Life was super crazy during this period so publishing the 9-12 month must-have baby items almost slipped through the cracks! Luckily, I have friends to remind me to stay on track. 🙂
The 9-12 month phase is a fun one – your little one is becoming mobile, crawling all over the place, and possibly even taking those first few steps. For us, Josie took her first steps right around her first birthday. I’ll be honest, I was slightly surprised she wasn’t an “early walker” simply because the girl is always in a hurry to get somewhere. To be honest, I think she realized she could get around faster by crawling, so that’s what she did!
If you haven’t read the must-have post for babies 6-9 months, I recommend heading over there. The items listed are still applicable during the 9-12 month stage.
The biggest changes during this stage are that your little one is becoming more mobile each day and he or she is able to eat more solid foods (now that they probably have more teeth). Throughout the must-haves, you’ll notice that much of these items revolve around those two things: more mobility and eating more solid foods.
No KiddingMust-Have Items for Baby 9-12 months
Carryover from 6-9 Months:
High Chair– Since moving into our home, we invested in the Stokke Trip Trap high chair which is amazing. We had purchased two other less expensive options (one that clips to the table, and one that attached to a regular chair) but ultimately splurged on this one. I love that it is all wooden. After the other options, I can say unequivocally that I am not a fan of the high chairs with rubber padding or cloth. Those are just opportunities for food to get stuck and/or stain. I felt like I was constantly cleaning food out of places I didn’t even know were possible. The Stokke Tripp Trapp is all wooden. There’s no chance of food getting stuck anywhere and it’s so simple to wipe clean. This guy is expensive but so worth it.
That said, I still like this travel high chair that we used in our old apartment. It was great for small-space living but, because it was fabric, I felt like it always needed to be washed. We didn’t have laundry in our unit, so I washed it in the machine once a week with our other clothes. If you do have laundry in your home and have the option to do it at any time, this would be a nice option so that you don’t have another piece of furniture taking up space in your kitchen. I still use this one for restaurants and visiting friends/family. It folds up easily and comes with its own carrying case, so it’s ideal for packing in the car or toting around.
Splat Mat – I thought that messes would become rarer as she learned how to use utensils. This is not the case. I don’t know about your little ones but, when Josie is done eating her food, she often drops it on the floor and then says, “uh-ohhh.” (I’m hoping this is a phase that is soon grown out of.) The splat mat is great because after meal-time, I can just pick up, shake it off outside, and then toss in the washing machine. I usually wipe off any food spills after each meal and then toss it in the laundry once or twice a week for a deeper cleaning. Since we use it for all snacks and meals, it’s not practical to wash between every use.
Super Easy Baby Food Cookbook – This book continues to be a great reference as Josie gets older. Once she moved past pureed foods, there were several solid food options that she absolutely loved. Her favorites were the broccoli cheese nuggets, and the banana blueberry pancakes.
I can only speak for myself but, after a long day at work, it could get overwhelming to come up with a full day of food options to pack for childcare. I liked that all of the recipes in this book required “normal” ingredients and could easily be frozen. I always cooked a few options on weekends, then froze them into individual portions to use for meals throughout the week. Making food ahead was absolutely crucial with two working parents and full-time daycare.
Lovevery Play Kit – these Montessori-based play kits continue to be our favorite toys. I finally pulled the trigger and subscribed. Now that we’re all in quarantine, it’s been even more of a blessing to have age-based toys delivered at the perfect time. More than the toys though, the Lovevery books included in each kit are Josie’s absolute favorites. The “Where’s Crew’s Shoe?” interactive book was the only book she sat still long enough to actually read during this stage.
New Additions for 9-12 Months
Miniware Little Foodie Set – For mealtime at home, it was crucial to have dinnerware with suction capability. I can only imagine how many more dishes would be on the floor without that! This set also comes with a cup/straw and a silverware set. I’ve always appreciated that Miniware dishes are full-sized, so your little one is getting practice with adult-sized plates and bowls right from the start. The silverware set is thick enough for tiny hands to hold, and of course, I love that all of these products are made with natural, safe materials.
Miniware Grow Bento Puree Set – If your baby is going to daycare or even if you’re just taking them to visit family, this bento set is the perfect way to transport snacks and meals. I purchased two bento sets and an extra pack of the silipods. (In retrospect, I think I could’ve gotten by without the extra silipods, but it was nice at times to have an extra set for snacks.) For me personally, I would pack one bento box for daycare then, after daycare, I would soak that one in soapy water while packing the second one for the following day’s lunch. I would follow that routine every day and then throw both sets in the dishwasher for a deep clean at the end of the week.
For daycares, I just do not think you can beat these bento boxes. The silipods are microwave and dishwasher safe, plus they allowed me to pack hot and cold items together in one container that was easily divided up for the teachers to pull out as mealtimes came up.
Walking Shoes – As your little one finds their feet, you’ll want to have a pair of shoes that are easy for them to walk in. I was having a hard time finding shoes that fit Josephine because her feet run small for her age. I ended up purchasing a pair of Carter’s Every Step shoes on the recommendation of one of their associates, which are available in extended sizing. We found a pair of simple white sneakers that she wore (and still wears) for daycare and every day play outside. They were very easy for her to walk in right from the beginning.
The Nugget – If you follow me in Instagram, you’ve probably seen this product in many stories. We have turned it into multiple tunnels, forts, beds, stairs, etc. than I can count. Though I love the idea of the pikler triangle for climbing toddlers, this softer version allows for climbing and creativity without the need for quite as much supervision. The pikler triangle is an item we plan to save until closer to Josie’s second birthday.
Baby Gate – Depending on your living space, the baby gate could become a non-negotiable very soon. I was super lucky in that a friend from work gave me her hand-me-down. The simple gate was perfect for our loft apartment that didn’t have doors at the top or bottom of the bedroom stairs. Now that we’re in a house, this is less necessary–we just close the door to the basement in lieu of using the baby gate. However, this was super important for keeping her safe when she became more mobile.
Play Kitchen – Josie’s play kitchen has been a lifesaver for keeping her occupied when I need to focus on other things. When we lived in our apartment, we kept this on the wall right beside the actual kitchen, so she loved to play in her kitchen while I was preparing dinner, etc. in the “big kitchen”. For the record, I think a play kitchen is equally great for boys and girls, especially if you do a lot of cooking in your family. This kitchen has been a great teaching tool.
Pots & Pans and Utensils – We really love food so it’s pretty common for both Arnie and I to be cooking. We use these play pots and pans to teach Josie how to use them in her kitchen and then, as we’re using them in the “big kitchen”, we can show her how we use them, too. She loves to stir with her whisk and put the lid on the pot. I always try to find things that look as close to “mommy and daddy’s” things as possible, so I loved this metal set compared to plastic alternatives.
Honorable Mention // Soft Kids Play Food – At this age, Josie was still mouthing a lot. She had gotten the Melissa & Doug cutting food which she was somewhat interested in, but didn’t quite understand the concept of cutting. I think it’ll be something she gets into a bit later on. In retrospect, I would’ve purchased the soft play food option to use in her kitchen and teach her about different fruits and vegetables.
What to Expect in 12-18 Months
Baby proofing is about to get REAL. Our girl is a mover and a shaker, so she finds cracks and crevices that we didn’t even know existed. Finding ways to keep our home safe for her, while also making it look like adults live here has required some creativity. It’s always been important to us to maintain a home that doesn’t look like a daycare, so we do our best to keep toys in designated areas that are concealed and put away when not in use. That’s where we’re heading in the 12-18 month days!