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Saturday, June 16, 2012

9-12 Month Baby Gear Guide

To start, we are still using some things from previous guides. Rather than listing them again here, I'll just make note of what is still useful: 

What are we still using religiously from the Newborn Gear Guide at one year old? 
Portable night light 
Sleep Sheep 
Diaper bags 
Cloth diapers 
Beco Gemini baby carrier 
Sprout towel 
Breast pump 
Nursing camis/tanks/bras 
Graco Blossom high chair 
Sassy Look Book 
Rainforest bathtub (yep, we're still bathing her in the plastic tub and not the full bath - save water and time as long as we can!) 

What are we still using religiously from the Six Month Gear Guide at one year old? (Some are listed above and here because I didn't think to cross-reference the guides when I first did them.) 
Britax B-Agile stroller 
Graco Blossom high chair 
Boon Bendable spoon and fork 
Smock bib 
Travel chair
Disposable place mats
Nuby sippy cups 
Books (oh, god, the books) 
B Zany activity cube (a HUGE favorite still) 
B Zany soft blocks 
Munchkin Caterpillar 
Stacking Blocks 
Breathable Bumper 
Sprout towel 
Leap Frog Learn & Groove Table 
Weeble Playset Britax 
Boulevard/Evenflo Triumph 

Hey! We have an (almost) one-year-old. And that one-year-old likes stuff.  Here's some of the stuff that she likes. This list is super short compared to other lists, because she's still using and enjoying a lot of the toys from when she was younger, and she also is even MORE into "real" things that aren't toys. Like her sock drawer. She loooooooves that sock drawer.

Note: This could actually also be considered a 9 month gear guide, because a lot of the stuff she started using around that age.

1. Fisher Price Love and Learn Home (or Kitchen) 
Lifespan: Used from 9 Months +
 Do not buy this new! Well, I mean, unless you're rolling in dough, in which case send me some and if there's any left over, buy it new. But these are on Craigslist or in consignment stores all the time. There's also a kitchen version which isn't available for sale now, and of which one version was recalled - but you can get a free upgrade/fix kit from Fisher Price's website, and that one is great too. You can also get a parts replacement kit for like $5 if yours doesn't come with the balls and shapes (most used ones don't). We got both the home and the kitchen for $30. GREAT deal!  We keep one upstairs and one downstairs and swap them occasionally (since she's upstairs more than down).  They are fairly large, so if space is a premium, choose one (the kitchen takes up slightly more space than the house, I think).  She really enjoys playing with both. Even without the batteries in, there is a lot to do, which is a requirement for toys we have.

12 Month Update: Still a hit!
16 Month Update: Not as in love, but still plays with regularly. The kitchen has become a favorite over the house.
2 Year Update: These are in the garage for Craigslist. We still love them, and surprisingly if we're in the garage she'll play with them, but they take up too much room to store until the next baby is ready. When the next kid comes along, I'll hunt them down and buy them used on Craigslist again!

2. Melissa and Doug Alligator Walker 
Lifespan: Used from 9 Months + 

Or if not this walking toy, any walking toy! We got this one from a store liquidation sale, so didn't pay full price, but it just might be worth it! She loves walking up and down the hallway over and over and over and over with this. I like this one in particular because it's baby powered without any extra frills (no batteries!). It does take some getting used to, but I think that's true with all walking toys - they need to learn to push down and out on the handle and not just out (or it will shoot out from under them). A few trips down the hallway with me holding onto the handle and she had the hang of it.

12 Month Update: Uses pretty much daily. Expert by now, and loves putting stuff on the alligators to push around. 
16 Month Update: Rarely uses anymore now that she's a ninja expert walker, but still will pull it out just to hear the alligators clack around.
24 Month Update: Put away for new baby, but I'd still recommend it. 

3. Wallet 
Lifespan: 9+ months
The kid's favorite activity is to get in my purse, pull out my wallet, and empty it. I keep all the important stuff in a zippered part she can't open, but thanks to her I've still lost both my ID (since found!) and a credit card (lost to the annals of history).  In a flash of brilliance that took FAR too long, I bought her a wallet of her own and filled it with expired gift cards and hotel room card keys. I just got a cheap $5 one from Target that has snap/magnetic closures on both sides, so she can open it and close it herself. She LOVES this thing. It has a 95% success rate on stopping car seat meltdowns and a 100% success rate in deflecting her from getting into MY wallet.  Making sure that it's fairly child-safe (no small parts they could pull off easily and durable) and is easy to open/shut are key. I can't find the exact one we have, and in looking for it I guess it's actually considered a "clutch" or "wristlet" but you get the idea, hopefully.

12 Month Update: Must-have. This is one of the few things that keeps her occupied in the car still.
16 Month Update: Same as above. Love it.
2 Year Update: Still loves it!

4. Green Toys Dump truck 
Lifespan: 8+ months
She loves pushing this around the floor and saying "vrooom vrooom" and filling and dumping the bed of the truck. I love that's all recycled materials and it's totally free of "bad" stuff! Not to mention it's imagination-fueled - no batteries! Win-win.  

12  Month Update: Loves it!
16 Month Update: Loves it!
2 Year Update: Doesn't play with it as much, but she still definitely gets it out every once in a while.

5. Weeble House 
Lifespan: 6+ months
Holy cow, does she enjoy the crap out of this thing. She started playing with it when she first was sitting up alone, but REALLY got into it around 8 or 9 months old. We got it during an Amazon Flash sale, and paid less than half price, but I'd say it's worth even the full price. She absolutely plays with this nearly every day. She loves hitting the big red button to make the music play and dancing along to it, as well as pushing things through the windows and into the holes. It's a huge hit.

