7 Best Toys for Baby’s First Year

7 Best Toys

hoarding-toysDo you find it overwhelming choosing toys for little ones? There are so many available! As a new mum, I didn’t know where to begin when it came to toys. What was good to have? What was useful and fun? What was a waste of money? I had a vision of a room in my house several years down the line, bursting with toys… not a nice play room but a room from a secret hoarders TV programme!

I thought I would share 7 small toys we found to be the best buys and biggest hits. We try to steer clear of electronic all singing all dancing toys for now. I hope it will be useful for other new parents and anyone shopping for a new baby!

1. Bath Toys

Bath friends make bath time so much fun and are a baby toy essential! The first bath toy we got was the trusty old rubber duck. We got a fancy one with a sensor on to tell you when the bath was too hot- we never used that, I trust my elbows more than any duck! We also got a few extra bath animal friends, which also make good toys for teething babies!

2. Stacking cups

We had, and still have, endless fun with these. You can stack them inside each other, build a tower, bang them together, and bring them in the bath! The ones we  have have four small holes in the bottom, which provide extra bath time entertainment!

sophie Giraffe book

Baby T’s favourite book!

3. Sophie the Giraffe

What list of baby’s toys would be complete without Sophie? She is a bestseller when it comes to teething toys! And she squeaks too! However, I must confess that after hearing other parents rave about her, I did expect her to be a bigger hit than she was (sorry Soph!). Nonetheless, she has provided hours of chewing and, now T is a bit older she loves reading about Sophie’s adventures (I recommend the books by the way!)

4. NUK Butterfly Rattle

This was our number one toy! When she was a few months old, she chewed it. As she got a bit older she shook it. Later, she became fascinated with the yellow and orange rotating ball and would take my hand to make me turn it for her. Now she turns it herself. The Butterfly rattle is also a great church toy, as it is so engaging and the rattle is very gentle.

5. Lamaze Panda

This was another big hit from the early days. The black and white catch baby’s developing eyesight, and it also has a small rattle. Baby T loved the bamboo ribbon! This is also another favourite toy to bring to church.

6. Lamaze Freddy the Firefly

Freddy is the number one toy! Oh wait, I’ve already said the butterfly was number one… well, they are joint number one! Or the butterfly is the number one teething toy and the firefly is the best all round toy. There. That settles it!

Freddy is packed with features- textures, colours, teething rings, flaps, a mirror, a squeaker (so not a great church toy!), he crinkles, and there is a little ring so you can attach him to the pram or car seat. Freddy is a toy packed with small toys. He also grew a personality and turns out he is a very sociable little creature. Other people like playing with him too. When friends and relatives are peering into the pram, entertaining baby, or trying to get a smile, Freddy is a great help!

7. A ball

I was surprised how young T was when she took an interest in balls. We had soft tennis-sized ball, a big multi-sensory ball (which didn’t roll very well), and a beach ball. The best balls turned out to be a set of sensory discovery balls from the Early Learning Centre. There’s plenty textures and noises to keep them interested and they are the perfect size for baby to hold and to roll, which makes them great for chasing after when baby is starting to crawl!

That’s it! Seven top toys for the first year! There are a few bigger things missing from this list- a bouncer, a baby gym, a walker, but I consider those to be more essential baby items than toys! Except the walker. That is the first thing I give away!

And one extra thing…

little lady bagWe received this as a present when Baby T went on her first holiday. Its small, cute and great for packing her favourite toys into when we are on the go or visiting. I never realised how much babies like to take things out of bags and, occasionally, put them back in! This bag is a great way to keep the toys together, and undoing the zip and taking the toys out is just as exciting and fun as playing with them!

What are your favourite toys for children under one year? Any recommendations for the 1-2 age bracket? I would love to hear from you!

Find more 7QT at This Aint the Lyceum!

The Beat of the Heart

The Beat of the Heart #BISsisterhood

I will never forget hearing my baby’s heart for the first time. It was at my first pregnancy appointment with my doctor, around 10 weeks. “Let’s see if we can hear the heartbeat”, the doctor said, reaching for her doppler. Huh? I hadn’t expected to be able to hear my baby’s heartbeat so soon. I lay down nervously and anxiously. What if there was no heartbeat? The doctor searched for a few moments, which seemed like ages, with her listening device. Dumdumdum. A flicker of a heartbeat was amplified by the doppler. The doctor put the doppler back on that spot. Dumdumdumdumdum. That was it. That was my daughter. Dumdumdumdumdum. Throughout the pregnancy, that became a familiar sound at check-ups with my doctor. As the months went by, my nerves subsided and I looked forward to hearing our baby’s heart beat away, getting stronger and louder each visit.

Baby T was born last spring. Happy, healthy, tiny. So tiny. I look at her. I think of her beating heart. Did you know that your heart is about the same size as your fist? Her fist must have been the size of a small strawberry… Life is truly a miracle.

Recently we celebrated the solemnity of the Sacred Heart. I regularly listen to Catholic radio and on this day, there was an interview with three medical doctors who had recently visited Lanciano and had viewed the Eucharistic miracle.

I had never heard of the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano before. The miracle dates back to the year 750. A monk, who doubted the real presence of Jesus, was saying Mass. During the consecration, the host miraculously changed into heart muscle, and the wine turned to blood. The heart can be seen to this day in the cathedral in Lanciano. Studies have confirmed that the flesh and blood is of human origin. The blood type is AB, which matches the blood type on the Turin Shroud. Of course, believers should not need proof. This miracle is a reminder of what happens every time Mass is celebrated.

The host elevated at the consecration. I have a new perspective. I see Jesus Christ’s Sacred Heart. I hear the dumdumdum of a human heartbeat. I look up. Jesus I love you. Thank you for your sacrifice on the cross for our salvation.

This post is part of the Blessed Is She link-up on the theme of heart.