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Jess's toy, product, book and resource recommendations

Hi guys! It's Jess and welcome back to the blog! I am really excited about today's post because the information in it is something I wished I had as a reference back when Adeline was born. I felt so overwhelmed with the idea of having a child with special needs for a number of reasons. Having a birth diagnosis of Down Syndrome meant I was completely unprepared in every way possible. One of the things that made me panic was wondering if I had everything I needed for her. Would she require special toys, tools, resources etc. The answer to that is yes and no. Adeline is a baby first, and a child who happens to have down syndrome second. That said I have had to add a bit to my collection of toys and such but honestly not at all as much as I thought I would. I hope this little compilation of information is helpful.

I thought it would be good to separate this blog post into categories to keep it as organized as possible. Take a look below for my highlighted recommendations!

  • Toys and products

  • Age 0-3 Months

  • If I am being perfectly honest, toys were not even in the picture for the first three months of Adeline’s life. She basically slept 20 hours a day until she finally woke up in November lol! We did however, use a number of products during that time which helped a lot:

  • Sensory Activity Play Mat: Adeline has Hypotonia, which is essentially low muscle tone. Due to this, one of the first tips I received from Adeline's Physical Therapist was to put Adeline on a play mat as much as possible in place of a seat. My first born Charlee had a seat to sit in basically every room! With Addie, I laid her on this mat all throughout the day and she absolutely loved it. She really responded well to the contrasting colors and loved to look at the animals dangling above her. She also really started to notice her body and little limbs. This helped her tremendously with her physical growth and progression.

  • Manhattan Toy Infant Stim Mobile to Go Travel Toy: I can't tell you guys how awesome this little mobile was for Adeline. I took it everywhere with us. It was important to me that if Adeline had to be in her car seat (en route to yet another appt.) or stroller, that she was getting stimulated visually as much as she could be. I didn't want to over-stimulate her but again she slept all the time so that really wasn't a worry! She loved this thing!

  • Age 3-6 months

Adeline with her first toy, the Winkel

  • The Winkel: This toy was recommended to me by our Physical Therapist as well as our Occupational Therapist. It really is an awesome first toy. Adeline was not great at grasping for a little while and this toy allowed her to get the hang of it without dropping the toy. There were so many little places to grasp making it a wonderful hand grasp training tool.

  • The Noggin Stick: This toy was also great for learning to grasp. It lights up and has a mirror on the end making it super engaging. It also kind of hurt her little head when she accidentally bonked it against her noggin so that helped her realize that she shouldn't do that!

  • The house of Noa play mat : This play mat has been awesome for Adeline. I actually have it in the middle of our living room because it looks like a rug! It's stylish and a good size for play. We use is every day for her therapies and tummy time.

  • The Tushbaby: I wore this hip support band every day with Adeline. Due to her Hypotonia, I had to really support her in my arms for months. Only now (at 10 months) is she able to stabilize her core when I am holding her. I used this support seat every day only until just recently! Also, the leopard print is super cute!

Jess holding Adeline using the Tushbaby
  • Age 6-9

  • Bumbo seat with tray: It took Adeline a lot longer to sit unassisted than neuro-typical kiddos. The Bumbo helped tremendously with this transition. I actually still use it once in a while if I am in a room with no soft mat in it. Her thighs are getting a little too chunky for it now though!

Adeline enjoying the Bumbo Seat