Dr. Toy on What's Right for Baby©

Stevanne Auerbach, Dr. Toy!

March 26, 2006 (Revised)

New babies need gentle stimulation, selective entertainment, and constant safety. These criteria need to be an essential part of your attention each and every day as well as anyone else who helps you care for and nurture your baby.

Balance between play and stimulation, quiet and rest, nutritious food and liquids, good music and the avoidance of TV blare are all part of the natural process of nurturing baby.

Parents are the baby's "First Big Toys." Talk, laugh, sing, play games, and have lots of fun together. Add some special items to your baby's experiences when he or she is ready from small musical toy, soft hypoallergenic plush, and a teether with ring.

There are many good resources that give you plenty of support and guidance as a new parent. Check Club Mom and for parenting resources to give you support and answer your questions.

Take time out each day to enjoy the fun of playing together. Remember that you are your baby’s first “Big Toy” and knowing that you provide the first and most important stimulation, mental, physical and emotional support.

You can find simple and inexpensive toys to use at home, in transit, and when you are visiting others. Create in your Travel Tote Bag a good variety of items that will amuse, delight and gently stimulate your baby. Keep a variety of safe and fun toys in your baby travel bag. This bag should contain the essentials you need whenever you are away from home.

Select the products you choose for baby carefully. You can create a suggested “New Baby Gift List” for others who will enjoy making a contribution to your baby’s playtime as they grow. This list is handy as a reference for you to share with friends and family who are looking to find just what you and baby will enjoy the most. It is handy for your baby shower or family gatherings such as your baby’s first birthday.

Here are some of the basics for your gift list:

As babies get older and more coordinated, they're ready for toys that offer more interaction.

A mirror is a great way for the baby to enjoy its image and be entertained. It helps build recognition and social interaction.

Cloth blocks are eagerly gripped and provide easy exercise.

A Crib Gym builds small muscles and coordination. A flexible playmate with overarch can provide safety and stimulation also on the floor.

A Flutter Ball or Chime Ball amuses and focuses attention in the direction of the sound.

When children start walking, they happily use push-and-pull toys as they build those leg muscles.

Shape-sorting boxes teach and give practice with eye-hand skills.

Look for quality products from companies such as Brio, Haba, Fisher-Price, Playskool, Sassy, and Tiny Love.

Examine the product's box for its tested, recommended age range. Be sure your baby is ready for the product.

Some specific safety tip reminders for your baby:

The right toys at the right time will help your baby grow up happy and healthy. My book, Smart Play/Smart Toys, will provide more details on products that are best for baby.

You can find more about the best new toys for babies by frequently reviewing Dr. Toy's Guide, ( for specific suggested products.

Let's play!

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