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In Motherhood on
November 1, 2017

The 12 TOP TOYS for baby’s first year

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Since Landon just turned ONE (say what!?), I decided to compile a list of his favorite toys throughout the year. I know as a first time mom, I was always having to research what toys to buy Landon, that he would find fun but were educational at the same time. I ‘pinned’ a bunch of articles on ‘top toys for baby’s first year’, but I wanted to compile our own list of personal favorites to share with you all!


Some of Landon’s favorite first-year toys:


1 month – Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy 

This little toy was a hit. He loved the flashing lights and melodies of the music. Perfect size to take along on car rides or a stroll in the park.

2 months – Tiny Love Gymini Super Deluxe Lights & Music Play Mat

This mat was by far one of Landon’s favorite things. He loved the jungle animals and all of the colors. The flowers on the mat are touchable and glow, so when baby begins to crawl they can push the buttons. When Landon was learning how to sit up, he would hold onto both sides of bars to balance himself. It was so cute!

3 months – Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother 

A year later and he still loves this thing. This aquarium slips over the side of the crib and baby can look at it when they go to bed. This toy makes soothing music and underwater sounds, while the fish & sea turtles swim from side to side. Highly recommend it!

4 months– Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Puppy’s Activity Home

This was Landon’s favorite toy. He still plays with it sometimes. When he got used to what this toy does, he was obsessed with opening and closing the blue door and spinning the rattle at the bottom to play the music. It was like clockwork, every morning he would go over to his house- spin the rattle and turn on the light. So cute.

5 months – Baby Einstein Activity Jumper

This jumper was great for L. He loved the colors and interactive toys hanging from the side. He used this jumper up until he was around 8/9 months and then didn’t want to be in it anymore. For the time he did use it, it was totally worth it. Afterwards, all he wanted to do was use it as a support for standing!

6 months – Little Tikes Rainmaker 

Landon was fascinated by the sound of the beads as you turn this shaker from side to side. This always seemed to entertain him and was easy to pack up on the go.

7 monthsBanana training toothbrush and teether

This was GREAT for teething. Landon still loves to suck and gnaw his teeth on this teether. Easy to clean and fits perfectly into babies little hands.

8 months – VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

All I can say is, AWESOME! The great part about this toy is that the top of it has an activity table- which is detachable, so baby can play with it on the floor as well. The activity table teaches sounds, numbers and words. We loved this walker so much!

9 months – Fisher Price – Dance & Move BeatBow Wow

Love this dancing, interactive dog. Every time we play this, Landon’s face lights up- he smiles from ear to ear. After a few times showing him, he learned to press the button himself to watch the puppy dance. He always tries to kiss the dog, I guess that means he likes him a lot 😉

10 months – Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Around The Town Learning Table

We just recently bought this table for Landon and really seemed to enjoy it! His favorite thing (no surprise) was the cell phone. He is obsessed with our phones, so he was ecstatic when he got one of his own 😉 It’s great for when baby starts to stand, because they walk around the table and play with all of the different learning tools. What I like about this toy is that there are 3 levels that you can change the table to, which allows for advanced learning (it even teaches baby some Spanish!)

11 months – EverEarth Garden Activity Cube

We were given this activity cube as a gift and what a great one at that! This cube has 6 sides, allowing for play on all angles, literally. Landon really enjoys playing with this cube, twirling around the little balls from side to side. This toy is not the cheapest, but is made by EverEarth and great quality and is totally worth the splurge.

12 monthsLittle Tikes Cozy Coupe

To be honest, I am writing this post before Landon has been able to try this little car out yet- however, I have heard great things about it! I mean, who hasn’t had one of these growing up? I know I did! I can’t wait to see him sit in the car- I know he will get a kick out of it, for sure!

What were your child’s favorite toys during their first year? Leave me a comment below!

Related post: 10 ‘must have’ items for your newborn baby


In Motherhood on
September 20, 2017

10 ‘must have’ items for your newborn baby

This post contains affiliate links

Getting through the first weeks with a newborn is not easy, as any mom out there would agree, but there have been many baby items that have it made it that much more bearable for us – and I wanted to share them with you! Keep in mind that these items are not uncommon, however are certainly ‘must haves’ for the new mommy and daddy. Don’t forget to add them to your baby registry!


