6-12 months

6-12 months: Play

6-12 months: Play

aadila playroom.jpg

There are so many big changes that happen from 6 to 12 months!  A play area for these mobile infants must be safe above all things.  I highly suggest creating a "yes"space that is not only baby-proofed but has interesting things to touch, move, and look at.  

As your child begin to sit on her own, you can offer a handful of items just out of reach so she has to stretch and bend over.  Get a pull up bar (see below) and a walker wagon to encourage pulling up and cruising. 

Please note: infants can be easily mesmerized by household items, and they in fact make excellent toys at this age.  You can offer a small collection of similar items in a treasure basket for exploration! (see below)

Any toy we listed on the 3-6 month page will still work for this age too. Your infant's brain and body have changed so quickly, she can now explore these toys in new ways.  

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Play Materials for 6-12 months

image from  Heirloom Kids USA

Pull Up Bar

A pull up bar offers a safe place for the infant to practice pulling up and cruising(sideways walking).  Attach a bar in front of an unbreakable mirror to create more interest and feedback.  This bar from Heirloom Kids USA  is 1 inch, perfect for smaller hands, and even has the holes pre-drilled for you.  Make sure you secure this into wall studs or use drywall anchors for safety. 

Silicone+Muffin+CUps.jpg

Silicone Muffin Cups

I love these.  Interesting shapes and textures, flexible, washable, stackable, nest-able, AND you could use them for baking when your child gets older.  Look for cups that are food grade and BPA-free.  I offer a handful in a basket like this to 6-12 month olds, and observe the creative ways they find to play with them. 

image from  Bella's Casa

image from Bella's Casa

Two-handed puzzles

Infants are keenly interested in this simple Montessori puzzle that requires coordination for both hands! Offer the egg and cup first, and the pin and cup next, as it's slightly harder.  This handmade set is from Bella's Casa.  These have a similar function to the palmer and pincer blocks below, so you could choose one or the other if you are short on space. 

image from  Heirloom Kids USA

Palmer and Pincer Grasp Blocks

Another lovely handmade item from Heirloom Kids USA.  These Montessori infant materials offer another simple puzzle that build coordination and hand dexterity.  The block on the left builds a whole hand grip (palmer) and is offered first.  The block on the right can be offered when you notice your child picking things up by their thumb and index finger(pincer grip), around 9 months.

Walker Wagon

I'm not a fan of walking "aids" for developmental reasons, but this Montessori material is an exception.  A walker wagon offers your child an opportunity to practice skills like pulling up, take steps, and moving forward, which are all needed to walk.  Look for a wagon that is wide, heavy and hard to flip, has slow-moving wheels with traction, and is well-made.  This Radio Flyer meets all that criteria, and this wagon from IKEA also works.   

Baby Gates

Your mobile infant needs a safe space to explore and a gate offers easy protection.  My favourite baby gates allow me to open with one hand and walk through (as my hands are usually carrying a baby or toddler).  This one is extra tall and extra wide and pressure mounted.  Pick up some wall protection too, your walls will thank me later. 

outlet+covers.jpg

Outlet Covers

I have not found outlet covers I love.  The ones I've experienced are either too tight or too loose, and won't help you if you have something plugged in.  I've found the best solution is to block outlets with furniture to remove the visual temptation if you can, otherwise find a set of covers that are tight-fitting in your outlets.  Try these basic ones first, and these from Safety 1st.  I've also just taped over the outlets in a pinch. 

There are now new child-safe outlets available for installing into your home! Ask about it for new construction.

Advanced+treasure+basket.png

Treasure Basket

Infants are quite happy with common household objects, and you can build foundations of logical thought and language with a treasure basket.  For 6-12 month olds, start with 3 objects that are quite different in texture, shape, color, or material.  Any safe objects you have around the house are fine.  The basket here has a plastic comb, a piece of ribbon lace, a large hair clip, a metal teaspoon, and a wood block.  As your child gets older, you can offer just brushes, or all red things, or different kinds of fabric.  Oh, and the basket is an object too!  


MORE IN THIS COLLECTION

6-12 months: Kitchen and Eating

6-12 months: kitchen and eating

Copy of weaning table.JPG

Around the time your baby turns 6 months you can begin introducing other food to her.

Start with simple tastes of sweet things like fruit, and follow your child's interest. If you're already eating healthy whole-food meals, your baby can have some of the family dinner much of the time (follow a guidebook like Feeding the Whole Family for specifics to avoid) and a collection of finger foods for lunch and snacks.

