5 Holiday Gifts Ideas for Your 1-Year-Old That Will Grow with Them

Babies grow out of things so quickly–including toys! It can be hard to figure out what to get her that she won’t toss aside after a couple months (or even a couple uses!).

So to kick off this holiday season, here are five parent-tested gift ideas for your baby (boy or girl), that you have a good shot will engage him for at least a few years to come:

hapekitchen1) A Play Kitchen.  This worthwhile investment has created hours upon hours of fun in our household from age one to age four. There are many nice options out there, but Hape makes a great one: Playfully Delicious Gourmet Kitchen.

2) This Melissa & Doug Shopping Cart. It starts as a nice push toy for new walkers (it’s not the most stable, so make sure you’re little one is decently steady first), and will grow into a favorite toy for pretend play.

3) A Tea Set. I’ve never met a toddler that didn’t love a good tea party (boys and girls!). It’s a fun way to pass the time and promotes fine motor skills too. All it takes is a small pot of herbal tea, and a side of cookies or dried fruits, and most toddlers will be in heaven. Any cute set will probably do, but if you’re looking for a nice one, latchescheck out: Fruit Garden Tin Tea Party Set for Kids.

4) The Melissa & Doug Deluxe Latches BoardThis puzzle-like activity grows with your child. They can master different latches at different ages and the surprises behind the doors never seem to get old.

5) Finger Paint.  Early on this activity can be messy, but no matter what age, finger-painting always seems to be a big hit with young children! Try: Crayola Washable Fingerpaints for painting success that’s also super easy to wash off.

For more great educational toy recommendations, check out expert Lisa Schiavoni’s Mamajamas List.

What Top Sleep Products Are Actually Detrimental To Baby’s Sleep?

When I asked top Harvard Sleep Doctor Erin Evans about whether there were any sleep products for babies that she would NOT recommend, I was stunned when she rattled off a bunch of super popular, mainstream products, including some that I had sworn by when my son was a baby!

It turns out some of the major brands are NOT designing their products with the science of sleep in mind. And according to Erin, some of these popular products can actually be detrimental to your baby getting healthy sleep!

Erin warns:

“Many new parents buy products that claim to “sooth your baby to sleep.” Some of these products are unnecessary and in some cases may actually cause sleep disruption. For example, a blue light is the most potent stimulant of the biological clock. Blue light immediately promotes wakefulness and blue light is actually used just like caffeine to help keep shiftworkers awake all night. For some reason this information hasn’t made it back to baby product manufacturers, who suggest that the color blue is soothing!”
Baby sleep aides that Erin DOES NOT RECOMMEND because of the color of their light include:

Fisher-Price Rainforest Waterfall Peek-a-Boo Soother
: This toy projects bright blue light in your baby’s crib to help “lull” your baby to sleep. The problem is that your baby’s body is very sensitive to blue light and exposure to light tonight at 4:00 AM will cause a signal to wake up tomorrow at 4:00 AM. It’s much better to teach your baby to fall asleep in other ways and avoid the need to soothe to sleep with something that will cause more waking.

Fisher-Price Luv U Zoo Crib ‘N Go Projector SootherLight is what resets the circadian rhythm. The last thing you want is a light in your child’s crib — it could massively disrupt your child’s sleep. Save toys like this for daytime play.

gracoGraco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine: The sound machine functionality is nice, it goes all night and has a variety of soothing sounds to choose from, however, they chose a blue, stimulating night for the night light! [Note: I love this sound machine, but I recently removed this from my personal Mamajamas list based on Erin’s advice about the night light portion of it.]

Again from Erin:

“Stay away from products that light up (in any color except red or amber). Since light is alerting and is what resets the biological clock, having your baby stare at a light before falling asleep is likely to lead to trouble in the future.”

If you do want a night light, Erin DOES RECOMMEND:

Leviton Amber LED Nightlight:  If you need a night light to see in your child’s room, then choose one that is very dim and amber or red in color. Blue, green and white nightlights are stimulating to the circadian rhythm and can actually increase your child’s night wakings.

For all of Erin’s “must have” and “don’t buy” sleep products, check out her Mamajamas List. And, for more great baby sleep tips, check out Erin’s website “Baby Sleep Science” or her blog “The Sleep Doctor’s Son”.

SPECIAL OFFER: Use the code MAMAJAMAS, and get 10% off of your first Baby Sleep Science phone consultation.

Your Mamajamas List Can Now Help Your Laziest of Pregnant Friends

Today we launched the ability for your friends to copy your entire Mamajamas list onto theirs with one click!

Now when I send my Mamajamas list to my pregnant friends, they can simply press the “Copy List” button off of my list, and voilá, baby gear problems solved!

Obviously, they may not want EVERYTHING I recommended (maybe my Himalayan Salt Lamp is a little too weird for them), so after copying my list, they can then customize theirs as they see fit (by looking at other Mamajamas suggested lamps, adding, deleting products, etc. etc.).

But for some folks, they’re cool just trusting you all the way (and possibly your hours of research). It takes time to think about baby gear.

So I say, share your list and encourage your friends copy away!