Let me come back to a very popular topic for us at Cherieswood and one where I constantly hear different answers. As a reminder, I’ve published a very complete guide on the baby gym about a month ago, but today we focus specifically on when to start and stop using the baby gym.
The baby gym (often with a play mat) it’s the best gift for newborns because they can start using it almost immediately, usually 2-3 weeks after birth. That’s the reason why we also see many parents buying one a few months before their newborn arrives, they want to be ready with one and try to use it as soon as possible.
When can you start using a baby gym?
While often the second week is already good, I would suggest the third or fourth week and my experience so far tells me that this is the best choice: new parents need to adapt to their new life and the first weeks are usually very unpredictable and difficult to handle. By the third week you will likely feel a bit better, both mom and dad will start getting used to this new normal and will also have no problem spending more time with their newborn, without the fear of doing something wrong. This is then the baby gym can actually be of great help: you can start trying it with your baby and see what she does, maybe helping her moving the charms and start talking to her about that. In this initial phase she will likely do not much, but we know this is normal and it’s important to keep using it to help her stimulate movements and reactions.
As time passes, your baby gym will become a more important toy: your toddler will start noticing the charms, will try to reach them and every single advantage of using this toy will finally come to life. As I often say, keep in mind you shouldn’t stop talking to your toddler as he starts playing with the baby gym: all the exercises will help him a lot with his coordination.
I’ve written quite a lot about this topics, so let me leave here a couple of articles if you want to learn more:
- How babies learn and how to stimulate their development: in this article I’ve explained several aspect that you probably don’t know about learning in the first weeks of life. There are many things you can do to stimulate her development even if you might not immediately see the benefits.
- Games to play with your baby from 0 to 6 months: in this article I’ve listed some of the most simple and common things to do to play with your toddler, with an highlight of their benefits.
When to stop using a baby gym?
This is more difficult, there are no specific rules on when you should stop using a baby gym for your toddler and there are no problems to keep using one. It simple depends on your baby: in most cases he will lose interest in the baby gym after the first 12 months. Keeping him on the play mat will be more difficult and he will start looking for new stimuli. When this happens, start using just the charms of your baby gym, sometimes it’s a great way to keep him engaged.
Some toddlers will stop using the baby gym around month 7 or 8, others will definitely give it up by their first year and some might keep using it a few more months after that. As I said, there is not a specific rule, just pay attention to what your baby does and decide when it’s time to retire it.
At Cherieswood we have designed our baby gym and play mat to last longer than others: you can use the same structure to order our Montessori Busy Board for example. So, don’t worry, if you are buying our baby gym as gift, there will be much more to do with it!