Baby Items For a Happy Baby

My son Henry is fifteen months old, and he loves to climb playground equipment and splash in the pool. Such a big boy! This age is so fun, but I do catch myself occasionally longing for the baby days. Children are just so sweet at that age, and it’s such a joy to watch them reach their baby milestones, to see them begin to discover and learn.

Here's a list of the baby stuff that helped my little Henry discover the world:

Lounging pillow: Henry sat in his pillow every day of his life for the first five months. The lounging pillow cradled him, helped him feel secure, and made him a happy baby. His swing was helpful, too, but the pillow was easy to move around and travel with. It was one baby item we simply could not have done without.

Chilled teething ring: This was a textured ring filled with water. When frozen, the chilled ring helped soothe his aching gums when he was going through that developmental stage.

Baby mirror: I'll never forget the first time that Henry noticed his reflection. He thought it was another baby entirely! This simple baby item provided hours of entertainment for little Henry while he was touching, talking to, and smiling at the 'other baby.'

Jumper: There was a time when Henry wanted to be mobile but hadn’t yet reached the baby milestone of being able to crawl. My arms were only so strong -- I couldn't spend all day bouncing him up and down on my knee. Thank goodness for the jumper, the best baby item of all time. He would happily jump for so long. Every time we walked by the jumper, he'd reach for it.

Photo by Nynne Schrøder on Unsplash

The Top 5 Baby Items That My Baby Loved

As a new mom, I was intent on finding baby items to make my new baby girl happy and comforted,  as well as to further her baby development. What I hadn’t realized is that while you can buy the entire baby store to please your little one, they will tell you what makes them happy. And often, the items that babies enjoy are surprising and downright confusing. During my daughter’s first year, these five items best comforted, engaged, and put a smile on her face.

1.    Tags Among the many baby items my daughter received as a newborn was a baby blanket with fabric tags; leaving me to question the tag appeal. It didn’t take long, however, for her to develop an affinity for tags, and simply holding a tag in her hand was the ultimate soother. Finding the tag on her bib, blanket, clothing, or even an extra large tag in furniture stores became both exciting and calming.

2.    Squeaky toys Before entering mommyhood, I heard about certain sounds that can calm a baby, like white noise and crinkly toys. My daughter had other plans, however. Squeaks were what made her happy, specifically squeaks she could make herself. She loved and laughed away at baby toys that squeaked to the touch.

3.    Remotes My sister, who has girls slightly older than my daughter, gifted me with a musical remote control. Of all the objects to turn into a toy, I wondered, why a remote? That was until my daughter became old enough to move on her own. She would roll, slither, crawl, bend, and more to get her hands on a remote. I soon understood the appeal, with the many buttons, shapes, colors, and lights displayed on a remote. My baby liked the toy, but she loved the real remote that I, in turn, gifted her.

4.    Phones Like the remote, my daughter found phones, particularly smart phones, to be an amazing invention (like the rest of us!). Before turning one, she figured out how to swipe a touch screen and look at photos (all of her) on my phone. To engage her interest, I gave her a variety of baby items in the form of toy phones. It’s most fascinating, though, to watch her expression as she discovers the ability to change a screen display with her finger.

5.    Lift-the-flap books Like finding hidden holiday presents in your parents’ closet, my baby got great joy out of books that let her lift the flaps to reveal surprise information and visuals. Once she became capable of doing so by herself, she took pride in her discovery. It was a great way for us to actively read together, and the perfect item to add to our baby toys repertoire.

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The Baby Toys That Keep My Twins Busy

I have two sweet 3½ month old baby girls, and already they are developing little personalities with special preferences for specific things. From the moment we brought Brooklyn and Bailey home from the hospital, it’s been an adventure as we discover what baby items calm them down, make them laugh, and help them sleep.

Both of my girls respond very well to the classic five S’s: swaddling, shushing, swinging, sucking, and side positions. The minute they start acting tired, we wrap them up in a blanket or sleep sack, give them a pacifier, rock them a little in our arms, a swing, or a sleeper, and they are knocked out. They also love the sound of the white noise machine we run in the background during nap time. I also have an app on my phone that makes the sound of a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer that can instantly turn a fussy baby into a content baby. Since day one, our girls have also loved one thing above all of their other baby items -- their pacifiers. They are starting to take it less frequently, mostly just at nap time or fussy moments, but it definitely helps them go to sleep.

