It is so difficult to know what to buy for a very small baby – they are not able to see or hold things properly for months and yet we want to celebrate their arrival with a demonstration of how much we care. But whatever you get, as long as it is age suitable and safe then you are on to a winner.

I often think that there is a good opportunity to keep the price point reasonable at this age because, for a start, babies don’t have a clue about money and they grow so fast and want different things so quickly that spending too much money now, when there are so many other competing needs, can feel like a bit of a waste. Maybe little and often is the way to go.

Soft toys and cuddlies have been covered in a different section so all I am going to add here are some of the best buys in the various different price ranges and then get on to the other stuff.

Premium – This plush top-of-the-range polar bear ticks all the boxes as a statement present.

Mid level – Still on the polar bear theme (who doesn’t love them?) this mid-priced toy still has the wow factor.

Every day – Charming cheeky companion could cheer up any child.

Bargain! – Won’t break the bank but still gives a child something to cuddle and take care of.

Cot mobiles and light shows

There are some seriously pretty things that go on to cots or which project light shows onto the ceiling. They give a baby who really can’t do much more than lie there something to look at. Some of them also wind up so that you can play the child some soothing music at bed time in the hope they will go to sleep (in my experience it can lead to having to go back in several times to wind it up again but that might, at a pinch, be thought of as being all part and parcel the exhausting job of being a parent – then again maybe not). They can be useful distractions over the changing table for similar reasons.

Rattles and teething rings

As soon as babies have some form of control over their hands we need to give them to grab at and to hold on to. The traditional choice is a rattle, a small, graspable object that makes a noise and grabs the child’s attention so they can make a direct connection between their own physical actions and the external result. Immediate feedback, the holy grail of teachable moments.

Allied to this is the fact that whatever a newly inquisitive baby encounters will sooner or later make its way into the child’s mouth, so you might as well plan for that in the first place. A baby makes no real distinction between looking at something and exploring it with hands and mouth, it’s all exploratory sensory input, and of course those itchy nagging teeth as they come through make babies almost frantic with the need to gnaw on things.

There are some very pretty silver rattles and teething rings on the market. Often these are given as birth gifts or christening/naming presents, they come in lovely presentation boxes and are great for marking the occasion and I believe that parent think they are traditional and rather sweet – as actual rattles and teething rings however they are somewhat less successful. This is an occasion where modern, washable, cheap, food/baby safe plastics come into their own. They are easily cleaned, can be found in all sorts of colours, shapes and most importantly textures to meet the child’s needs and help in the teething process. They might even save some of your more precious personal items from the gnawing dribbler in your life.

And then, of course, there is Sophie the Giraffe. This has been a huge hit as a teether. Note that they have also produced an actual teething ring version, but the “ringless” giraffe is the original and genuine.

Baby gyms and play mats

Quite useful to keep a baby who can’t move occupies while lying down. Covered in things to swipe at, rattle, mirrors to look in and sometimes even a light show these can get you that coveted ten minutes peace and quite.

Sit in play seats

When babies are making the transition for mostly passive lying down creatures to sitting up interacting with everything creatures it can be a good idea to use a play seat that supports and stabilises their sitting position and which keeps at least some kind of plaything in easy reach.

Stacking, building, and posting toys

These kinds of toys have enormous play value. They are quite cheap and can be used in so many ways. At first adults build mighty towers and children knock them down again, and again and again. After a while they learn to build towers themselves, and then knock them down again, and again and again. They post shapes into sorters and collect all the green ones together. They can be used to understand about shape, and size, colour and number as well as encouraging both fine and gross motors skills. Total bargain!

I love these traditional stacking rings and cups. Bright, fun, practically indestructible and not going to break the bank.

First books

It is never too early to get your children into books. A love of books and of reading is the gateway to so much in the way of entertainment, education and enlightenment. But lets be honest you don’t want to give your baby a paper book to explore, not with all that dribble going on and the general disregard for taking care of their things that your average baby shows. Cloth books with bright pictures, interesting surfaces and squeaky bits sewn in between the pages. Its all good!