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8 Best Toys for a 4 Month Old to Boost Development and Fun

On the hunt for the best toys for a 4 month old that will actually keep your fast growing baby engaged and amused? I actually Googled the same thing when my little monkey first hit his 4 month old mark.

Up until this point, I never felt the need to entertain the little one – the days were full of just taking care of him. But all of a sudden, there he was, looking up at me with a glimmer of intellectual curiosity in his eyes.

“What will we do today, mommy?” he seemed to ask. And after months of focusing only on feeding, burping, napping, changing, and attempting to maintain basic hygiene and sanity for myself, I was suddenly faced with the prospect of also entertaining my little one and possibly even facilitating a little learning.

A tall order for an exhausted first time mom. But also tremendously exciting. And so began my search for the best toys for a 4 month old baby.

Why Toys for a 4 Month Old Matter

It’s a tricky period because four months marks the transition between the slug phase – you know, when your little one doesn’t do much but stare blankly at things – and the fun baby phase.

Suddenly, your baby is no longer satisfied with the predictable rhythm of baby swings and rockers. No, the little one is outgrowing passive props and interactive toys are now the way to go.

The best part is, by the time you’ve got a 4 month old baby in your arms, it’s not only baby who’s ready for new adventures but you, mama, are probably more than ready to have a little fun yourself.

And watching your baby having fun and developing new skills is some of the best fun you’ll have as a proud new mama.

What are the Best Toys for a 4 Month Old?

Without further ado, here are the best toys for a 4 month old to stock up on to keep your baby entertained and happy!

Jumperoo

If there is just one thing that is actually a must on this list of 4 month old must haves – it’s the Jumperoo.

Of course, not all babies develop in the same way but you will know when your baby is ready to jump, jump, jump when your arms start feeling incredibly tired.

I spent a week holding my little one up so he could jump around on my lap before my tired arms mustered all the strength they had left to finally go pick up this miracle contraption.

It was the best thing I did (this month).

My baby boy is now officially the happiest little bouncer on the block and my arms are slowly regaining feeling again. Win win.

Lamaze Toys

There’s good reason why the whole range of Lamaze toys have such good reviews. From the delectably named Captain Calamari to the flamboyant Jacque The Peacock, they’re all made to entertain little ones for hours.

Our little monkey’s go to was Freddie the Firefly. We had him well before baby was born. But the little one did not give a toss about any of them until now.

Freddie the Firefly

Whereas before Freddie was an annoying object we waved in his face to try and get him to calm down, now Freddie was his best friend, his amigo, his homie.

With his crinkly bits, various textures, and even a little teether, Freddie makes a very multi-faceted friend for a curious 4 month old baby. And he attaches easily to, well, everything, so he’s handy to tote around as well.

Hands down one of the best toys for a 4 month old.

Activity Mat

If your 4 month old baby has not began rolling from side to side, tummy to back and back to front – rest assured, that little wriggler soon will.

And when she does, she’s going to be delighted to find that you got her an activity mat with bells and whistles.

Fisher Price Rainforest Deluxe Gym

Well, maybe not bells and whistles – but with plenty of eye candy, noisy baubles and toys for her to try out her newfound hand-eye coordination with.

Mirrors

Every 4 month old baby is a tiny little Narcissist. They may not be able to talk about themselves or post their selfies on Instagram but put a mirror in front of them and you’ll quickly discover just how transfixed your little one is by his own reflection.

They’re not even shy about it – your baby will stare at herself in the mirror until the cows come home.

And don’t worry – giving your baby a mirror won’t turn her into a future Kardashian. What it will do is help develop his social and emotional skills and provide hours – seriously, hours – of interactive fun.

Looky-Looky Crawl Along Mirror

You can play with any mirrors in the house, staring and making faces at your reflections or playing peek-a-boo. I also got mine a Crawl Along Mirror to encourage the little one to crawl.

