Since my son has turned 15 months old and now walks and runs on his own, I would like to share my TOP favorite and useful baby gear I personally love and recommend during the first year that have helped Sultan develop his motor skills.
I have been constantly on hunt for developmental toys and gear since birth of my son, Sultan. Given the variety of brands and baby gear products available on the market, it is tempting to fall into the marketing techniques, colorful gear and just give in to buying unnecessary or at least non-essential products, which baby could otherwise develop well without. Over the first year since birth of my son, I have managed to identify and pick minimal, yet useful gear that would not just lay around the house without use, but be functional and aid Sultan’s motor skills efficiently and safely.
Before I go on with the list, I would like to mention that I have not been endorsed by any brand or company. So, some of our most used and favorite baby gear are:
- Baby Activity Play Mat & Gym. I could not go without this colorful play mat a single day during my son’s first 4 months or more. Regardless of the brand, most of the play mats/gyms come with multifunctional features, such as, contrasting bright and dark colors, fabric textures and several attachable animal toys, which are both, visually and physically highly engaging for babies. This mat helped Sultan develop his basic motor skills. He soon learned to roll from side to side, kick the dangling animal toys with his feet, learn to differentiate between bright and dark colors and most importantly (for me) it kept him busy for at least few hours a day.
- Graco Travel System Click Connect™. Very practical and long lasting stroller + car seat. The main feature that attracted me in this travel system is that we did not need to wake up Sultan if he fell asleep in his car seat during a car trip to have him taken out of the car seat. This car seat is made to audibly click onto the stroller that came with it, which means baby can continue sleeping in the car seat which eventually goes on top of the stroller and secures itself safely. It is most useful for parents with babies below 6 months old, since all they do is continuously sleep:) The other cool feature is that the stroller can grow with the baby. The stroller also comes with huge storage space below the baby’s seat, which can accommodate pretty much many grocery items during a quick shopping. Although Sultan is no longer willing to sit in this stroller, we are still using the car seat. To summarize, this is probably the best baby gear on the market at affordable budget that can offer so many features all in one.
- Baby Carrier from Baby BJORN. This one is NOT supposed to make it to this list. I had already mentioned that I prefer to buy minimal but practical baby gear, which in this case I failed to stick to. Ever since I bought this carrier (never mind it looks cool and easy to carry the baby in) I have barely used it thrice or less. First of all, it takes forever to have it worn around my waist and chest, secondly it is pretty hard to have the baby put inside without additional 2 hands. Although it has served me a couple of times while grocery shopping with Sultan in it, I would definitely avoid buying this or any other similar carrier. Also it is not very comfortable to wear for long, as my back muscles would ache just after 20 minutes of wearing it. Another drawback of this carrier is that it is overpriced and is of no more use once baby walks on his own.
- Chicco PocketSnack Booster Seat. Most amazing, space saving, affordable, functional and fun gear I have ever purchased. It still served us good. We almost regularly use this booster seat while feeding Sultan and he has a lot of fun in it as we serve his food on the little table attached to the seat. Best feature of this booster seat is that it is attachable to “almost” any regular highchair etc,, since it comes with safety straps to secure/fasten the seat stable in place. Absolutely love this gear and we are planning to keep using it up until Sultan learns to sit in a chair without being fastened. It is also very affordable as far as I can recall. Our booster seat is in Mint Blue color.
- Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker or Push Walker. I cannot remember the brand or company we got this interactive walker from, however, it has been the best gear we ever invested in. It is very affordable and proved to be educative too. As Sultan took his initial independent steps, this walker assisted him and kept him busy playing with all sorts of geometric toys that come with it. One important thing to mention is that an adult’s supervision is necessary at all times. Although Sultan was well walking with this push walker independently, I would still recommend keeping an eye at all times. I believe this walker was very helpful and allowed Sultan to walk around the house without our intervention. This push walker is hands down our most favorite gear. At least now I know I am going to buy a similar gear for my next baby.
These were a couple of our TOP favorite baby gear (except the baby carrier Baby BJORN). If you would like share your best baby gear during the first year, and reasons why you would recommend them, please let me know down in the comments section.