2. Pack n Play: We have one similar to this and we use it every day. It stays set up in the area between our living room and kitchen and Alden hangs out in it in the morning while Nick gets his lunch packed, makes breakfast, coffee, etc. and I'm getting ready in the back. Alden is so mobile now that it would take us 3 hours to get ready if we let him roam around while we both were trying to get things done because we'd have to stop every 5 seconds to take something inedible out of his mouth, prevent him from falling and cracking his head open, or steal him away from the dog's water bowl :)
3. Britax convertible car seat: We have this one and it changed Alden's life. In his old carseat he would whine and cry almost every time we put him in the car. As soon as we strapped in this puppy, happy baby travels began! It seems SO much more comfortable than his old seat, with lots more padding and cushions, and he can sit up a lot more so he can actually see a little of what's going on. It's definitely pricey but we feel that the brand reputation, safety, and comfort are worth it. Plus, it has a higher weight and height limit so it will grow with Alden for a decent amount of time (even though we switched to the Britax seat around 5 1/2 months, he was already only an inch away from being too tall for the infant seat anyway).
4. Obnoxious, plastic toys that make noise: Mainly, I'm talking about our activity table. We have this one and even though we've had it for months, Alden still plays with it every day. Ours has balls that you can roll down a little ramp into a hole that makes noise and funnels the balls back down the legs. Alden quickly figured out that he could put anything small into the middle of the table and get the same noises, so now we find an impressive array of little surprises jammed into the table :) Even so, he still interacts with the buttons and activities and it's been fun to watch how his play has changed as he's gotten older.
5. U Konserve stainless containers: We actually have a few different products from U Konserve but these are the first containers we bought. Once Alden started eating a decent amount of solid food at lunch time, we knew we needed to get him some reusable lunch containers. We love them so much! They get washed all the time and are still holding up really well. The lids are a great quality and we use them every day. I even went back and ordered one of their lunch kits for myself and really enjoy it.
6. Sophie: I know that we have Sophie on our must-have list from 3-6 months but she's so important, we had to put her on the list again. We keep Sophie in the diaper bag so that she goes everywhere with us. She's an important gal :)
7. Balls: We have various balls in Alden's toy basket...a little soccer ball, a few smaller soft ones, his O Ball (on our 3-6 month list, here) and a set made by B. toys that seem to be a big hit and that will grow with him for a while. In short, balls are good developmental toys that can be played with in lots of different ways over many phases of a baby's toddlerhood. Get some fun ones :)
8. Stacking cups: We love this set of stacking cups that were gifted to us by Grandma and FarFar Wiese. Alden plays with them in the bath, on the floor, and we've taken them with us when we travel too. Mostly, he enjoys knocking them down after we've stacked them up but as he gets older he'll be able to stack them himself. This is one of the toys that he keeps going back to so I think we'll be having fun with them for a while!
9. Bathtub Safety Mat: Once Alden started sitting up, we transitioned him out of his baby tub and into the "big boy" tub. It was easier for us because he could sit all the way up and he enjoyed it more since he wasn't being made to lay back the whole time. We absolutely couldn't live without this bath mat. We opted for this one because it covers almost the whole bathtub, wasn't plastered with obnoxious colors or characters (this bathroom is a guest bath as well and we don't want it looking like a playground), and it was way less expensive than many of the smaller, made-for-kids options. We've been using it for months and we still love it. Cleans easily and rolls up nice and tight for traveling.
10. Llama Llama Nighty Night: Alden still doesn't sit still for a whole book most of the time but this one seems to be grabbing his attention more and more. It was gifted to us by my cousin Melissa and I'm so glad she introduced us to the Llama Llama world :) It's a short little book and it's perfect to help reinforce a bedtime routine.
11. Playtex Lil' Grippers Straw Cup: After trying a few different sippy cups, we decided to go with a straw and Alden took to it like a fish to water. We use these every day for mealtimes and for water in between meals. He takes them to school every day and there's always one in the diaper bag, too. They're a good size so we're not having to refill them every hour but still light and small enough for him to pick up on his own. I love that they're guaranteed leak-proof and that the straw can be clicked away when he's playing in the floor or outside.
12. Stacking rings: We have these by Melissa & Doug (one of our favorite wooden toy makers). *I've got to say- Melissa & Doug's website is a hot mess. Great for browsing but trying to find something specific takes years of your life...proceed with caution* These stacking rings were one of the first toys we had for our little man, gifted to us by Mimi and PopPop Palmer in the early baby days (maybe even before Alden was born). They have retained their precious toy shelf position and are still pulled down and played with often.
much love, L&N