Bath Floatie

Let’s be honest. There’s precious little you can really do to encourage a 4 month old athletically. At the same time, allowing them to work use their little limbs and work off some excess energy is the best recipe for deeper, longer sleep.

The bath floatie is one of the few toys for a 4 month old that lets you do that. Plus, it integrates perfectly into baby’s bath time.

We actually started testing the waters with a baby neck floatie when baby was just shy of 2 months old.

It was such a welcome break from the monotony of simply caring for the baby – finally, some play time! – that it became a fairly regular part of little one’s bath time routine.

Cushions (Or Your Knees)

Essentially, anything that can help elevate your little one just a little bit so that she’s at a comfortable recline. Why, you ask? Well, it just makes it easier for her to maneuver her feet into her mouth.

Around the four month mark, your baby may develop a strange yet endearing fascination with their little feet.

The thing is, though, they don’t really have the skills to reach, grab and harass their hoppers quite yet. Which is why anything that encourages a bit of foot finding play will be good fun at this stage in their development.

To help our little monkey chomp on his feet, we elevated him on pillows, let him recline on our laps, and set his rocker at a slight incline…

He got there soon enough.

Sidenote: Foot finders – or rattles – help to make this game a lot more fun for the both of you.

Soft Cloth Books

As far as I know, my 4 month old baby does not know how to read. Which is why his first soft cloth book had no words in it, just an overenthusiastic narrator – me – to make up stories.

But he loved the experience of story time. And he especially loved the part where he got to stuff the book in his mouth afterwards.

These soft cloth books may not have great plot lines or much character development, but they make up for that with peek-a-boo flaps, crinkly sounds and a variety of touch-and-feel textures.

And in case you’re wondering: isn’t reading to a 4 month old baby pointless? Nope, not at all. Not only is reading to your baby a one-on-one activity that promotes bonding but it also exposes your little one to more words so he can benefit from a larger vocabulary later on.

Teething Toys

Last but not least, no list of must haves for a 4 month old would be complete without a teething toy. Especially if yours is an early teether like ours – the little guy actually sprouted his first bottom tooth at four months, seemingly overnight.

But even if your baby isn’t showing any teeth yet, keep in mind that teething symptoms can often start a few months before you ever see that first tooth make an appearance.

And since most babies start teething within four to six months, one of the best toys for a 4 month old baby is a teether that she can easily maneuver with whatever hand-eye coordination she’s got.

Ours loved the baby banana teether – it was just small enough for him to manipulate with his little hands and I liked to think that the toothbrush component helped keep that tiny tooth clean.

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9 Things I Loved About Staying at a Korean Postpartum Care Center as a First Time Mom

In many parts of the world, relaxing in a postpartum care center after giving birth is considered a luxury. Not so in Korea.

The tradition of postpartum care is called sanhujori (산후조리), which literally translates to after-birth logic and dates back to pre-modern times.

Even today, the idea that new moms need proper postpartum care to recover is as much a given as the idea that babies need good prenatal care to have the best start in life .

Well before I became pregnant, my own mom often talked about how vulnerable a woman’s body is after giving birth and how monumentally important it was to care for myself in those few precious weeks afterwards.

This notion that postpartum care has a life-long impact on a women’s health is still firmly embedded in the Korean national psyche. Is it true? I don’t know. Does it have any modern medical proof behind it? I don’t care.

The only thing that mattered to me was being treated with the most TLC possible at a point in my life I most needed it.

Which is why staying at a postpartum care clinic was a no-brainer for me. In fact, it was actually the biggest factor in choosing to give birth in Korea.

Knowing the first couple weeks afterwards would be brutal, I wanted to be somewhere that viewed pampering for new moms as a necessity, not a medical system that would treat me as an afterthought following one of the most important moments of my life.

And to be honest, I think it was one of the best decisions I made in my pregnancy. Here’s why.

9 Things I Loved About Staying at a Postpartum Care Center

Pregnancy is a busy time. You’re growing a human being and preparing for the entry of a new life into the world. At the same time, you’re negotiating the drastic changes that are happening to your own life.

