1. Black and white picture cards
When a baby is born, their visual system is pretty primitive. Babies can only see a few inches in front of them, and are drawn to highly contrasting images in black and white. Books or picture cards will be a very useful and entertaining first toy, propping them up for baby to look at, or use to encourage visual tracking.
2. Baby Mirror
Mirrors are so great for visual feedback, and for babies to learn about themselves. You can put one in the crib for baby to self-entertain, or use to help facilitate play on the belly. Babies mesmerize themselves!
A simple mobile with black and white contrast images hanging down facing baby's eyes is the most stimulating and developmentally beneficial for baby. Sure, there are lots of cuter options out there, like felt animals, or mountains and trees. But those really don't offer much functional use for a newborn baby. Rather, they please adult aesthetics. From what I have seen on the market, this one is my favorite because it provides visual stimulation facing baby's eyes, and is appropriate for newborns who are highly attracted to contrasting images.
4. Foot rattles
Foot rattles are a fun way to add auditory sensory input to amplify all of the little swipes, jerks, and kicks that happen early on, bringing baby's awareness to their movements and increasing their sense of self and body awareness.
5. Textured books and balls
Stimulating baby's sense of touch is so important for learning! A good set of textured balls that can be played with and safely brought to the mouth are a great way to get tactile and oral motor input. Sensory books are also great to use for feeling, pointing, learning to turn pages, etc.
6. Play yard
Forego the floor seats, activity centers, bouncers, and door jumpers. The most important thing for baby's development is self-initiated movement on the floor. But sometimes we just can't provide that because it isn't safe. A good ol' play yard like this or this is your solution! It will provide a safe wiggle space for baby to move freely and explore, but also allow you to remove all safety concerns and have peace of mind while baby plays inside. Just add some safe toys, and you're set! Total win-win, right? Definitely put this on your list, unless you plan to baby proof your entire house ceiling to wood floor, hourly.
Wondering what you DO NOT need on your baby registry? Be sure to check out THIS LIST.
Also, if you're interested in taking the guesswork out of baby development and optimizing your baby's brain health using gentle parenting practices, checkout MINDFUL Steps To Motor Milestones, my comprehensive guide to building the foundation your baby will want for life.
Until next time, air hugs!
You may also like:
Hi! Austen here. Pediatric OT obsessed with leggings and all things child development. Welcome to my journal! I hope to educate and empower parents and caregivers with science inspired insights, effective strategies, and confidence.