round shapes, especially bullseyes. Then, by 4 months old, they will already enjoy looking for odd ones out! 

0-1 month

The more your baby uses their vision, the more they will form connections between their eyes and their brain. So, try simple things to start with like popping the muslin over your shoulder whilst they feed or, hanging one in their eyeline (20cm away) during nappy changes. You can also practise gentle tummy time by lying back with one of our muslins on your chest, encouraging baby to push up to see more, but within the comfort and safety of your embrace.

2 months

The Etta Loves sensory strip will be coming into its own now; encouraging tummy time for any reluctant babes (which let’s face, is most of them!). It’s also important to encourage your little one to be turning their head both ways to minimise the risk of flat head syndrome so, alongside sounds sensory patterns, offer great encouragement to do this. Simply place a muslin or side of the playmat to their left one time then on their right the next.

3 months

This is a great age for a bit of peek-a-boo to help them learn object permanence - that means just because things disappear, it doesn’t mean they don’t come back. It also helps them to learn that walking out of the room isn’t anything to get upset about.

4 months

Help them practise gross motor skills by tying a sensory muslin or two onto their baby gym, to encourage little arms to accurately reach out and try to grab and play.

5 months

This is the age to turn your playmat and sensory strip to the 5+ month side and bring out the colourful muslins and comforters to watch developing eyes light up. Expect to see their engagement increase, perfect to start enjoying your cuppa that bit longer!

6 months

Teeth can cause more than a few problems at around 5/6 months old so, wet the corner of a muslin and pop it in the freezer for an hour or so. When you take it out, it will offer your little dribbler some nice cold relief for their sore gums and, because all Etta Loves products are rigorously tested, they are perfectly safe to be sucked and chewed.

The teething comforters are also super handy for even those pesky teeth, with a beech ring perfectly scaled for little hands to hold and mouths to chew. Plus, the double-sided square offers the added bonus sensory magic to distract them from their discomfort.

7 months

Hide a mirror under the sensory muslin for them to discover and enjoy their reflections. Because their eye tracking is steadily improving you can wrap a large ball in a sensory muslin and slowly roll and push it along the floor to and from your baby.

8-10 months

If your baby is starting nursery, has a childminder or even spending more time with grandparents, a comforter can provide comfort as they navigate these changes. We always recommend buying two for the (almost) devastating event of one being lost or needing a wash.

12 months

Car journeys can always be hit and miss so, try trapping an XL muslin into the window nearest baby for a wall of sensory staring and calm on the go. If you have a playmat this will make an excellent insert in the bottom of a tipi (which is a brilliant first birthday present) or simply for teddy bear picnics in the house or garden.

Happy hacking!

Hopefully, as well as these handy tips, you may even find your own hacks, where you can use your muslins and comforters! Make sure to let us know by tagging @naturalbabyshower and sharing your discoveries over on our Instagram. 

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