Between baby preparation, juggling work obligations and putting together a birth plan, life can get chaotic.

Which is why the most beautiful thing about staying at the postpartum care center was the fact that you don’t have to do anything. You literally just show up with the clothes you’re wearing, your baby and your partner in tow.

Everything is provided. Here’s a little list of the things I loved most.

Nourishing Food (You Don’t Have to Prepare)

After close to 10 months growing and nourishing a tiny being, I knew my sore and depleted body needed nutritious, whole foods to help me recover.

But I really didn’t want to have to prepare the food myself or even take on the mental labor of planning meals for family to make for me. Which was why completely entrusting this part to a postpartum care clinic felt like a giant weight lifted from my shoulders.

The clinic provided room service for everything. That’s three solid meals a day, with fresh-squeezed juices and snacks in between.

Needless to say, I ate everything. Which is why I only managed to take a few pictures, all between bites.

Oh, the clinic also provided a simple breakfast of toast and various marmalades and Nutella for dads. And boxes of soy milk delivered to the room for mama to sip on all day – apparently, it helps breastmilk supply.

24/7 Baby Care

One of the coolest features of the postpartum care center is that there is a sort of central Infant Room. It’s where all the babies are kept and it’s staffed by trained and experienced neonatal nurses who handle all newborn needs, from feeding to burping to changing and everything in between.

The best part is that it’s available 24 hours a day.

The ratio is three babies to every nurse and since most newborns are busy sleeping the day away, there always seemed to be a nurse available whenever a baby needed something. And trust us, we checked. A lot. Especially since our room was right across from the Infant Room.

The nurses that run this Infant Room are ready and able to take your newborn at any time, pretty much all the time, except for twice a day when the Infant Room is cleaned and sanitized for an hour.

If you wish to breastfeed, you just let them know and a nurse will deliver your baby to your door when it’s time for feeding.

If you wish to rest, you can either opt for formula – which is provided – or pump your breastmilk in advance and drop it off with the time and name of your baby written on it with a piece of masking tape.

The nurses handle the breastmilk storage and warming up.

I chose to breastfeed during the day but let the nurses handle feedings during the night. The clinic provided a Medela breast pump, which I used right before I slept and around 3AM and then dropped off at the nurse’s station for the little one.

A pediatrician visits once a week to check each and every newborn over and make sure that all is well. In the early days, it was wonderful to have this provided on-site instead of having to trek to the pediatrician’s office.

Lactation Consultant

Breastfeeding may be natural but anyone who has ever had to breastfeed knows that it doesn’t necessarily come naturally.

This stuff is hard. I struggled with latch, position, hand and arm cramps, shoulder strain, and the constant worry of whether baby was getting enough – or even anything at all.

My head was full of questions and my boobs were angry, swollen balloons of milk and pain.

So it was a huge perk that the postpartum care clinic had a very efficient, no-nonsense lactation consultant who regularly came to the room to provide complimentary breast massage and help you with issues of latch and positioning.

Baby Equipment You Can Try

When I was pregnant, I watched loads of videos and read a bunch of articles on must have baby essentials. But the truth of the matter is, you never really know what is going to be essential for you until the baby comes.

So it was lovely to spend the first two weeks of baby’s life in the coziness of a clinic that provided everything.

We got to see that baby slept just fine in a tiny little wooden cart next to our bed. I got to try a breastfeeding cushion and pillows to see if that made the experience better. Baby got to try out the Nuna Leaf rocker, which was provided for every room.

Most importantly, we learned over those two weeks that we didn’t really need much. And the two week stay gave us plenty of time to order the things that we did need – like a breast pump – and rent the things that we found useful – like the Nuna Leaf.

Massages for Mama

I weighed 58 kilos when I got pregnant. At my last weigh in before giving birth, I weighed 85 kilos.

