Now that your little dear is no longer teeny, you are going to need MORE stuff.
A jumper– we use this one from Evenflo, and everyone loves it. Mabel likes jumping and spinning and making the sounds sound and lights light, and we like that it doesn’t take up too much room, like most of them do, and hangs from the door. It’s great when we are cooking, especially. She gets to be a part of the action, and we can get the food prepared.
A walker– The Chomp and Clack Alligator Push Toy by Melissa and Doug is our walker of choice. It chomps AND clacks and helps Mabel walk. The best is when she walks in front of a mirror–she waves at herself like she is in a parade. She has something like this at daycare and really likes it.
Toys– Mabel will play with anything. Her favorite “toy” right now is a coaster. That being said, in terms of baby-specific toys, we like these Fill and Spill toys from Melissa and Doug (we have bugs and fish, and both are adorable, although the antennae on the bugs can be a little scratchy) and this abacus (it’s never too early for math!). I hear we are supposed to be opposed to plastic toys, but we are huge fans of stackable cups (Grandma Judy has this one, and Mabel loved it, especially the little ball on top), this rainbow stacker, and any type of key. Mabel also likes to rub her face into her stuffed animals. This little bunny from Jellycat makes for a perfect bedtime friend.
Teething– the teething gets really bad around 3-4 months and doesn’t ever seem to stop until the teeth are in place. Mabel will chomp on anything (couch, remote control, fingers), but in terms of actual teethers, we like the ubiquitous Sophie la Giraffe and recommend a vibrating teether (we had the strawberry too, but Mabel threw into one of our fancy British Airways seat/beds, and it was never recovered). Many friends have recommended these food teethers too, but we just ended up giving her cold carrots and celery to gum, per our pediatrician’s recommendation.
Books– Touch and feel all the way. I think Mabel is disappointed in books that aren’t touch and feel. We really like the “That’s Not My” series and have found the Baby Touch and Feel series to be a little disappointing in terms of the amount of touch space on each page. Although they aren’t touch and feel, the international food book series from Amy Wilson Sanger is just adorable. We have all of them: sushi, Mexican, Italian, dim sum, Indian, Jewish, and soul food. (They make great gifts too.)
Shoes– do you know babies who are on the move need rubber-soled shoes? I just learned this actually, now that Mabel is on the move. I surveyed my momma friends, and the consensus seems to be Stride Rite and Run Kai Run have the best shoes for little, active feet.
Food–we make our own food, for the most part (and I intend to post about that), but when we are travelling, we like to have take pouches with us because they don’t require a spoon and pack easily. I also throw one in her lunchbox for daycare in case she is especially hungry. Our favorite brand so far is Happy Tot, and we have a subscription to receive 16 pouches of sweet potato, apple, and carrot every other month. The green bean, pear, and pea mix is good too, and it gets her to tolerate peas better than other pouches and jars with peas in them. The Happy Tot pouches offer a decent portion size, and when she was smaller and just starting out with food, we used the smaller, less complex Happy Baby pouches. The banana, beet, blueberry was one of her favorites. These small pouches from Plum were okay when she was just starting out with food, but we careful because there are more ingredients than just blueberries and quinoa (banana, apple juice, etc.). We also use prepared cereal because it is iron-fortified. We have only tried Earth’s Best so far. We have both the rice and the multi-grain, and it is definitely worth it to buy in bulk because you go through the boxes pretty quickly. I don’t buy the version with fruit in it though–we just add our own. I also like to keep jars of prunes on hand in case of baby blockage. (And of course, puffs, which are also from Happy Tot, and Mum Mums.)
Dishes– you can put the food in anything, really, but we have these bowls from Tomy and these cubes from Sprout for daycare. We have had no leaks so far, and they all fit well into her lunchbox. The cubes are also good for extra storage in the freezer. We are still working on cups: I like this little straw one from Thermos because leakage is limited and this one from Zoli because she can hold it herself. We have these sippy cups from Tupperware, per Amanda’s recommendation, but we are still working on getting Mabel to hold it herself.
A place to eat– right now, she eats in her Bumbo, but as my New Year’s resolution is to use our dinner table as a place to eat rather than a place to put stuff, we will hopefully be using the eating seat my co-worker recommended soon (kinda hideous, I know). We didn’t get a high chair because we don’t have the space, so the seat is nice because it just straps onto one of our regular chairs. Highchair-wise though, I hear good things about the Stokke, as it grows with the baby and can be used through early childhood.
Lunchbox– so cute, Skip hop, so cute.
And, of course, the ladies at Rookie Moms have some recommendations for bigger babies too. They are pretty much the same as ours content-wise, but they also discuss such issues as when to buy new versus accepting hand-me-downs.