Mobile babies need a safe space to explore in the kitchen too. Keep any heavy, breakable, or sharp objects out of reach and consider other safety concerns in your space. I suggest leaving a lower cabinet or shelf available with lightweight bowls, boxes, cups, and cooking tools for endless exploration.

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Kitchen Materials for 6-12 months

Silicone Bowl and Place mat

If your child is still in the "let's dump everything out" phase, an all-in-one place mat and bowl like this one is a great solution.  It removes the complexity of sliding and temptation to dump with a normal bowl.

Feeding the Whole Family

This is the best book I've found for walking through the weaning process AND offering practical recipes.  The first few chapters outline common allergies to avoid, balanced whole food nutrition, tips for raising healthy eaters.  I've used this book to cook for myself, and it really is a family friendly cookbook.  

Learning Tower

Once your child can pull up and stand on her own, she can "help" in the kitchen!  A tool like this learning tower makes it easy to offer independence and keep your infant safe.  Start by having your child watch and hold a (safe) kitchen tool, like a wooden spoon.  As her hands get stronger, she can hold objects under water, taste test, and wipe the counter. 

41UcHaIsMQL.jpg

Kitchen Safety

Like the other rooms in your home, your kitchen must be prepared to keep your curious mobile infant safe.  Put child locks on any lower cabinet with sharp or heavy objects, cover low electrical outlets, and get a tall trashcan with a lid.  We have these magnetic locks from Safety first in our home, and we love them.  Easy to open and relock, and no space for little fingers to get slammed.  

Feeding Spoons

When your child is ready to feed herself, get a set of these training spoons.  This clever design from Olababy will scoop food at various angles, stands upright for easier grabbing, has a thick stem for grasping, and is soft.  

These bamboo and silicone spoons are wonderful for adult-led eating.  The smaller spoon bowl fits easily into an infants mouth, and the soft silicone won't scratch or bump sensitive baby gums. 

image from  NaturaBaby

image from NaturaBaby

Weaning Table and Chair

A smaller table and chair offers your infant some independence in learning to eat solid foods.  I suggest starting with tastes of food here, and mostly finger foods.   This large and small set from NaturaBaby is so versatile.  Use it first like pictured as a weaning table and chair, then flip the table for two chairs when your child grows. 

Baby Food Storage

If you're making your own soft baby food from your family meals, a freezer mold like this one is super handy.  You can fill just a few cups at a time, then pop them out for easy storage and reheating.  The lid keeps freezer burn and other contaminants out.  Note, this works for freezing breast milk too! 

Bibs  

Bibs are a necessity as you introduce food to your infant.  Look for bibs that are water-resistant but still soft and flexible, like these pictured.  The bib should not get in the way of eating.  I like these fabric ones best because they can be quickly wiped off or washed.  


MORE IN THIS COLLECTION

6-12 Months: About this Age

Six to twelve Months

I can really move now!

6-12 months.jpg

Around 6 months, many babies really get moving as they begin crawling, scooting, pulling up, and creeping. Make sure your home is ready for this new level of exploration with the appropriate safety measures. I suggest creating a “yes space” so your child can freely explore without your direct supervision in a safe manner.
 

Your child's brain is hard at work wiring all the necessary nerve connections for these new methods of transportation in her arms and legs, and she needs LOTS of time on the floor to practice. Any container your put your child in (bouncy seat, jumper, car seat, stroller, chairs with straps, etc) is directly opposing this goal and getting in the way of her natural development.


Areas in this Collection

Learn More

The First Year: On the Go

The First Year: On the Go

baby-carrier-2077383_1280.jpg

We highly suggest you limit your commitments in the first few months with your child, for her sake as well as your own. There is a lot of adjusting taking place for both of you!

When you do feel ready to travel, I suggest starting small, like going outside.

Babies LOVE to be outside and it's a win-win for you.  There's always something new to see, touch, smell, or experience and you don't have to do anything more than go out.   Even stepping onto your welcome mat is fine. 

You may find it helpful to have a carrier or stroller for longer walks and trips. I’ve listed a few below.

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


On the Go Materials

Car+seat.jpg

Car Seat

If you plan on taking your child into a car at any point, you'll need a car seat.  The best car seat depends on the your vehicle or lifestyle and what kind of travel, features, and options matter to you.  Read this very through article from Baby Gear Lab to help you make the choice that's right for you.  

The safest seats for the first year are infant bucket-type seats. But, it’s improper installs that cause the most injury, not safety ratings of the car seat, so make sure you practice installing your car seat with an expert.

It's not ideal for your child to spend any more time in a car seat then necessary, as it is a container that will restrict her free movement and ability to explore.  

