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Do Crib Toys Matter?

I agree that babies should be surrounded by colors and music, but the daunting array of mobiles and crib toys can make your head spin. Do they really make a difference?

They can. There are many unique and thoughtfully designed products that can soothe and entertain your baby without overwhelming her. From giving her something to gaze at when she wakes up to helping her learn that kicking will start up music or make a mobile spin, there are toys out there that won't drive her  -- or you  -- crazy.

But babies' brains can (and will) develop without crib toys, too. The real foundation for learning comes from interactions with you. She'll learn about cause and effect when you respond to her cries, or smile at her coos and gurgles. Teach her colors by reading to her and talking about the pictures. Expose her to music by playing a peaceful CD or singing. No matter what your husband thinks of your voice, your baby will find it amusing  -- even if you don't light up when kicked.