Some Boy is officially seven months old, and rapidly becoming mobile! The period between laying quietly and actively toddling is very fun, and a little bit weird. I've suddenly become extremely aware of floor cleanliness, and formerly harmless items like left-behind paper clips are now death traps. I exclaim things like, “Nate, what is this HAZZARD that just fell out of your pocket?!” Receipts, business cards and buttons are treated as if they're fiery projectiles aiming right at Some Boy's little head. Not only is he able to move and pick things up, but he thinks that everything is a snack (especially now that he eats solid foods). Christmas ornament? Snack. Dad's toes? Lunch. iPhone? Tasty treat. The weirdest part is that he constantly wants to be entertained. He's acclimated to the wonders of the world now and wants more! More tickles, more jumping, more reading. More.
Here are our favorite products for keeping curious crawling babies up off the floor, well-fed and having fun.
Along with crawling and eating comes teething. Some Boy's favorite teething toy is Sophie the Giraffe. This BPA-free teether is made of 100% natural rubber and food paint, and it's just the right texture and hardness to break in his gums when he gnaws on it. When it first arrived, I honestly thought it was just a glorified dog chew toy (it squeaks and everything!). However, I've heard numerous parents marvel over how fantastic this toy is, and it really does the trick during those rough teething days. Some Boy can get the legs all the way in his mouth to reach the back gums, and there's no hazard of choking. Other teethers he likes are freezable ones and and the vibrating ones that massage his gums when he bites down on them.
Sometimes, you need your hands free to wash the dishes, vacuum or provide a little sustenance for yourself. Playpens keep the baby contained for a few minutes so you can focus on something else without worrying that the little dude will wind up trying to jam his nose into an outlet while your back's turned. The Graco Pack ‘N Play is a popular option, but I personally prefer the Joovy (which doesn't have a weight limit) for long-term use. It's sturdier to withstand even the most energetic of babies, and provides a whole 10 square feet for roaming and crawling around. It also packs easily to take along to the park or a trip to visit family.
Once they discover that they're upwardly mobile, babies want you to hold them so they can jump on your lap all day, every day. A jumperoo saves your arms and provides some extra stimulation, with bright colors for them to look at and interactive musical toys. I like the Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo, which is at least $15 cheaper than most. It's the sturdiest I've seen, yet it's surprisingly compact. The seat rotates 360 degrees so baby's free to explore naturally, and it adjusts to three different heights, fitting even the tallest ones like Some Boy. Another good option if you have a very large door frame in your home is a swing. Oma and Opa have the Graco Bumper Jumper over at their house, and Some Boy would swing around in that thing for hours if we left him to his own devices.
After we found ourselves plowing through five or six cloth bibs each day, we invested in a few strong plastic waterproof ones. Now we just wipe them down after each meal, and they're ready for reuse next time around. Bumkins Waterproof Bibs are made with baby-safe products, and they can be thrown in the wash time and time again. These aren't the stiff bibs most of us grew up with – these are soft and lightweight enough to conform to baby's body without crinkling up. Best of all, they have a handy pocket to catch any runaway peas.
I fed Some Boy in my lap a few times before growing weary of finding mashed carrots in every crevice of my clothing. We don't have enough space for a conventional high chair, so we use the Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat. It straps onto one of our existing dinner table chairs, with adjustable height options to grow with the baby. It fits just about any chair, and can easily be folded down and taken along to restaurants. I love that it comes in several colors to fit any decor unobtrusively, and it has a removable tray with a snap-on lid for easy clean up.
A good resource to find feeding and changing solutions for wee ones of any age is Walmart BabySteps. Their online tool lets you select your baby's age and weight, and choose what topic you want to learn about. Then the site shows you video guides and tutorials that are relevant to your baby – whatever stage he or she is in!
I like that that BabySteps displays information based on my baby's specific information. So many places lump all baby products into simplistic categories, but there is a huge difference between the needs of newborns, crawlers and toddlers. I also see a lot of retailers generalizing recommendations solely based on age, but weight plays a big part in product selection as well. Some Boy is seven months old, but he weighs more than the average one-year-old! I'm always having to search out good advice that applies to both his developmental stage and his size, so it's nice to have a resource at my fingertips that takes both into consideration.
This post is sponsored by Walmart BabySteps. All opinions are my own.