Baby Carriers and Slings

An carrier with infant accessories can be a real life saver for sore arms.  Many models will hold children from day one through toddlerhood, and are sturdy enough to last years.  Infants should ALWAYS face in with a carrier to help them feel safe and connected to you (front facing is like riding in the first car on a roller coaster).   

I'm a fan of the Ergo carrier (pictured and linked below), but there are many options available.  Learn more about choosing a carrier here. 

Stroller.jpg

Stroller

A stroller is certainly not necessary for life with an infant, but many people find them helpful and convenient.  Strollers are for the adults, and are easy transport from one location to another.  There is no developmental benefit for your child to ride in a stroller, and it's one of the least valuable activities she can spend her time doing (traveling on her own feet is best).  The best way to take a walk with your infant in the first year is in a carrier or in your arms, so you can narrate, stop, touch, and listen together.  

There is no "best stroller", read this article to decide the features your family needs for your lifestyle.  Or, skip the stroller and use a carrier or wagon instead.  

Radio Flyer Wagon

Use a wagon like this instead of a stroller for any infant who can sit up.  The wagon offers some freedom of movement and the autonomy to look around 360 degrees as you travel.  This model folds up for easy storage and can be used with older children too. 

Sun Hat

A hat is easier than sunscreen everytime you step outside.  This one is fully adjustable, has a wide brim, and a safety breakaway clip.  

Travel Play Yard

If you don't have the luxury of a safe outdoor (or indoor) space for your infant to explore, you can create one with a travel play yard.  This is my favorite model, as it is much larger than pack-and-plays, but has a floor and folds up.  No matter where you go, your child will have a safe, clean area to explore and move.  This is ideal for day trips and camping.  A pop-up shelter or tent could also work.

Picnic Blanket for Baby

Nothing beats a blanket for babies on the go.  Look for one with a water-resistant lining to keep both of you dry on damp grass, and a blanket that folds into a easy-carry pouch is quite handy.  

Image from  Topponcino n More

Topponcino

The topponcino is a infant-sized thin pillow bed used when holding or transferring a baby. It creates a sense of security and offers consistency of texture, smell, and temperature, which can really help an infant feel calm.

You can make a topponcino if you are crafty, or buy on on Etsy. Make sure you get a few covers to throw in the wash!


MORE IN THIS COLLECTION

The First Year: Clothing

The First Year: Clothing

20161028_100815.jpg

In the first year, simple clothes are best!  Your infant is developing all the functions to move her body, and needs clothing that aids in this process.  All clothes should be comfortable, stretchy or loose-fitting, and allows for full movement of arms and legs.  

In this first year, your child will grow so fast, you won't use a piece of clothing for more than a few months.  Secondhand infant clothing tends to be close to brand new, is so much cheaper, and is worth looking for.

About gendered clothing: Pink and blue are fine colors, but to put your child in a narrow gendered box when they are so young and impressionable is disrespectful.  Keep a balance.

Please note I have not listed everything your child needs here (you'll probably also want socks, long sleeve shirts, hats, coats, etc).  These clothing items below are related to movement and the development of your child.  

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Clothing Materials

One-piece undershirts

Onesies are the little black dresses for babies.  Use them as undershirts on chilly days or entire outfits on warm ones.   You'll need more in the beginning for frequent changes.  The simple t-shirt with snapped bottom allows the shirt to stay on your baby's skin, which is good for free movement and temperature control. 

Color and pattern are your personal choice, but avoid any clothing with buttons, scratchy appliques or embellishments.  

One-piece pajamas

Another item your infant can wear all the time.  I prefer zippers over the snap clasps as they are much faster and easier to manage during repeated diaper changes. 

Mobile infants need time during the day with bare feet to build muscle coordination, and footie PJs will slow them down.  Save the PJs for sleeping at this age. 

Pants

Pants for infants should be soft and stretchy, with an elastic waist and ankle cuffs.  Footed pants are fine until your baby starts to roll over, but if you can, warm the room and allow her to explore her feet! Mobile infants need time during the day with bare feet to build muscle coordination.  

Avoid any piece of clothing that makes it difficult to crawl, creep, pull up, or stand.  Remember, your child is a person who needs to practice moving, not a doll to be dressed up.  

Legwarmers

Legwarmers are my new favorite for infant wear, after I had a day with multiple blowout diaper changes.  Used instead of pants, legwarmers have a higher chance of staying dry and clean, AND it's one less step when diapering.   

Pair these with a onesie to protect knees from scooting and crawling on the floor while leaving feet bare for traction.  


MORE IN THIS COLLECTION

The First Year: Sleep and Bath

The First Year: Sleep and Bath

bebe-3401066_1280.jpg

Babies spend most of their time sleeping in the first year, and so this space needs to be both safe, cozy, and encourage rest.

