Babies & Toys

Play Time for the Littlest Ones

When you are anticipating your newborn, it’s natural for your thoughts to turn to play. A giggling baby, loving interaction and a strong bonding are what every mother in the world dreams of before a birth.When parents shop for the baby, they inevitably throw some toys into the shopping cart. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends add to the collection. Some of these toys are so bright, lively and just plain adorable that they are almost impossible to resist. But, resist them you should.Don’t spend money on toys that appeal to adults, but not to babies. Buy them toys that will help them in their natural progression through infancy. You don’t need many fancy, expensive objects to develop your baby’s brain. Here are some easy alternatives.

Very young infants like people, their favorite toys. For the first few weeks, toys are off the table. The baby is not ready for toys. They can’t grab, use or even see the toy very well. You are their developmental toy. Bring your face fairly close to the baby’s and talk or sing. They will try to reach for you, your first meaningful conversation. When you speak, they will turn their head towards you.

Teething toys are all the rage. When babies can reach and grab an item, they are ready for “chew toys.” You can find large rings, squeeze toys, teething objects, balls and books made for little ones to play. Blanket teethers are easy to grasp, soft and edible. The tiniest ones don’t see colors very well, so buy toys that are black and white or have good contrast. Also, look for BPA-free toys in general, as babies put everything in their mouths for a while.

Some swing warnings. Infant swings are great. They safely hold an infant and rock them ceaselessly, a real boon for those newborn infants with colic. There are some facts you must be aware of to use this equipment safely. Young infants can’t hold their heads or necks upright yet. Make sure the baby is lying down in the swing, not sitting up. The swing is not a safe place for a baby to sleep. Make sure that your swing has a 5-point harness to prevent the most common swing accident — falling out.

Bouncer seats. Two thousand babies are injured each year in bouncer seats. Don’t leave your baby unattended in a bouncer seat.  See the Consumer Reports website for a long list of safety considerations, warnings and directions.

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