We had a Graco one, 3 speed. One baby loved it, the next one hated it, the next one was ambivalent, the fourth one didn’t even try it. I’d borrow one or at least try it out somewhere before actually buying one. Don’t fall for these Papasan super models.
Again, some kids like them, some don’t.
Jolly jumpers (doorframe kind)
Two out of four of our kids loved it. But they are riskier than other things. The Graco model we had eventually frayed and broke. (Thankfully the baby was fine). The next model we tried didn’t have a big enough tray so we had to watch to make sure the baby didn’t lay his fingers over the tray’s edge and then knock into the doorframe. But it was an absolute favorite of two of our guys, from about 3-8 months. Absolutely a life-saver for me while I was cooking. (I would hang them in the pantry!)
Most of our babies liked the walker at some point between 5-8 months old. Of course, some babies don’t like it at all. But I don’t believe walkers prevent (or help) babies walk much sooner or later than they would normally unless you abuse the thing. We did find it helpful in giving our slow crawlers the “revelation” that they could actually move and get to what they wanted! And they all honestly liked the walker much more than the Exersaucer, because of this reason I believe.
But this ranks up there with the jolly jumper as a more dangerous toy. I am definitely against the Culture of Fear that today’s society faces (i.e. warnings on Almond Joys that there are peanut products within!!), and yet walkers are undeniably a leading cause of many baby accidents per year. We finally had one ourselves two years ago, with our third baby, because we didn’t think he could find his way down our long hallway and because I forgot to put the baby gate up at the end. (Fortunately, my husband caught him mid-way down his fall and he was just fine). But I can therefore only give this piece of equipment a shaky thumbs up, provided you never use it with open doors or without baby gates near the stairs–even if it is their first time in it and you don’t think they can get anywhere! It only takes one time, one surprise, to have a calamity.
Crib gyms, mats, tunnels, etc.
Haven’t had much use for these. At young ages, babies get overwhelmed quickly, in about ten minutes in most of those things.
Use them if you need to! There’s a million kinds but the little Gerber NUKs were good for little guys, the big Playtex colored things for the toddlers.
Water Aquariums, Ocean sounds, Vibrators (crib soothers)
I don’t know about this theory. The babies liked the vibrating bouncy seat, but not in an addictive way. I don’t think they’re worth the money, ultimately.
I know someone will hate me for saying so, but I don’t find these especially necessary. At least, not when you are turning them up full blast to make sure you can hear the baby breathing. As a safety thing for knowing when your baby upstairs woke up from a nap, that’s great. But also check the brand and reviews. Lots of monitors don’t work well.
For the first three months, you probably only need two or three things. You just don’t get a whole lot of use out of them. Get something for your baby to wave, chew on, or hold, and then don’t worry about it until they are really starting to play with stuff (sometime after six months). One rattle, one teether, and one water-proof baby book should be fine. Oh, and of course a rubber duckie for the bath 😉