Let's Talk Toys! Tips for 6 Months to 12 Months!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

(This is a two part series! Check last week for Part One: birth to 6 months!)

Toys have so many great benefits! They bring joy, concentration, and education for children of all ages. Even adults can’t resist a good toy, like a new high-tech blender for the kitchen or a cool solar powered lawn mower for the yard. But when it comes time to build that baby registry and fill that nursery with toys for your expected baby, parents find it so difficult to choose the “right” ones from the thousands of toys out there on the market today. But it really doesn’t need to be that hard! You don’t need the newest addition of baby toys. Knowing what stage of development your baby is in and how to use the toys you have is the key to success when playing with your child during their first year. We are going to help you navigate that! I am going to break down the major developmental milestones of your baby’s first year of life and a few toys that can help foster that development. Playtime is going to be so fun for you and your baby!

6-9 Months

Your baby has a personality and it’s starting to show! They want to tell you things, show you new tricks, and are trying to make sense of the world around them. Babies are so curious at this age and we really want to encourage that curiosity through their play and social interactions. Play becomes more purposefully during the last half of a baby’s first year. Toys for this age remain focused on motor and language development and include a cause and effect reaction. Let’s see your baby show off a little!
O Ball creates a variety of toys similar to this one, including balls, rattles, etc. This specific one is great because it can be introduced and used appropriately at any age. The flexible “mesh” like top makes it easy for kids to manipulate on their own and with a playmate. They can hold it, shake it, and practice transferring it between each hand. The car feature will be so interesting to your baby. They may enjoy rolling it across the floor and will watch as the beads rattle in the wheels. Playing a passing game with your baby using this toy will promote social interactions through turn-taking. Don’t forget to model language during that back and forth play like using a “Ready, set, go!” narration as you pass the car!

I love these alternative stacking “blocks.” The weighted ball shape gives it a more interesting dynamic for your baby to explore. They can stack them in many ways and watch as it creates a more visually interesting structure when adding one on top of the other. This toy is great for babies to work on their fine motor skills and coordinate to avoid knocking it down. Your baby can stack, roll, spin, and transfer the different sized pieces as part of their play. I’ve seen many babies occupy themselves with this toy for extended periods of time. It’s fun for both your baby, and the caregiver!
    9 to 12 Months

    Your baby is closing in on those last few months of their first year and boy have they learned a lot! Time really does fly and it can sometimes be nostalgic to think about everything that’s happened leading up to this point. You and your baby have been through a lot together and there is still so much to learn and grow from. By now, your baby has preferences, understands more language, and is continuously learning, thinking and problem solving. Play should still be fun, but also challenging. We want to support your baby to achieve things like hand eye coordination, first words, and sustained attention.

    Here are some toys that can help with that:


    This is twist on the modern classic I am sure most of us grew up with and loved. I know I did! At this age, your baby should now understand the idea of object permanence or the idea that when things disappear they are not gone forever. Your baby will love the surprise of the hungry caterpillar popping out of the box. The music provides an auditory stimulus your baby will learn to recognize before anticipating the pop up surprise. Try turning it the majority of the way and then encouraging your baby to finish. They eventually can use their developed fine motor skills and hand eye coordination to turn the toy completely by themselves. This toy is sure to bring many belly laughs!

    There are many, many, many, varieties of this toy. The classic shape sorter! I love this one because of its wooden material and simplicity. The more durable, eco-friendly material will last through your child’s first few years of life and into those pre-academic stages of learning. You can encourage your baby to put the correct shapes in the holes by pointing out where they go or letting them explore it on their own. The open top makes it easy for a baby to dump and fill - another great play skill babies love to show off. To promote gross motor development, put the shapes on top of the couch and encourage your baby to pull themselves up to stand and cruse along the length of the couch to collect each shape and dump into the box.
    Remember, playtime is important during your baby’s first year of life, but it should still be fun! Everyday objects around the house are just as good as an overpriced toy from your local toy store. Fill a water bottle with rice to make a rattle or have fun with an empty (or full) tissue box. Use playtime as an excuse to bond with your baby and don’t stress about what they may or may not be learning. Babies will naturally learn through play and we as parents just need to provide our tiny humans the time and space to explore that playtime environment!
    Post written by Caitlin LeBeau, TBH Team Member & Doula

    Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 


    Let's Talk Toys! Tips for Birth to 6 Months

    Wednesday, October 23, 2019


    (This is a two part series! Check back for part two 6 months to 12 months next week!)

    Toys have so many great benefits! They bring joy, concentration, and education for children of all ages. Even adults can’t resist a good toy, like a new high-tech blender for the kitchen or a cool solar powered lawn mower for the yard. But when it comes time to build that baby registry and fill that nursery with toys for your expected baby, parents find it so difficult to choose the “right” ones from the thousands of toys out there on the market today. But it really doesn’t need to be that hard! You don’t need the newest addition of baby toys. Knowing what stage of development your baby is in and how to use the toys you have is the key to success when playing with your child during their first year. We are going to help you navigate that! I am going to break down the major developmental milestones of your baby’s first year of life and a few toys that can help foster that development. Playtime is going to be so fun for you and your baby!

