1. Activity Gym
While most activity gyms are fun, they usually look like something taken out of Sesame Street. While that is cute, it's not something I really wanted for an item that would be on display in my living room for months. I found some OK ones from Skip Hop, but I wanted something prettier! Then I discovered Lovevery - a company that makes beautiful toys that claim to be based on research to support optimal child development. I don't know about that, but their activity gym is gorgeous and Mia loves it!
Love: looks amazing, fun toys, machine washable (!).
Could do better: nothing I can think of, this is a great product.
At first I didn't see why I needed a bouncer. I had a swing (I didn't end up loving, see below), and didn't think I needed this as well. Man was I wrong. When I started Mia on solids at around 4 months, she couldn't sit up unassisted yet so I couldn't use a high chair, but needed something to put her in while I fed her. I ended up buying the BabyBjorn Bouncer Bliss and felt stupid for not getting it sooner. Not only is it perfect for feeding, Mia also loves bouncing herself in it, and it's a really easy place to put her down while cooking for example. I got the mesh fabric version because I think it will hold up better with stains and will also be cooler in the summer. They also have a cotton version which is nice and soft. The fabric is machine washable, and the whole thing folds flat for easy storage. As I said, I can't believe I didn't get this sooner!
Love: lightweight, easy storage, easy to clean, recline options.
Could be better: would be nice if it came with a toy (can be purchased separately) and had more toy options.
THINGS I GOT AND DIDN'T LOVE
Nuna Leaf Grow
Why? this is a swing that swivels from side to side. It is manual so that's a bit annoying, but the main reasons I didn't like this were:
a) it's WAY too heavy so it's virtually impossible to move from room to room.
b) Mia outgrew the plush infant insert by about 4 months.
3. Jumper / Activity Center
This category was the hardest for me. The options for loud non-primary colored activity centers and jumpers is very limited. I seriously considered not getting one because I didn't want to taint my living room, but Mia loves jumping so much that I couldn't pass on it. I ended up getting the least ugly Fisher Price Jumperoo I could find. She's obsessed with it, and I can live with - so I guess it's a success.
When browsing online I found that Evenflo released a much better looking jumper, I wish it would have existed before I got my eyesore. I can't attest to it's quality, but it looks great!
I"m linking the one I have along with the Evenflo one below.
Do you have a jumper you love? Please share in the comments!
Love: toys, jumping, washable seat.
Could be better: DESIGN.
I also have the Skip Hop Explore and More Baby's View 3-Stage Activity Center which is nice. It has great toys that Mia loves, but I expected it to be a bouncer (they say "bounce & play"). It does not bounce, so save yourself the disappointment if you want a jumper. I have this and a jumper on separate floors so it's helpful if I need to put her down for a sec, but if you only plan on getting one, I'd suggest a jumper.
I have a few favorite brands for toys for Mia:
PlanToys - they make beautiful unique wooden toys for babies. I especially love their pastel toy collection.
Taf Toys - they make more standard baby toys, that just look nicer.
For lists of some of our favorite toys by age see the following blog posts:
5. Play Mat
The House of Noa (formerly Little Nomad) makes the prettiest play mats ever! They look like luxurious rugs but super easy to wipe clean. You can also customize the size to fit your space. I have this one and I LOVE it!
Love: design, easy to clean, customization options.
Could be better: nothing!
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