Below are my recommendations for the top ten items that you “must have” for your newborn baby:

1. Medela Soft Shell bra inserts

These things were lifesavers for me. If you plan to breastfeed, these were the best recommendation I ever got. If you are breastfeeding, your nipples will get extremely sore and cracked – so sore to the point that you don’t want to wear a shirt or even shower! These shells make it a lot more tolerable. You insert them into your bra or cami and your nipple sits in a dome, so that it doesn’t touch anything. They are also great for when your milk supply comes in because it collects and catches any leakage (before your shirt gets soaked).

2. Kimono Tees

Your baby will love these! I would suggest getting a pack of 3, since you’ll use them quite frequently. They open and snap in the front, instead of having to put something over the baby’s head. These are great because while the baby’s umbilical cord is drying up, you don’t need to irritate it by putting a traditional onesie on. Our baby was comfy in his kimono and we had him wear it to bed every night until his cord fell off.

3. Breast pump

A breast pump is a must have item, even if just for back up. Your breasts become so engorged the first few weeks that you may need to pump after your baby eats, just to relieve the pain you feel. Whatever you pump, make sure to freeze for later!

4. Rock and play sleeper

This is great for when you need a break or baby needs a change of scenery. Ours rocks and vibrates, and Landon slept very well in it. It is compact and lightweight, making it so easy to pack and take with us when we went to visit family or when we dropped him off at daycare. 

5. Muslin Swaddle blankets

These come in so many awesome patterns and are so soft. We swaddled Landon every night before he went to bed, for the first month or so. We found him getting the best sleep when he was swaddled. The tighter the swaddle, the better they tend to sleep – but remember, not too tight!

6. Pampers Swaddlers

One word, amazing. These newborn diapers have a strip that runs down the front of the diaper that lets you know if your baby has peed or not. The strip is yellow and will turn blue when saturated with urine. It is an easy way to know when to change the diaper at a quick glance.

7. Lulyboo Baby Lounger

This portable baby lounger is a God-send. We took it with us anytime we left the house to go visit friends/family. It is a pack-and-go (it folds up into a backpack for convenient travel) bassinet that is fun and engaging and keeps baby comfy and safe when you leave the house. We purchased the Lulyboo Baby Lounger To Go and love it. It is good for the first three months or until your baby outgrows it.

8. Baby Mittens

You wouldn’t believe how long your babies nails can get, even right after they are born – you may even need to give your baby a manicure right when you get home like we did. Mittens are important to have on hand as babies tend to scratch their faces in their sleep or while moving around.

9. Binky

We were very hesitant to use a binky at first, but it really helped soothe Landon when we were changing or bathing him. We don’t encourage him to use it all the time, however it is better than him sucking on his fingers. We asked our doctor and he eased our fears by saying it can help with the hiccups and even reduces the risk of SIDS. If you are concerned or on the fence, check with your pediatrician and make the right decision for your family. Also, make sure to buy the 0-6m size, which is much smaller and fits the newborn face better.

10. Micro Steam Bags

These are great, affordable sterilizing bags that you can use up to 20 times per use. You just insert water, the items you want to clean, and then microwave for 1-3 minutes depending on your microwave wattage. It’s simple and easy and makes the whole sterilizing process 10x easier!

I know a lot of these items seem so obvious, but they really were lifesavers for us! I would love to hear what some of you seasoned moms have to say about products or items you think are your favorite ‘must have’ items. Make sure to leave me a comment below!


This post was first seen on Society Letters here.

If you liked this post you may also like these other related posts written by Jess:



In Breastfeeding on
May 15, 2017

Must-Have ‘Pumping Essentials’ For Breastfeeding Moms

Hi Everyone! Today, I am going to be talking specifically about (ready for it…) ‘pumping’. I will be sharing with you my top essential items needed for pumping at home AND on the go! This post is a continuation of my previous topic, Breastfeeding Essentials for the New Mom. Don’t worry, if you missed it, you can catch up here

When it comes to the idea of pumping, many people are misinformed or automatically get scared away by the thought of it. Why would I want to be hooked up to some device- it’s so unnatural? Well, you’re not the only one to think this. I am here to tell you that it is NOT as bad as you are thinking. In fact, it’s the most unnatural, natural, thing- and… it’s really kind of easy.

