As a new mom, I can relate to wanting to play with your newborn baby. They are so adorable and the perfect cuddle buddy. While they make us tired from staying up all night we do want to keep them up during the day (so they will eventually sleep all night) and stimulate their brain properly. We want them to be smart and meet or exceed their developmental milestones! Unfortunately, it seems that babies just love to eat and sleep all day! Which is partially true. My baby loves her mobile we have in her bassinet. I can tell she is focusing on the little lambs or bears (they look like a combo) and is paying close attention to the lights connected to it as well. She is already starting to develop skills much like your newborn is! So I was curious what are the best types of toys for newborn babies and their development. I found out there are some standard types of toys that keep popping up that we new modern moms should know about.
Tummy time is a big deal. Not only is it developmentally important for their tummy muscles, but also their brains. In fact, it’s interesting to note that most bedding bundles for cribs include a “play mat”. It looks like a comforter but is themed for your babies’ nursery theme. The reason they started doing this is so that new moms can have not only a decorative piece for the nursery, but so they can have a safe and developmentally friendly place for the baby to lay. For instance, I have a mermaid theme in my nursery for my little one. Her crib set from NoJo came with a mermaid and jellyfish play mat. Not only is it cute and themed for her room, but it’s very brightly colored to stimulate her brain and help her make neurological connections. Most play mats you buy are much fancier and they have plush little toys or water pockets for babies to play with and develop in a more skilled fashion. There are some great ones you can pick up from Crate and Barrel or Target. They usually have some sort of themes like an ocean theme or a car theme. These small items may seem silly to us, but to a baby, it’s teaching them things and making neurological connections that will last them a lifetime. The time to start the tummy time and play mats are as soon as the child is born. They are already beginning to develop after all.
Bath toys are also very important. It may seem silly or you may feel rushed to just get a bath over with after a huge spit up incident or bowel movement, but don’t rush bath time! Bath time is not only a great way to bond with your child, but they actually enjoy it and are learning from bath time. Bath toys like animal squirt toys or even a simple rubber ducky will help your child develop more and have more fun while taking a bath. You’re not just helping their brain and bonding with them, but you’re setting up a routine and letting them know that bath time (being clean) is fun!
Books are extremely important for child development. Some people think it’s weird to read to a newborn, but it’s really not! You’re teaching them words and showing them pictures that are creating neurons and connections in their brains to those items you’re speaking about. The top verbal skilled children in school were actually read to not just as newborns, but when they were still in the womb. Your child can hear you in the womb in the second trimester and is able to know what’s going on. So if you haven’t delivered yet be sure to crack open Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss and start letting your child soak up as much information as possible. Read a book every night before you put your child to bed and this will also set up a routine for them to know it’s time to calm down and rest. Hopefully, this will put an end to sleepless nights!
Musical toys are a great way to develop your child’s mind. Not only is it creating future music appreciators, but it’s helping them understand things like rhythm, noise, where sounds are coming from and teaching them the sounds of certain instruments. Newborn toys like rattles are great to shake to a rhythm and dance around the house with your child. They will understand beats, timing and much more because of a simple rattle.
Also, get a bright rattle with a face on it. This will help your child develop their eyes better and focus more on objects. Brightly colored objects with faces tend to be the best for child development.
Finally, plush toys are the best for newborns. They can cuddle with them and this helps them out when they are in fuss or having a little bit of newborn anxiety. I mean they just came into this giant world where they know almost nothing. It can be a little overwhelming. To help them cope with that and to entertain them plush toys are fantastic.
Just make sure there are no loose items on the plush toys that they could choke on or easily get off to choke on. Plush toys with hard eyes are a huge red flag that you shouldn’t give it to a newborn, but if the plush toy or stuffed animal has sewn in eyes that would be ideal. Same with security blankets. If you’re not gung-ho about a stuffed animal or plush toy for your baby then a security blanket is the next best thing.