Bailey also loves to look at mobiles, or anything dangling above her. As soon as we put her in the crib, she will look up at the mobile and just start cracking up with huge smiles and laughter. Brooklyn loves bath time in her little whale tub. The warm water is really soothing to her, and she’s discovering how to make the water splash around by kicking and moving her arms. Both girls squeal in delight when placed on the changing mat. I’m not sure what it is about diaper changing time, but it’s often the most happy and smiley they will be all day. Who would have thought a changing mat would be the baby item that they’d most enjoy?

We have a variety of other baby items, like baby toys, rattles, stuffed animals, and baby noise makers for the girls. They really like a pair of stuffed pink elephants that my friend brought them in the hospital. The ears are stuffed with paper that makes a crinkling noise, and the tail has a rattle. It’s also very soft, and they like having it rubbed on their cheeks. On their activity mat, they have a light-up song player shaped like a star with a variety of colors. When I turn it on, they will stare at it mesmerized. They really like anything that plays music.

Each day as their baby development continues, I discover new baby items that delight them, especially as they become more aware of their surroundings. It’s amazing to think of what they’ll be getting into in just a few short months.

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Baby Stuff: My Baby’s Favorite Items

If my sweet, six–month-old baby boy could talk, I'm sure he'd say his favorite thing is food.

Of course he also really likes his sister and pulling hair, but food is his number one priority. When he's not eating, though, there are a few other simple baby items that bring a smile to his face and make my job as a mom just a little easier.

For starters, my kids loved their infant swing. From the moment they would go in, they'd both smile and coo. We chose a model with a lot of bells and whistles, and our kids were absolutely mesmerized by their infant swing. As long as they were moving in their infant swing, they were happy. I was able to put them down during the day and get stuff done, because they were entertained and content.

Baby blankets with animals attached are another must-have in our household. These are a great security item to introduce when your little one is old enough. They're small enough to take everywhere, and machine-washable. They're also a great tool in establishing a bedtime ritual. My babies would get their baths, have a bottle, and then as I read them a story, they'd get to snuggle their lovey. Here’s a little parenting tip from me to you: If your child becomes attached to a specific one, I highly suggest buying at least one extra.

Another inexpensive and ingenious idea is a mesh feeding bag. This has been a baby item staple when it came to getting my kids through teething. Both of my munchkins started teething at four months, and they didn't like to gnaw on anything hard or plastic. They loved to chew blankets and burp cloths but would often gag themselves. So I started putting cold, wet baby wash cloths in the feeder bag, and they loved it. My kids were also very eager to start solids, so these were great when I introduced apples and pears. I could throw a chunk of the fruit in the bag and they'd sit happily in the high chair, just chomping away.

While this baby items list might be modest, it's truly what made my little ones happy at this stage. Soon, it will all be replaced with things like dirt and trucks, but for now, my baby’s wants are easy. If only my three year old were the same way!

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The Best Baby Products for New Moms

When you’re a new mom, less stress is best. But purchasing gear and essentials for your new baby can be overwhelming and confusing, especially if you’re on a budget. What do you really need and what can you leave on the shelves? To help make baby shopping easier, here are five items that are must-haves for every new mom.

Baby carrier. A good-quality, sturdy, and comfortable baby carrier is not just a necessity for keeping your hands free, it’s also a soothing place for your new baby as it keeps her close to you when you're running errands or just walking around the house. Consider asking to try a few on at the store so you can find one that’s the perfect fit for your frame.

Baby books. Your new baby doesn’t need an overflowing chest filled with baby toys to stay entertained, but baby books are worth splurging on. Story time is a wonderful way to bond with your baby, and reading to your little one builds listening and vocabulary skills.

Changing pad. Don’t stress if you are tight on space and don’t have the room for a changing table. Any area of your home can be transformed into a diaper duty station with a changing pad, Pampers baby diapers, and a box of wipes. Wash the pad (and the cover) regularly, especially if gets stained during a diaper change.

Diaper bag. A sturdy, do-it-all diaper bag will be your best accessory during your baby’s first few years. Choose a spacious bag with a stroller attachment and easy-to-access compartments so you can quickly locate your child’s pacifier or favorite baby toy. Tip: You’re going to be toting this bag around for awhile, so pick a pattern you love! And if Dad is going to carry it, too, be sure to get his input.

Burp cloths. Stock up on a tall pile of burp cloths. They'll protect your outfit during each feeding and will come in handy for wiping up messes or cleaning your baby’s sticky hands.

Photo by Octavian Dan on Unsplash