In the first few weeks, your baby will need a smaller space to sleep, like a bassinet or co-sleeper (see below).  This helps her feel safe and secure. As she grows, you can choose an infant floor bed in a safe bedroom, or a traditional crib. 

A safe space to sleep has a firm mattress or pad, with NO pillows, loose blankets, toys, or bumpers. Babies under 5-6 months should always be placed to sleep on their backs.

Learning to fall asleep is a skill, and one that your child can master without an elaborate routine from you.  Read this first book below for details.  

While your baby doesn’t need as many baths in this first year as she will later, you’ll probably want a few materials on hand to make the process easier for both of you.

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Sleep and Bath Materials

Compassionate Sleep Solutions

Here's how you help your child learn to fall asleep on her own, step by step.  This book is written by a RIE professional who also offers personal consultations for parents. 

I used this book with a very clingy 9 month old who would ONLY fall asleep on my hip and had him falling asleep on his own in a week. Read the story here.

If you are spending hours each day coaxing your older infant to sleep, you need to read this book.  

Newborn Sleep 

To help your child feel secure in the first 2-3 months, a co-sleeper or bassinet is best.   Look for a model with a flat, minimally padded bottom, short sides, and ease of access for nighttime waking and feeding.  You may prefer a model on a stand at bed-height, or a free-standing bassinet like this one pictured. 

This bassinet is my favorite, as it can be placed on a table or directly on a floor bed, moved around the home and taken on trips, plus it folds up for easy storage.   

Sleep for infants

As your infant grows, you can choose to move her to a floor bed or a traditional crib.  The floor bed is just a crib mattress on the floor of a small bedroom, designed to aid your child's independence. Yes, children fall asleep this way, and yes, it will take some guidance on your part.  This article offers more details in making the decision. 

Floor Bed After 2-3 months you can transition from the smaller bassinet to a floor bed.  Ideally, your child spends a few nights in the bassinet on top of the floor bed in the same room to ease the transition.  Floor beds are only an option IF you can make the bedroom safe for an infant.  Look for a firm, small mattress (approx. W: 28˝ x L: 52˝ x H: 5˝), a waterproof cover, and a handful of sheets.   This mattress is completely washable! 

If you can't make the room safe for a mobile infant, use a crib or portable crib.  Be sure to research your options, and look for safety recalls.   

Read about safe sleeping areas and the prevention of SIDS here, if you aren't familiar.  

Blackout Curtains

While very young infants will fall asleep anytime of day, it's helpful to darken the room as your child gets older.  Involve your child in closing these curtains as part of your sleep routine, to cue "now is time to fall asleep"  You may want full blackout or merely light-blocking curtains, depending on what's outside your windows.  I also suggest thermal insulating curtains to discourage drafts in an infant space.   

Sleep Sack

The sleep sack is an excellent solution for keeping your infant warm without the danger of a blanket, or the movement restriction of a swaddle.  Sleep sacks create a warm cocoon, small enough to offer comfort, but large enough to allow for movement.    I tend to follow RIE's opinion about swaddling, but should your child LOVE and NEED to be tightly wrapped those first few months, do what your child needs so everyone can get some sleep.    

White Noise

While you want to allow your child to self-soothe so she can learn the skill of falling asleep, if you live in a noisy place, white noise may be helpful.  Simple is best, an air filter, fan, or noise machine is plenty.  Stay away from rocking/shaking/swinging gadgets, it will only make independent sleep more difficult.  

I have this air filter in my home, and I love it.  It has a quiet hum while it's running and it cleans the airs with both HEPA and VOC filters.  It's portable too, so you can move it to the area where you need it most.  

Cozy chair for night feedings

You'll want a chair for feedings in this first year so you can relax and be comfortable.  Look for a model that little fingers can't get smashed under if you're adding this to the nursery.    An ottoman can serve as a footrest and the perfect object for pulling up and cruising.  

I suggest a small table with water, snacks, and reading material as you may be sitting here for 30-45 minutes at a time!


Wash tub

Your baby needs to get clean, and really any small vessel of water will work here.  There are plenty of inexpensive plastic baby tub options, but I like this one for it's simplicity, the ability to grow with your child, and the option of using it inside the tub or out on the floor.  If you choose to use the kitchen sink, an insert like the Puj or Blooming Lotus are helpful.  But a towel and attentive parent are really all you need here.

As with other care giving activities, bath-time should be a time of connection, full attention, and respect.  Learn more about the specific techniques of creating quality time in these moments here. 


MORE IN THIS COLLECTION