By Kaitlin Stanford
Holiday shopping for baby isn't always easy - especially if the tot in question isn't your own. Stumped on what to buy a little guy or gal you know this year? Read on for ultimate holiday gift guide from TheBump.com and get the lowdown on the best toys to buy baby at any age.
n Sassy Me in the Mirror, $15, SassyBaby.com
Why baby will love it: In those first three months, baby's developing at a pretty rapid rate. Her biggest milestone: learning to hold up her head and take notice of what's around her. Her favorite pastime? Staring at anything that even resembles a face. Pulling Mom's hair or grabbing onto Grandpa's nose is always fun, but prop baby in front of a fun, true-reflection mirror like the Sassy and she'll be entertained for hours.
n Lamaze Spin & Explore Garden Gym, $39, Amazon.com
Why baby will love it: These days, baby spends most of her time on her back, since it's the safest position for newborns until they can sit up on their own (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics). The most exciting part of baby's day? Those 30 minutes of "tummy time," when Mom flips her over to give her neck the chance to work its muscles. That's why baby will get a kick out of this Spin & Explore Garden Gym, which has a comfy lady bug cushion at its center for baby to lie on while she plays on her belly.
Veggie Crate of Organic Teethers, $30, UndertheNile.com
Why baby will love it: Ah, the dreaded teething stage: not fun for anyone, least of all baby. Most babes will start sprouting teeth between 4 and 7 months, meaning mom and dad are in for lots of loud wailing and, of course, drooling. This crate of organic veggie teethers is always a crowd pleaser, since it's not only fun for baby to play with the different veggie shapes, but they're also soothing to chew on. Added bonus: They're machine-washable, making it easy for mom and dad to de-slobber them.
Striped Blanket Friend, $18, Giggle.com
Why baby will love it: Let's face it, every baby needs a lovey. Since blankies are off-limits in baby's crib until month five, this tiny, striped blanket friend is the perfect size for baby to pal around with, day or night. Now that he's developed a Kung Fu grip, baby can drag along his lovey wherever he goes. It also gets mom-friendly bonus points for being organic, machine-washable, easy to toss in a diaper bag, and doubles as an emergency spit-cloth if need be.
n DwellStudio Plush Block Set, $32, PokkaDots.com
Why baby will love it: By now baby's mastered the art of grabbing, stacking, and dropping things. And, boy, is that a load of fun. The best way to encourage this kind of play is with toy blocks baby can easily practice her moves on. Going with a nice, plush set over a wooden one will save Mom and Dad's sanity (and their hardwood floors). And because baby's able to tell the difference between textures and can handle stronger colors, she'll love the look and feel of this set from DwellStudio, which comes in bright, contrasting colors and fun patterns and textures.
Baby Activity Bear, $42, Giggle.com
Why baby will love it: These days, baby's hands are a major source of entertainment (which explains why at least one of them is in her mouth at all times). And she loves crawling around, investigating, and making new discoveries with them. Behold the Baby Activity Bear, complete with tons of brightly colored pockets, each housing a different hidden treasure inside. From a fun squirrel rattle to a super-cute chirping bird, baby will learn which treasure belongs in each pocket and start challenging her recall and matching skills.
Bowling Buddies, $45, Giggle.com
Why baby will love it: At almost a year, chances are this tot crawls like a champ and may have already taken his first steps. So it's time to kick it up a notch with more engaging playtime activities. Enter the Bowling Buddies from Giggle. This fun beginner's set teaches baby to start hitting targets and taking names. (Okay, or maybe he'll just enjoy giggling at his new pin friends.) Added bonus: Each plush bowling pin is shaped like a different animal, doubling as the perfect bedtime buddy at night.
Oval Xylophone, $25, PiccoliniOnline.com
Why baby will love it: What baby doesn't love a good, old-fashioned xylophone? They've been entertaining tots forever. And now that baby's older and his hearing is more developed, he's definitely graduated from the softer sounds of a rattle and is ready to make some real noise. With a xylophone like this one from Piccolini, baby will have a blast rocking out in his nursery and creating his own tunes. (And hey, it's better than banging on Mom's pots and pans.)