It’s apropos, in light of the fact that my nephew was born last Wednesday morning, that I offer a list of my favorite infant toys and some ways to use them!
1.Light Rattles and Small Rain sticks– These items encourage tracking (following objects with their eyes) and are very attractive to infants. They make different noises and are a first introduction to “cause and effect.” Light rattles can be easily gripped in one hand, small rainsticks (the one pictured in the link above is the full sized version) in two. These are also great for entertaining your child during tummy time.
2. Baby Buzz’r– This terrific toy vibrates gently, plays soft music, and has blinking eyes. These modes can be used individually or together depending on what soothes your child. The wings of the bee can also be used for teething! A great item.
3. Boppy Pillow– This “c” shaped pillow can be used in a multitude of ways. A parent can put the Boppy around their body for bottle or breast feeding. The child can recline in a Boppy for bonding and play and be placed on it for feeding. For children who may be uncomfortable being flat for tummy time, placing them tummy down with arms over the Boppy can be a more comfortable introduction (you can also roll up a towel and place it underneath your child chest, under the armpits). As your infant gets older, the Boppy can be used to support a child in the seated position.
4. Massage Lotion or Oil– While this isn’t exactly a “toy,” it is a wonderful item and activity to use with your child. Your child’s skin will help determine which lotions you choose, but I love Mustela Baby Massage Oil and Johnson’s Bedtime Lavender Lotion. Even if you haven’t taken an infant massage class, gentle, rhythmic motions on your childs’ body can be very soothing for both of you. It’s also a terrific bonding experience!
5. Oball– This is a great first ball for any child. The finger holes make it easy to grip for an infant (and easy to catch and throw as a child gets older). Because it is somewhat flexible, it is safe for an infant to throw and, though I have no personal experience with this, it’s delicious to suck on!
6. Taggies Blanket or other Lovies– While no items should be placed in a crib or bassinet with a newborn, as your child gets a little older, blankets and lovies can be soothing and comforting. They can be kept close in a stroller or bouncy seat and are great for feeling different textures and, of course, for putting in little mouths!
This list could go on and on! While I love these items for infants 0-6 months, they will surely be favorites as your baby gets older as well. Be sure to follow all safety instructions listed on packages and recommended by pediatricians for your child. Remember that no matter what materials you choose for your child, enjoying them together will enhance the experience for both of you. Enjoy!