    Birth-3 Months

    Yes! Your babies do more than just eat, poop, and sleep during these first few months! Play doesn’t need to look like this big production and toy explosion. Having a few good toy staples will be super beneficial for both your sanity and your baby’s development. During this stage of development, we want to think about the motor development of both your baby’s large and small muscles and the start of their social interactions like responding to familiar voices, sounds and people.

    Here are a few toys to consider when thinking about play time in those first few months:
    I love this mirror because it is versatile and visually stimulating. Although your baby won’t recognize themselves yet, they will be so interested in that silly baby looking back at them. The contrasting colors are easy for your baby to see and the different pictures and shapes it comes with will spark their curiosity. Your baby will want to grab at the mirror’s reflection and they will begin to reach out to it to explore it more. Use this during tummy time to encourage baby to lift their head and look at themselves. Strengthening your baby’s neck muscles is so important for head control and later gross motor skills. This mirror is a must have if you have a fussy baby during tummy times. 
    I can’t say enough good things about crinkle paper. It is simple yet so developmentally stimulating and interesting for your baby! This toy really wakes up a baby’s senses in the best way. Babies learn about their environment through touch and sound. This toy is safe for babies to mouth, chew, grasp and shake. You can even play a little peekaboo with your baby using this paper as motivation to look for your face. Watch them smile when you reappear! 
    3 to 6 Months
    This is such a fun age for both parents and babies! Your baby is more alert and responsive to their environment. They are making more sounds, using facial expressions and learning how to navigate their surroundings better. Your baby is working so hard during play and you may not even realize it! During this stage, we are thinking about how to foster that language development and continuing to support gross motor skills through, you guessed it, more tummy time!!

    Here are a few toys to consider during months 3 to 6:

    Introducing a play mat will be helpful when encouraging your babes to tolerate tummy time for longer periods of time. This mat is awesome because it provides a few different support options depending on what position is most comfortable for your baby and where they are in development, whether it’s working on rolling, independent sitting or crawling. It allows for toy attachments and a mirror to make their experience more interactive and motivating. Your baby will be mastering those gross motor skills in no time!


    It may seem silly to read books to your child at such young age but it is totally appropriate and encouraged even before birth! Reading to your baby is a great way for them to recognize your voice, learn about speech patterns, and enhances a baby’s exposure to vocabulary and memory. This book is usually a hit with our younger crowd due to its interesting designs and high-contrast images. Don’t let the lackluster narration on each page detour you! You can assign your own language to each picture as you and your baby read together. Talk about what you see, what it reminds you of, and assign silly sounds or noises that are appropriate for each picture. The more you talk the more your baby will listen and absorb your language. They may even imitate a sound or two! Add books to your library for more variety during your play routine.
    Remember, playtime is important during your baby’s first year of life, but it should still be fun! Everyday objects around the house are just as good as an overpriced toy from your local toy store. Fill a water bottle with rice to make a rattle or have fun with an empty (or full) tissue box. Use playtime as an excuse to bond with your baby and don’t stress about what they may or may not be learning. Babies will naturally learn through play and we as parents just need to provide our tiny humans the time and space to explore that playtime environment!
    Post written by Caitlin LeBeau, TBH Team Member & Doula

    Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 



    Learning how to Let Go (In Parenthood & Beyond)

    Wednesday, October 16, 2019

    (HeHe's article is published for Birch Baby HERE in its entirety.)

    When someone says something is bigger than you, a natural instinct is to be bigger than whatever is bigger than you, right? Wrong. That will only lead to a vicious and very unhealthy cycle. However, there are a few things you can do. I wish I could say, "take this magic pill and all your troubles will go away." (*cue my wanting to save the whole world complex*) I don't have a special pill, but I do have a few words of advice about what I've learned to do. 


    • Remind Yourself. Constantly remind yourself of what you have learned and why this is bigger than you. Whether that look like, "They are not a good person and no matter how nice I am to them, they won't change," or "This person needs more help than I can provide them and they aren't open to speaking with anyone new," or maybe even a little self-preservation of "I just can't continue to support this person because it is so negative and it is affecting my personal life/relationships." 
    • Do Some Soul Searching. When something doesn't sit right with us, it is important to search within yourself to understand why. It is important to understand your own triggers and your own boundaries when working with other people. Understanding this about yourself can help you be aware of when someone is getting close to crossing those lines, advocate for yourself and set your limits and expectations. 
    • Talk About It. Find someone you can trust and someone who understands and talk. Talk it through with that person. It's helpful if that person will challenge your thoughts to help you consider other viewpoints and angles. Some people want to talk about things once and they feel better, while others may want to continue to verbally process all the things so it may take a few conversations. Remember, there is a difference between coping and talking versus dwelling. 
    • Plan For The Future. What did you learn from this encounter? Take a bit to reflect. Self-reflection will help you learn things about yourself. Behavioral reflection will allow you to look at both parties' behaviors to learn something; plus this may give you an insight into where the other person might be coming from. Emotional reflection will help you evaluate your emotions going into the situation, during the situation, and what emotion the situation elicited from you afterward. You can also try to think about the other person's possible emotions. Through this time of reflection, you can think of ways that, if you had to have this conversation (or one similar) again, you would be better prepared to stay in control. 

