My youngest baby is officially five months old, and rapidly becoming mobile! Ahhhh! Here are the products for crawling babies that I use to help with their development at this age.
The period in-between laying quietly and actively toddling is very fun, a little bit weird, and full of unceasing movement.
Once again, I've become overtly 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 HAZARD that just fell out of your pocket?!” Receipts, business cards and buttons are treated as if they're fiery projectiles aiming right at his little head. Not only is he able to move and pick things up, but he thinks that everything is a snack. LEGO? 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.
Being that he's our fourth baby, we're pretty well-prepared for this phase. I'd say I've tested just about every baby gear item out there, and for crawling babies I've found that there are three BIG essentials I rely on every single day.
Here are my minimalist picks for keeping crawling babies entertained without a ton of fuss.
Baby Play Pen
Sometimes, you need your hands free to wash dishes, vacuum or provide a little sustenance for yourself. Play pens can keep a crawling baby contained for a few minutes so you can focus on something else without worrying that the little dude will try to jam his nose into an outlet. The Graco Pack n Play Playard Sport has a ton of room while still being super-lightweight, and it has a handy sunshade that keeps the bugs off baby when we're outdoors.
I absolutely adore the side zipper, which gives me fast access to him when the cover's on so I'm not unstrapping a bunch of stuff to get at my child in a hurry. It comes in handy when we opt to use this space as a nap area for the 2-year-old, too, so he doesn't feel like he's trapped in there. When you're still using it years later, that's a sure sign of a versatile baby product! Best of all? It packs up in a snap to take along to the park or a trip to visit family. With an easy tote bag and straightforward setup, you have more time and energy to devote to the little ones!
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 jumper saves your arms and gets their energy out so they nap HARD. Exercise for him, and a chance for me to catch my breath. I call that a win all-around! It also provides some extra mental stimulation, with bright colors for them to look at and interactive toys.
I like the Graco Bumper Jumper, which hangs from a household door jamb and can be moved from room-to-room in a flash (no screwing or unscrewing anything). We also have a large tree branch on a willow outside, and I've been known to hang it from there on occasion! I bet I could even configure some sort of stand for it for when we camp. Seriously, this thing is a lifesaver.
Portable High Chair
You'll feed your baby in your lap just once or twice before growing weary of finding mashed carrots in every crevice of your clothing. High chair to the rescue! I love this no-fuss small-profile high chair from Graco. It's called the Toddler Booster, but it can be used with any little one as soon as they're able to sit up unassisted. It straps onto one of our existing dinner table chairs, with an adjustable back to fit growing babies of varying sizes. It fits just about any chair, and can easily be folded down and taken along to restaurants.
Bam technically can sit up unassisted, but he doesn't stay that way for very long just yet. He inevitably starts laughing at something or someone and throws his balance out of whack. This kid is the smiliest, most entertained child I've seen. No big shocker, though – he has three big brothers who are a total riot and two goofballs for parents! Anyway, for now we're practicing with short stints on the floor and taking it when we go visit friends or go out to restaurants so he has a clean spot to hang out. As he gets older and starts eating more solid food, it'll take its regular place at our table.
With an adjustable back, it can fit growing babies of varying sizes and is guaranteed to get a TON of use for years to come! I love that it fits onto just about any regular kitchen chair. It also comes in several colors to fit any decor unobtrusively, and the straps/backing portion can be removed for older kids who just need a quick boost.
What's your must-have pick for crawling babies?