Athena’s first gift guide! Since the holidays are approaching I thought I’d share Athena’s favorite things she has been using over the last four months. I know gift guides can be overwhelming so I am really just sharing what we have used and can actually give good reviews on. Whether you are shopping for Christmas or looking to add things to your registry because you are expecting.
Baby Bjorn and Attachment – Designed for ages 0-2 years!
Athena has loved her bouncer from the first time we put her in it, but I started noticing that she was a little bored. Adding the toy bar added a new level of play and excitement for her. The toy bar is sold separately. It folds down easily, making it great for storage if you live in a small space or you’d like to travel with it.
Once your baby hits 20 lbs and can sit up unaided it converts into a comfy children’s chair.
Baby Swing– Designed for babies 0-9 months!
We have the Ingenuity swing and rocker, a 2 in 1! We have been using this since she was a few weeks old. She not only loves the swinging and rocking motion but the music and mirror she can look at above. Swings are soothing for a baby and help to give us a little break from holding her. The rocker detaches from the swing and vibrates. I like to put her in the rocker when I am getting ready. She can play with a rattle or a crinkle book and keep herself entertained for twenty minutes while still being right next to me.
Fischer Price Delux Kick and Play Piano – This is by far Athena’s favorite toy at the moment. I swear she stares at it when she is not playing with it. Not only are the tunes catchy, but this toy is great as she progresses in age. Your baby can use this toy for tummy time, laying and playing, sitting and playing and the piano detaches so they can move around the house with it as they grow up.
Lightweight and easy to bring with you to Grandma’s house!
Little Bot play mat – This is the newest addition. Now that Athena is rolling from her stomach to back and back to stomach I wanted a surface in our living room since it is all hardwood that gave her more space to play on. It was important for me to find a mat that was non-toxic. PVC or Vinyl is one of the number one materials to avoid with kids and babies, which this mat is free of.
Other non-toxic play mat brands we looked at were Gathre, Toki and Toddle and Kind.
Lovevery Play Gym – One of the more expensive play gyms on the market, but one of the most used toys in our house. What I love about Lovevery is the developmental-based play. We have watched Athena explore following the black and white cards, seeing herself in the mirror for the first time, hearing the sounds of the wooden rattle, and learning to spin the attached ball. We use this often for tummy time. Another great thing about lovevery is the subscription boxes they offer. We recently just signed up. For me, I am overwhelmed with the choices when it comes to baby toys so this helps me to ensure I have what I need.
Designed for babies 0-12 months!
Baby Swaddles/ Transition Swaddles/ Sleep Sacks
Safe sleep is extremely important in our house and I thought it’s an important addition to this gift guide. I didn’t realize before I had a baby how many different items a baby could sleep in during the first six months. There are so many items on the market to choose from. Every baby is different, but these are the ones that worked for us. We used these in this order through each sleep transition she had.
Swaddle Me original swaddles – These were our most used swaddles aside from the hospital swaddle. They were easy to get on and off. Also, made diaper changes in the middle of the night simple. The velcro closure makes it easy for anyone who has a hard time using a traditional blanket to swaddle their baby.
Ollie Swaddle – When I first started researching swaddles I had lots of friends tell me about this brand. It’s so popular that you have to enter a lottery most times to even purchase one of the swaddles. Athena didn’t love these with her arms down (again every baby is different). She loved being wrapped in the ollie swaddle with her arms out as we were transitioning out of the traditional swaddle. The story of how the Ollie Swaddle was created, is also incredible.
Magic Merlin – She looked like a little marshmallow in this. Aside from getting lots of giggles when she wore this it was the perfect transition for us from a swaddle to a traditional sleep sack. Athena had a strong reflex with her arms during naps and at night and would often wake herself up. The magic merlin made it possible for her to get used to having her arms out. Suitable for ages three months and older. Designed for back sleeping only once they show signs of rolling please stop using.
Kyte Baby Sleep Sack – We have officially transitioned Athena to her sleepsack. We love the material of all Kyte baby products. The bamboo is incredibly soft. They have a huge line of colors to choose from and there are different weights based on the temperature of your home.
Sleepers and Onesies
Babies are constantly being changed. I wanted to share in this gift guide a few tips I learned along the way as well as some of our favorite brands. When choosing a sleeper look for ones with two-way double zippers and fold-over mittens. The two-way double zipper allows for easier diaper changes so you don’t have to completely undress your little one. I love that with the fold-over mittens it’s one less thing you have to carry around with you. Newborns and infants grow out of items so quickly. The Old Navy sleepers fit all our above needs and are priced reasonably.
Other brands we liked for sleepers and onesies:
Personalized and Unique Gifts
Below are some personalized items we were gifted or bought for Athena for Christmas. This is also a great way to support some small businesses around the holidays.
Stocking – Something she will have all of her life. We ordered these for our family from Etch Craft on Etsy.
Oranments – Growing up every vacation we went on or a momentous occasion that happened my parents bought us an ornament. Now as they have handed me down all of my ornaments it’s one giant trip down memory lane when I look at my Christmas tree. These are the two personalized ornamanets we ordered for a Baby’s First Christmas. Here and Here.
Pajamas– We ordered the My First Christmas pajamas pictured on this guides cover photo from Mommy and Jack boutique on Etsy.
Busy Board – There are so many to choose from and you can also get them personalized. This is something we are asking for someone to buy for Athena. We love this one from Busy Board by Sivo on Etsy. This is a great sensory and learning activity for babies and toddlers!
Storybook – Athena was gifted two I See Me books when she was born and we love them! I ordered a first Christmas one for her to add to the collection.
A custom name puzzle – We received this as a gift. It’s great to develop motor skills, color and shape recognition. Plus they add a cute element to your nursery decor.
Babies definitely need things to progress forward in their development and to sleep safely. But I have been thinking for this Christmas and beyond how I’d love for people to gift us experiences. Instead of adding additional links to this gift guide, I wanted to give you other ideas. You can ask for or gift a yearly membership to the zoo, a museum, an aquarium, or a contribution to a 529 plan for college.
There are a lot of things on the market but I wanted to share what we actually used. I hope if you came across this gift guide if you are expecting, a new mom or dad, a grandparent, friend, or family member that this gave you some ideas for what to buy the new little one in your life.
Maria, and Athena