12 Month Update: Still really enjoys this. 
16 Month Update: Still plays with regularly. She now can do everything on it like you're supposed to.
2 Year Update: Not played with quite as often, but still enjoys. 

6. Lamaze Soft Shape Sorter 
Lifespan: 9+ months
This seemed to me like it'd be something for smaller babies, but she really started to enjoy it around 9 or 10 months. She loves opening the top (even though the velcro is pretty sticky and she needs help sometimes) and putting the shapes in, and then pulling the shapes out the sides. I'm actually pretty surprised this is as big of a hit as it is!

12 Month Update: Not as into it.
16 Month Update: Packed away. She saw it the other day when I was putting some stuff away and wanted to play with it again, though, so....
2 Year Update: Packed away for the new baby.

7. B. FunKeys 
Lifespan: 6+ months

Of course, the fact that she LOVES keys means that she shouldn't have them, because they are usually full of lead. Wonderful! We got her a set of B.Zany FunKeys from Target, which are wonderful because the key part is actually metal - and trust me, she can tell the difference. She won't have anything to do with plastic keys!

12 Month Update: Loves these keys still.
16 Month Update: Battery died! Still likes them though. 
2 Year Update: Still likes pretending to drive with these.

8. Bouncy Bee
Lifespan: 8+ months
This has low reviews on Amazon.com because the antennae don't bounce and it's made of plastic instead of wood like the original toy was. True facts, both of them. But those don't affect her love of it (or mine, for that matter). And also the short pull string, which I do agree with, but that's an easy fix. However, she LOVES this thing and LOVES pushing it around all over the place. I take it to playdates all the time because it's pretty small and it's always a HUGE hit, with all of the kids vying to push it around.  When she starts walking I'll add some length to the string so she can pull it.

12 Month Update: Thinks it's hilarious. 
16 Month Update: She loves running up and down the hall with it.
2 Year Update: Packed away for the new baby. 

9. Munchkin Shampoo Rinser
Lifespan: 12+ months

We actually have been using this since she was born - I need to add it to the newborn list. I like this for the intended purpose, but she LOVES it for her favorite game of putting-stuff-into. The big handle is easy to grasp, and the soft shape means that she doesn't get frustrated trying to get stuff into it since it conforms to the shape of the item more easily.

12 Month Update: I can't find it anywhere!!!?! WTF?
16 Month Update: Still can't find it. Need to get another one!
2 Year Update: Bought another one, yay! Still love!

10. Foam shapes and letters for bath 
Lifespan: 8+ months
We've had these forever, but she just started showing interest in them at around 8 months, when she figured out how to stick them to the tub walls and knock them off and stack them. Now one of her favorite activities is stuffing them in the Munchkin shampoo rinser mentioned above. She also likes to chew on them. I let her chew on the BPA-free ones from Boon but try not to let her chew on the others. I love spelling things with the letters and sorting them into color groups for her. I'm not sure she really "gets" that yet, but sometimes she'll put a blue one in the blue pile and I like to pretend that's evidence she's a genius.

12 Month Update: Still loves these in the tub.
16 Month Update: Still a fan!
2 Year Update: Still love these!

11. Snack catcher cups 
Lifespan: 6+ months
Once they start eating on the go, these things are fantastic. NOTE: They are not 100% spill/leak/whatever proof. Your kid still might spill puffs all over the car. But they definitely help contain the mess, and I think they help limit the number that they get out at a time as well. She loves toting these around!

12 Month Update: Still use all the time.
16 Month Update: Use them all the time still!
2 Year Update: Still use these when she needs a snack sometimes, though we often use reusable snack bags now too.

12. Blue Lizard sunscreen 
Lifespan: 0+ months
Another thing I should add to the newborn gear list! This is technically sunBLOCK, not sunSCREEN, so it's safe to use from birth. Regular sunscreen has a lot of nasty chemicals, and they say not to use it before a year (or maybe it's six months?). But this is safe from birth. Another brand I've heard great things about is Badger Baby sunscreen - another technical sunBLOCK that is safe from the time they are born! I don't think Blue Lizard smells bad or is too greasy, and it covers really well. If you're interested, here's a great discussion on the difference between sunscreen and sunblock and recommendations for babies.

12 Month Update: Still use and love this.
16 Month Update: It's been chilly and not as sunny so hasn't gotten as much use. But we still love it when we need it!
2 Year Update: Still using and loving!

13. Little Tykes Climber/Slide
Lifespan: 9+ months
I would probably not recommend buying this full price. We got it for free from a friend (YAY!) but I'd say if you could find it on Craigslist for $100 or less it'd be worth it. She loves it! She'll go down the slide and climb UP the slide for an hour solid.  Maybe I'm just cheap though. 

12 Month Update: Huge hit still.
16 Month Update: Seriously, she loves this thing.
2 Year Update: Still loves this a ton!

There are a couple things I'm looking to get her, and if I do, I'll let you know what I think of them!

1. Prince Wheely Bug 
This might be the cutest thing I've ever seen!

2. Wagon
Tote the kid AND a six-pack of beer around? WIN!

Got this, but haven't used it yet to be able to give a recommendation.

1. Foam letter mat
Although our house is almost entirely carpeted, when I saw a great deal on this I couldn't pass it up. I baby-sat a little girl who had these and we played with them constantly - making giant blocks, houses, forts, playing with the letters, spelling things - I think when we get the basement cleared out and made into a play area it will be a great addition!


  1. The wagon on your want list...totally hard to steer. The front wheel gets all sideways if you do anything remotely resembling a turn.


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