When Landon was first born, I didn’t plan to start pumping until we were around a month into our breastfeeding routine. I wanted to get a hand of breastfeeding first and then worry about pumping later. I did know however, that I wanted to start pumping early on- in order to secure a hefty ‘back up’ supply of milk for my freezer stash.  To my surprise however, I actually started pumping on the first day Landon came home from the hospital. 

No one forewarned me what ‘getting your milk supply in’ really meant…

I mean, maybe I should have had an idea of what would happen- but to be honest, my mind was in so many other places that I wasn’t waiting looking at the clock for my colostrum to turn into real breast milk. I woke up the second morning after being home, to find my breasts fully engorged (I’m talking— HUGE) and leaking all over my shirt [TMI? Sorry- this is a breastfeeding post hehe]. I wasn’t sure what to do. It was my first time going through all of this ‘first time momma’ stuff. Because Landon had recently eaten and it wasn’t time to feed him again, TJ suggested that I try pumping. Way to go hubby! Good suggestion.

After some trial and error, here are my recommendations for pumping AT HOME…

  1. A trustworthy pump. I use the Medela in Style Advanced Pump and have been very happy with it. Check with your insurance and see what hands-free pump they will cover, so that you don’t have to pay a dime. Yes, finally something free.
  2. Pumping phalanges. Any good pump will come with all of the things that you need. With your pump you should receive phalanges, tubing, at least 2 bottles for milk collection, and a wall adapter for charging. 
  3. A good handsfree pumping bra. I could never sit there manually pumping one side at time. Make it easy and get one of these.
  4. Milk supply bags for easy, fast, freezer storage. I have been through 3 different milk storage brands and my favorite is definitely the Up and Up bags from Target. They have a double zip and most importantly can freeze flat


    Now, let’s talk about pumping ON THE GO… 

    One of my all time favorite pumping items EVER is my hands-free Freemie pump. I still thank the nurse who recommended these to me. They are lifesavers for the working mom! With your Freemie you can pump in public- without anyone knowing! Yes, I am serious. Because I am a full-time Registered Nurse, it has always been challenging finding the time to pump. With this hands-free pump it is SO EASY. All I do is insert the cups into my bra and hook up the tubing to my Medela pump and pump away! I use it, conveniently, when I am charting at work. I have so many co-workers tell me that they had no idea I was pumping. It’s so quiet and you can maneuver the tubing to go under your shirt, so you literally don’t see a thing. The best part about the Freemie is that you can keep your shirt on and remain completely covered and concealed while pumping. 

    What Essentials you will need…

    1. Freemie Collection Cups. You can purchase the entire kit and caboodle (cups and pump together) or the cups individually. Just make sure the freemie is compatible with your current pump.

    2. Car adapter & portable (battery-operated) charger. If you chose to pump in the car on your way to work, you will need the car adapter to be able to run your pump while driving. I also purchased the battery operated charger in case the electricity goes out or I have to pump in a place where I don’t have easy access to an outlet.

    3. Pumping bag- preferably one with a shoulder strap. I keep my pumping supplies in this black bag. It looks like a normal pocketbook and is lightweight and fits my pump perfectly. I have the Medela bag, found here.

    4. Nursing scarf. I keep mine in my purse so it is handy for any time I may need it. I usually only end up using it when baby is with me and needs to eat, but it gives you some privacy for anytime you feel appropriate.

    5. Insulated Cooler Bag. You can find a similar version here. I like this on the go bag, because I can store my pumped milk in the fridge at work- without anyone having to see it (or freaking out all of the men at work). It keeps the milk cold and is perfect if you transfer the milk into bottles or bags, for easy storage.

    I hope that you all found this post to be helpful. I wish I had an article like this before I started out. Feel free to leave me any comments or questions below. I would love to hear your thoughts! PS- Feel free to share this post with any Momma that you think may need this advice!