When we were registering for baby gear, I asked a lot of my friends with babies what their essentials were. Predictably, everyone had a completely different list. Some loved one brand over another, some insisted I would never use the very item another friend said was invaluable. I found myself confused and feeling like I had over-registered. And to an extent, I probably did.
Eli is 5.5 months now and he is just starting to be really interested in toys. If you put him on the floor with a few toys around him, he’ll roll over and grab at least one, sometimes multiple and play, contentedly, for upwards of 20-30 minutes. It’s pretty much the awesomest phase and also one of the coolest things to watch. And as we’ve worked through our stash of baby toys and baby gear, it has become very apparent that there are 10 items that my son cannot (figuratively) live without. At least not happily, that is…
I’ve included all the links to the items and just as a disclaimer, I paid for or received these as gifts from friends and make zero profit off linking you to them. Just thought it would be mean to say my kid loves something and not provide the opportunity for someone else’s baby to enjoy them too!
Swing 1 of 10Let me just knock the one really expensive item out of the way first. My son loves, LOVES, his swing. There are times where he is fussy, where we exhaust all our normal distraction methods, all our smile inducing tricks and it just isn't happening. So we put him in the swing. And 95% of the time, he starts giggling. And squealing. And otherwise making us feel horribly unloved. I kid. I think he needs his alone time and he loves the swing for those opportunities.
Buy this Fisher-Price cradle swing for $134.99, or this one that uses a plug for $126.97 both on Amazon
Crib Mobile 2 of 10Notably, Eli is not sleeping in his crib yet (that will be happening in OMG 10 days...), but each night before his bath, I put him in his swing and turn on his mobile. The time right before a bath tends to be when he is at his unhappiest (which for him is typically a little whining, we are very lucky), and so he needs distraction. He loves his bath, but previously, the 5-10 minutes it took to get everything set up were the recipe for a major meltdown. But not so now. He will gleefully lay underneath his mobile for 10 minutes, cooing and talking with all his little pirate animals. (Yes, the cat used to be a big fan, too.)
Buy this Kids Line mobile for $37.66 on Amazon
Crinkle Toys 3 of 10I change most of Eli's diapers on the changing mat on the living room floor and next to this is a bag where we put all his non-smelly diapers. We don't like to waste the space in the diaper genie bags when these don't create an odor and the target bags are free and plentiful. And a few weeks ago I noticed that Eli was sort of obsessed with grabbing and crinkling the bags. Over and over and over. He would be so sleepy first thing in the morning while I was changing his clothes and he would reach over and crinkle away anyway. So we pulled out a few toys with crinkles (this duck is a major favorite) and he is in love. We have ordered a few more to beef up his supply because he just loves them to pieces.
Buy these toys for $14 on Pottery Barn Kids
Baby Gym 4 of 10Much like the mobile, Eli loves to lay under the arches of his play mat. We have a few extra toys hanging from there and the mirror (he adores the mirror) to keep him entertained. He'll certainly play on a blanket too, but he loves to lay and look up at his toys...right until he rolls over. And then he loves the bright colors of the mat as well.
Buy this Infantino baby gym for $39.99 on Amazon
O Balls 5 of 10I had never heard of these before having Eli, but they are awesome. It was one of the first toys he ever interacted with because it's the easiest toy to grab. It's a ball, made of os. He has two, a round one that he likes okay and a football shaped one, that he prefers because it has pointed edges he can put in his mouth. It's the perfect toy for little hands that aren't so coordinated. It's been a 2 month love affair, so far.
Buy this Rhino Toys ball for $9.99 on Amazon
Carseat Birdy 6 of 10Despite being 5-months-old, Eli is still too small to ride in his regular stroller seat comfortably. I think we've nearly reached that point, but because of this, we just clip his car seat in instead. And to keep him entertained while we're strolling, we keep a little toy Velcro-ed to the handle. It makes a little jingling noise and is stretchy so he can pull the leg and get the foot into his mouth (this is a trend we've unsurprisingly noticed more this month). Whenever he seems to be getting bored, all we have to do is jingle the bird and he perks right up.
Buy this Sassy car seat toy for $12.99 on Amazon
Monkey Blanket 7 of 10This is Glen, as in Glen his monkey friend. The name is entirely my husband's doing, but Eli loves Glen. He naps with Glen, he would sleep with Glen if he didn't have a particularly relentless desire to always have Glen covering his face, which stresses me out to no end. Eli is so in love with Glen that we bought an extra one, for the times when he drops Glen on restaurant floors and my germ phobia prevents me from feeling comfortable giving him back without washing him. He just loves that little monkey blanket.
Buy this Angel Dear blanket for $11.46 on Amazon
Plastic Rings 8 of 10These are the cheapest and easiest baby toy ever. They're more used to connect things together, but my baby loves them all by themselves. He likes to pull on them when they're hanging, bang them on surfaces or chew on them when he's laying down with a few. They're crazy cheap, dishwasher safe, and a huge hit in this house.
Buy this Bright Starts toy for $4.99 on Amazon
Pacifier Clip 9 of 10After the 400th time Eli dropped his pacifier on the floor, I sought out a leash I could clip to his clothes. Because he insists upon only ever using Soothie pacifiers, this is the only leash that works and we love love love it. Just recently, Eli has also taken a liking to it and now likes to chew on the leash itself, which his mother is not a huge fan of, but in the end, we both love the leash quite a lot.
Buy this Booginhead pacifier clip for $4.99 on Amazon
Taggies Toys 10 of 10I never understood all the rage about taggies before having a baby. I mean, I find tags particularly annoying and love how many brands of clothing have taken to stamping sizes onto the fabric, why would anyone want a whole blanket of tags? Oh how wrong I was. Eli has a taggies football and he loves it. He likes to play with the tags between his fingers and when he can coordinate it, he loves to chew on the taggies as well. It is just icing on the cake that it has a plastic ring hooked onto it as well.
Buy this Taggies toy for $19.49 on Amazon
I imagine his tastes will evolve with time, so I’ll try to update the list at some point in the future. These are Eli’s favorites, what are/were your child’s must have toys or other items?