    Whatever is going on in your life--especially in your pregnancy or on your journey to conceiving--take a pause to really think, "Is this bigger than me?" This time in your life is full of learning opportunities. 

    Having a child is just the beginning of a long journey of "a-ha moments" that help you realize things about yourself such as your boundaries, your weaknesses, your breaking points, your achievements, and your triumphs. 

    You will learn what you need to survive vs. what you need to be happy. You will learn what exhaustion really feels like, but you will always, somehow, find the energy to keep going.You will be amazed at yourself and your child, but also at your partner. 

    One of my darling friends said it best, recently. She said, "This year has been a year of pure happiness, pure exhaustion, pure amazement, pure anxiety, and most importantly pure love." It will also be filled with those moments that are bigger than you and that's okay.

    Looking to work on YOUR mindset in parenting?
    Grab our FREE Mindset & Parenthood guide HERE!


    Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

    Our TOP Nutrition Posts

    Wednesday, October 9, 2019

    Our TOP Nutrition Posts

    You've requested it - here is our TBH round up for all things nutrition!

    • Eating for the Trimesters with Lainey Younkin - Lainey Younkin, whose nickname is “the dietician who doesn’t put people on diets”, is a nutritionist in Boston who takes an honest and realistic approach to helping her clients live a healthy lifestyle. Rather than putting clients on diets that often only yield the desired results in the short-term and can make you feel guilty about eating, Lainey helps her clients make gradual, more sustainable adjustments that allow them to live healthier lives in the long-term.
    • Sugar Detox and Fueling Your Body with Food - Hehe talks to sisters and business partners, Erika and Tiffany Brown, about their passion for food and the major impacts that what you eat can have on your life.The foods that you eat can affect countless aspects of your life, from your weight to your energy level to your skin and even your susceptibility to diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Cutting out certain foods can lead to noticeable differences in your mood and your overall health.
    • Gut Health with Liz Bane - Liz Bane, a wellness concierge and a holistic health coach certified by the Institute of Integrated Nutrition to help us understand this often mentioned yet often misunderstood system in our bodies. Liz is here to share all her best tips and tricks to helping your gut function at its optimal ability!
    • Low Down on Plus-Size Pregnancies - Pregnancy can be a tough journey for anybody, but if you’re plus-size, the journey can be even tougher. However, there are so many things you can do as a plus-size mama to help yourself along this journey, and we’re here to give you the low-down on that today!
    • Eliminating Toxins in Your Home with Bri Pruitt - Bri is a registered nurse and nutrition health coach and has been focusing on a healthy and holistic lifestyle for seven years.  She lives in Idaho with her six year old daughter and has countless tips and tricks for transitioning to a toxin-free lifestyle in steps so that you can achieve the life you want without feeling overwhelmed.
    Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 

    Respecting the "GOLDEN HOUR"

    Wednesday, October 2, 2019


     (HeHe's article is published for Birch Baby HERE in its entirety.)

    The time immediately following your birth is crucial to the well being of your child. Research says that respecting what is called “The Golden Hour” can help give your child the best possible start. 

    If it is possible, requesting that your medical staff and birth team respect this time can help your baby adjust to life on the outside before they are poked and prodded with newborn test and passed from person to person for birth stats. 

    The way in which the golden hour mentality is carried out varies from culture to culture. In some cultures an extended golden hour called “lying in” is a practice in which women are waited upon and only allowed to do minimal tasks such as getting up to use the bathroom, but not to shower. 

    It is said to be supportive of postpartum healing and mother-child attachment. However, in some cultures, parents aren’t afforded any paid time off of work to recover from birth and bond with their baby. 

    Visitors are no exception to the rule. It varies widely from culture to culture and family to family. Some parents choose not to have visitors for at least a few days after the birth and some parents prefer to be surrounded by family and friends immediately following. 

    Whatever your preference, respecting The Golden Hour can be done in a quiet, intimate room or a room that looks like birth after party!

    (Click HERE to continue reading 'Respecting the 'Golden Hour'' on Birch Baby.)

    Don’t forget to check out our newest adventure The Birth Lounge, listen in to The Birth Lounge Podcast, and follow us on Instagram at @tranquilitybyhehe! 


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