In her first months, before she learns to grasp objects or sit up, your baby will most appreciate things she can look at and listen to. Her vision will be fuzzy at first and she’ll fix on things that are about eight to 14 inches from her eyes. She’s drawn to the human face — and can recognize yours at about 1 month — but she will also enjoy large pictures of faces.
High-contrast patterns and bright colors captivate her because they’re the easiest for her to see. She’s already learned to appreciate sounds and soft music. (Find out the lyrics to all your favorite lullabies.) Objects that move slowly and produce a gentle sound are far more interesting to her than those that are fixed and silent.
Hand-held toys: Her nearsightedness makes her appreciate anything you can move into her line of sight. She won’t be able to hold toys for a while, but she’ll demonstrate her preferences by batting at the ones she likes.
Tape player or music box: Music is one of the best ways to entertain and soothe your infant. Play a variety of music — nothing too raucous — and see how she responds. For more ideas, see our musical recommendations for this age group.
Mobile: A mobile can add a new dimension to a baby’s horizontal view of life. Look for ones with high-contrast colors and patterns. Many babies are particularly fond of mobiles that play music. Attach the mobile to the crib rail. Infants this age look to the right 80 percent of the time, so a toy hung overhead or on the left will be of limited value now. For safety’s sake, keep the mobile out of your baby’s reach.
Unbreakable mirror: Although they won’t realize it’s themselves they’re seeing at this stage, babies find their own reflection fascinating. And by 3 months old, yours may have struck up a relationship with hers, and begun smiling at it. Look for a mirror you can fasten to the side of the crib or hang near a changing table.
Soft books with high-contrast patterns: Soft books with easy-to-see patterns or decorations are designed just for babies. Lie down next to her so she can watch you turn the pages as you read aloud to her — even at this age it pays off. For more ideas, see our recommended books for newborns.
Sensory toys: A soft toy that trills or tweets when pressed will please a baby for months to come. The accidental squeaks will also help her become aware of what her hand is doing.
Sock and wrist rattles: Attach a soft rattle to your baby’s wrist or ankle, or warm her feet with socks that have built-in rattles to provide long moments of entertainment as she experiments with new sounds she can make herself.
Wind chimes: Babies love soft music, so hang a set of these in a place where she can watch it move and listen to the sound. If the chime is over her crib, your baby may fall into the habit of watching it for a few minutes before drifting to sleep. Hold her up once in a while so she can sound the chimes herself, too.
For tips on toy safety, click here.