Kierstin is a mom to two little girls and host of the satirical podcast Really Good Advice for New Moms.
Okay. Confession. Before I had a baby of my own, I used to jealously peruse random people's baby registries and weep for the toys I couldn't play with. Then, when I was actually expecting a baby people started asking me where I was registered and I realized, "wow, this is my time. This is my shining mommy-glory time to show the world all of the cool stuff I want."
And then my brain just stopped working because 98% of it was focused on growing a fetus. So I Googled "What to register for my baby" and obviously came up with options times infinity. The experts, bloggers, and toy ads will all tell you what they think you need (or don't need) and as I agonized over the endless opinions it was my first lesson in not letting other people tell me how to be a mom. That said, I found that the best suggestions came from other mothers. So, I don't know you, I don't know your baby, I don't know what you guys need. But here are the top ten toys that have proven themselves entertaining, sturdy, and perfect for sensory play and development in my daughter's first few months of life and I'd bet that at least one of these will strike a chord with your little one too.
Sophie The Giraffe
I almost didn't register for this toy because she's super expensive for a baby toy and looks a little suspicious with those dilated pupils. But something told me "do it. do it because she's cute and has an air of vintage cool." So I did and I'm glad. As my baby has shown an interest in putting pretty much everything in her mouth, Sophie has been her favorite. Now I understand what all of the hype over this pricey little giraffe is all about. She's shaped in a way that allows even the most uncoordinated baby to shove her pointy little ears and soft neck into their mouth. Plus she squeaks which is a bonus when you're three-months-old.
Those Crinkly Tag Toys
This is the first toy that my daughter ever showed an interest in. I think it's because hers is hot pink and big and colorful enough for her to see, even when she couldn't see that well. I hang it from her car seat or Snuggabunny. The noise never ceases to amaze her and recently she's figured out that if she grabs the loops she can shove the crinkly awesomeness into her little mouth.
Sassy Floor Mirror
One of my daughter's favorite things is to look at herself as most little babes do. The best thing about this mirror is that it gives her incentive to do tummy time which she generally can't stand, and motivates her to lift her head and back so she can flirt with herself.
Fisher Price Seahorse Soother
This is the one toy that came to the hospital with us. Even if it wasn't always calming our daughter down, it actually soothed her dad and I. This seahorse's belly lights up, giving new babies something to focus on, and the songs aren't annoying as you'll find with some baby toys. Plus, it comes in pink too!
Sassy Rattlin' Rings
This is the first toy our daughter was ever able to hold onto on her own! It's super flashy and noisy so of course she loves it. What I think is best about the ring is that it has different grooves and textures which is great from sensory development and chewing.
Even though babies don't really pay attention to books at first, I found that reading to my daughter consistently from the beginning has broadened her attention span and now, at three months, she loves to sit on our laps and listen, and play with the pages. And I mean, I don't need to explain to you the how and why of the importance of reading to your children.
Bright Starts Lots of Links
I'm pretty sure that these are like, a sign that you're a real mom. If you own Lots of Links (and preferably 5+ packages). I chain these over wherever my baby is laying down and then hang her favorite toys from them to encourage her to reach out and grab. They're also good for chewing on.
Oball Rainstick Rattle
Nothing irritates our kid more than this toy and I say that's a great thing because it causes her to really fight for what she wants--which is to put the center rattle in her mouth, an impossible task, but it gets her baby senses flowing! I imagine that later on, when she's come to terms with the center of this rattle, she'll begin to enjoy it for what it is: a nice colorful ball thingy that she can roll around and shake and squish.
JellyCat Stuffed Animals
This might seem like an iffy add but people are going to buy you stuffed animals anyway, so it's a good thing to throw a couple cute ones on your registry because some of them are downright creepy lately. And while stuffed animals are not supposed to go in the crib, they're nice for snuggling during supervised naps and rocking with grandma. Oh, and these stuffies are ridiculously soft. I know because I pet my face with this one all of the time.
© 2014 Kierstin Gunsberg