A day after giving birth, I weighed…85 kilos.

I was so swollen full of fluids, I found it hard to move sometimes. So the deep tissue massages that were included as part of the postpartum care were a godsend.

Everything is scheduled for you and the massage center calls your room to let you know when you can come in for your moment of zen.

My only complaint is that these massages didn’t happen every day – only two massages were included in the package, you had to pay for every additional massage.

Yoga (and Other Activities)

The main activity at a postpartum care clinic is resting and recovering. But they also offered a couple activities and educational classes for new moms.

Most of the activities, like making baby mobiles or baby handprint keepsakes, didn’t appeal to me but I enjoyed the yoga class they offered in their brightly lit skywalk.

Some classes, like self breast massage and a short class on making baby formula, was also really helpful.

Gentle Lighting

Lighting doesn’t seem like a huge deal but when you feel ugly, depleted, swollen beyond recognition, weak, depressed and aren’t allowed to shower for another week – seeing yourself reflected only in soft, flattering lighting will warm your weary heart.

It’s such a small thing but the fact that this postpartum clinic seemed to have considered even their lighting from a new and exhausted mama’s perspective won me over.

That was the final thing that made me think: Yup, I can trust these folks to take care of me at my most vulnerable.

Baby Pictures

As part of the postpartum care package, we received a complimentary pregnancy and newborn photo shoot.

A week into our stay, an impressively efficient photography team arrived in sanitation coats and awed us with their ability to conduct seamless costume changes for a handful of newborns.

The downside, of course, was that the photo studio tried to upsell us on more photo packages that would have totaled close to $1,000.

We fell for the first upsell and ended up forking over close to $300 for a pregnancy photo session, which we later realized was entirely unnecessary.

But the complimentary newborn shoot was fun and we got some lovely pictures of our little spud out of it.

No Stress

There is a lot that a partner and/or family and friends can do for you after you give birth but ultimately, everyone has different standards and ways of doing things.

With my hormones yet to level off and emotions running high, the last thing I wanted was to be stressed or angry because my husband hadn’t prepared a balanced dinner or forgot to wash the baby’s clothes separately.

The simple removal of stress over everyday household tasks allowed me to focus on the only things that mattered: recovering while enjoying my baby.

2 Things That Could’ve Been Better

Like with all things, it wasn’t all roses and unicorns at the postpartum care center. Here’s what I wished could’ve been different.

Breastfeeding Challenges

This isn’t so much a criticism of the postpartum care center but rather an unfortunate consequence of having access to 24/7 baby care.

During our stay, I chose to sleep through the night rather than wake up to breastfeed so little one ended up being bottle-fed for his night feedings.

The result? The little bugger realized the bottle was easier and once we checked out of the clinic, he refused to go back on the boob. I visited lactation consultants and tried everything to no avail.

I ended up pumping for the next four months. Still, the sleep I got during our stay was worth it.

Food Variety

One integral part of Korean postpartum care is nutritious food that helps you heal and in Korea that means one thing: seaweed soup.

As a result, I had seaweed soup every single day during my stay.

It also bears mention that every meal, every day was Korean food. I love Korean food. But I also love Mexican food, Indian food, Vietnamese food, and so on.

This was possibly the only factor that made is easier for me to leave. Otherwise, I might have tried to stay there until baby was 18.

Was It Worth It?

A resounding yes. Completely and totally.

It was worth every penny. And there are usually a lot of pennies involved in postpartum care. A two-week stay at one of these clinics can range from around $2,000 to over $10,000.

I chose a fairly mid-range postpartum center, which came to a little over $3,000 for our two-week stay.

And overall, the price tag may make it seem like a luxury at first but for what you get in personalized attention, round-the-clock professional baby care, and the burden of new motherhood cares lifted off your shoulders – it’s actually a bargain.

It falls solidly in my category of things-that-are-expensive-but-worth-paying-every-penny-for. And yes, I’d definitely go back if I had the chance.