I recently did a poll on my Instagram stories to see if any of you were interested in hearing about the toys and various items Lucy fell in love with her first year of life! There were tons of you that wanted to know... so see below for our absolute must-haves for the first year (in no particular order)!
1) White Noise Machine (aka OLGA) - This. This this this. When Lucy was born, she had colic. She screamed most of the hours of each day and night and we barely survived (I seriously need a bumper sticker that reads "We survived colic".) (; Anyway, a friend recommended us to watch a video called Happiest Baby on the Block (available on Amazon), and it just pumped fresh hope in us! One of the things Dr. Harvey Karp recommends in this video is white noise. He mentions that the womb is louder than a vacuum and the sound of white noise is extremely comforting to babies -- and he was right! We were shocked at her immediate response to it. So we bought the Dohm which we kept (and still have) in our room and also bought the portable Rohm so we would never be without it. We have a video of 4-week old screaming Lucy and within seconds of turning on the white noise machine, she was completely calm (couldn't figure out how to upload it here since there's no URL for it, sad face). But this became our go-to in order to calm her and she responded almost instantly nearly every time. Not only that, but as she got older, it became a sleep cue for her. She knows its time to nap/sleep when we turn on "Olga" (a name we joke Lucy said repeatedly when she was a few months old). To this day, we NEVER leave home without Olga - she's a permanent member of our family! Lucy used to contest Olga whenever she was on, see below. (;
2) DockaTot - Lucy has been sleeping in her DockaTot since she was 10 weeks old. There is no product on the market like it, that I have found! With some hard work in the sleep scheduling realm and other than a few development-related sleep regressions, she's been sleeping through the night since 4.5 months. We strongly believe a lot of this has to do with her beloved DockaTot! She finds comfort in it so much so, that we have to travel with it. We take it with us and she sleeps solid through the night in ANY environment, or she wakes every 1-2 hours without it. We've tested it many times. It is her comfort and her safe space and I will be using this with all my children!
3) Indestructibles Books - I had never heard of these until a friend gifted them to Lucy! They are rip-proof and washable and really fun textures for the babies to play with. Very colorful, too! Best gift ever! And a great option for car rides.
4) Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker - I am a huge fan of investing in toys that babies don't grow out of after a few months, and this was one of those! Lucy showed ZERO interest in sitting unassisted for what felt like forever! Until.. we were at a friend's house and they had this walker. She finally sat up on her own for a long time just playing with the face of the toy, and I was just floored! I went home immediately and ordered one. Lucy played with this toy from probably 5 months and on. There are so many songs and sounds to play with, and you can even remove the face of it to be set on the floor or elsewhere. When Lucy could pull to standing, she fell in love with this even more. It's definitely a must!
5) Stackable Wooden Rings - This is another toy that Lucy has loved for several months. I know there are plastic versions available, but I'm so glad I chose the wooden set on a whim, because she loves the sound the wood makes when she clinks the pieces together! And, after lots of hard work on our part, she now knows how to get each ring on to the stick (though, we're still working on the top piece)! Now, we will continue working on learning the colors. (:
6) VTech Remote Control - What baby doesn't love a fun remote?! I see all the babies gravitate toward them. Of course, she knows the difference between the real TV remote and her remote, but this is a close second. (; We take it with us in the car, too, and it keeps her busy for a good while! Honest moment: the songs get old really fast. BUT. What parent doesn't say that about their kid's toys? (; But I'd take annoying songs over a cranky baby any day.
7) Wonder Weeks App - OK this is not an item but an app that I could not live without! Lucy is a child who feels everything very strongly, both emotionally and physically. She's my sensitive girl. That being said, I could not have lived without this app! Much like babies go through several growth spurts the first 2 years of life, Wonder Weeks (WW) explains the mental leaps they also go through, and its all based on each week of life. Each WW brings a significant amount of brain development, often leaving babies to cry more, be extra clingy and extra cranky. Each WW lasts about 5 weeks, and for Lucy, the first week was always the worst. She would be extremely cranky and fight her naps all week and even in to the second. It was a tremendous help to know that a WW was coming because we weren't left wondering why she was so derailed. Plus, you can follow along with all the things their brains are learning! Lucy has hit every big milestone (rolling over, crawling, pulling to standing, walking) during the first week of various WW's. It is incredible! Something just clicks in her brain. So it was super helpful to follow along and even know what to look for. (: There is also a book but I have not read it.