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Lisa Williams picks out the baby toys you'll find most helpful in the first months...

Unless you’ve been around lots of babies before having your own, it can be difficult to know what toys they’ll respond to at what age. I’ve admitted before that I was surprised my son didn’t immediately want to cuddle a toy when he was a newborn. Similarly, friends have complained about well-meaning baby development emails suggesting they should be cutting out photo collages and making their own play-dough, at a time when they were struggling even to perform basic survival tasks such as sleeping and eating.

So, to help you navigate this minefield, we have put together a list of what toys your baby will respond to the most at each different age, starting with newborn to six months. Away we go…

1) Lamaze Dinosaur, £9.33 

While babies this age won’t be building towers or composing award-winning musicals, they can respond to contrast, colour, sounds, shapes and textures, so choose their toys for how they look, sound and feel. Lamaze toys tick all the boxes, with a genius combination of fabrics, colours and functionality. And dinosaur toys are always a winner; I know one mother who dodged traffic to rescue her son’s beloved ‘Douglas’ the dinosaur who had winged its way on to the road. This one crackles, rattles, and flaps its wings, and can be hooked onto car seats, buggy bars and jungle gyms.

2) Art for Baby, £16.82

Newborn babies see contrast before they can make out different colours, so when your baby is really little, they will respond to a black and white image more than anything multi-coloured (and when I say respond, this is more likely to be an internal response than a ‘Wow, what a picture!’). This beautiful book features high-contrast images by 11 contemporary artists, giving you something to think about as well as them something to see.

3) Vollter foot and wrist rattles, £6.99

It’s all very well buying a baby a rattle, but until they develop their hand-eye co-ordination, it’s going to be hard for them to use it. That’s why these foot and wrist rattles are ideal. Stick them on as your baby is nestled in a bouncer, and watch as they thrill with every arm shake and foot kick. I found this a particularly useful way of keeping my little one entertained in the bathroom while I had a shower.

4) Sophie la Girafe teether, £11

No newborn toy guide is complete without a mention of every baby’s favourite rubber animal. We’re not quite sure what makes Sophie such a hit with the little ones; could it be the variety of different shapes and textures to nibble on, the squeaking noise or her irresistibly cute little face? Either way, Sophie will see your baby through teething, long car journeys and when your nursery rhyme singing begins to grate.

5) Mamas and Papas Zam Bee Zee Musical Mobile, £30.15

So many mobiles are designed with the parents and not the baby in mind. While we advocate items which you don’t need to hide when your friends come over, when it comes to baby mobiles, it really is important that the hanging toys face downwards towards the baby and not sideways towards the adult. This Mamas and Papas mobile fits the bill, plays lullabies and is ideal for gender neutral nurseries too.



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