The everything-you-need-to-know-list for playing with your baby
So you’ve chosen your baby name, and you’re madly trying to bring on labour. You’ve got the general idea that your impending new arrival will have basic needs like feeding, cleaning and sleep, but with so many products available, walking into a baby store is not helpful. Well, we’re here to help. Navigate through the minefield of baby consumerism with our handy checklist of items, and target what you really need with less cash and in less time.
Welcome to a very important part of our series on baby essentials: Playing
Babies spend a lot of time on their back initially. Give them something fun to look at and interact with at playtime with an activity mat (the more colour, light and sound, the better). It is an awesome way to distract them while doing often detested tummy time to strengthen neck muscles. It’s also a safe place to pop bubs while you give much needed attention to an older toddler (who’s feeling a little left out).
Try: Skip Hop
This simple toy will help babies explore sound, develop their sense of touch and work on their motor skills. It’s a good first toy to start infants out with, and shouldn’t be too big or heavy to hold. Don’t underestimate how excited you’ll feel the first time they clutch that toy (you were right, they really are a genius baby!). There’s a lovely range of wholesome wooden rattles and soft squeezy clutch toys at The Better Toy Store.
Try: The Better Toy Store
Create a safe area for your little one to play using foam tiles. You can click as many together as you need to scale the area you have available. The main problem with this is that, if you’re house-proud, they do tend to be quite gaudy. Skip Hop has gorgeously stylish designs and colours that you’ll be happy to display in your living area. Toys R Us stock a variety of large and comparatively inexpensive (but, er, bright) versions.
Try: Skip Hop; Toys R US
Babies love to put EVERYTHING in their mouths – it’s how they interpret the world in their early days. Whether it’s a toy, a blanket or a board book, they will find something to explore and to satiate sore gums. Teethers, in cute shapes that get in to all the right spots, will probably be the first item you pack every time you go out. Our pick is the faithful Sophie the Giraffe, which now comes in a range of different shapes and sizes (even bath toys). Also check out mothercare for the teethers with liquid inside to pop in the freezer – perfect for when your babe is miserable cutting teeth.
Try: Sophie the Giraffe
If you’re going down the pacifier route to silence soothe your little darling, then you’ll want to pick up a plush toy with dummy attached. There are various brands on the market, but the WubbaNub is an all in one super-cute option. This is the solution to babies losing their dummy (or worse yet, it falling out of the crib) in the middle of the night. Nice to cuddle too when drifting off to the land of sleep (and can form part of a good settling routine).
Bouncer with hanging toys
Any mum with a fussy baby will tell you that a good baby bouncer can be a lifesaver. And there are quite a few that also have hanging toys for your little tacker to swipe at while you sit down for a moment and have a cup of tea. We love the 4moms MamaRoo with electronic movement and sound – it’s blue-tooth enabled so you can even play your own tunes. Another great option is the Chicco baby bouncer – check out their range in the Tanglin Mall store. Mothercare also stocks rockers, including the bright and affordable Fisher Price brand.
Try: 4moms MamaRoo; Chicco; mothercare
Black and white flash cards
In the early newborn days, babies eyes haven’t matured enough to see nuances of colour. Stark black and white flash cards are perfect to engage them and to stimulate brain development. Grab a pack of the gorgeous Wee Gallery art cards, or get crafty printing your own from BrillBaby.
Try: Wee Gallery; BrillBaby
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