Books, Teethers & Toys Recommended for your Baby by your Friendly Speech Language Pathologist

Discover the best books, teethers and toys recommended for your baby by a pediatric speech language pathologist.

I am taking off my DIY hat today to write this post sharing some of my recommendations for books, teethers and toys as a pediatric speech language pathologist. In addition to Emily Rone Home, I earned my Master’s and work as a speech language pathologist. I currently work with children from birth to age 18. Now that I have a baby of my own, I want to share a bit about what I recommend to promote development in babies and toddlers.

Let me start by saying mom (or dad), you are doing great! Seeking out extra info already makes you a great parent. There is nothing you are doing wrong, but it’s always good to feel confident that you are promoting healthy development of speech, language and feeding skills.

Don’t have time to read the whole post now? Pin it here to keep it safe and sound for later.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience which may reward me in the event of a sale. Note that I only recommend tools and products I have personally used and loved.

This post also does not serve as medical advice. Each child and situation is different. Rely on advice from you pediatrician or any therapists or specialists you are working with first and foremost.

Books Recommended for your Baby

Let’s start by talking about books. Studies have shown the more exposure your child has to spoken language, the larger their vocabulary will be (Hart, B. & Risley, T.R. (1995)). This puts them at an academic advantage. Reading books is a great way to expose your child to language. 

When should you start reading books to your baby? From birth! Although they don’t  yet understand words, they love the sound of your voice, and you are priming their little brains for success later on.

Here are some considerations when choosing books for your baby:

-Board books are great! They are durable, and easier for their little hands to turn.

-Choose simple! I love more pictures, less words for the real littles.

-Textures are always a plus! Touch and feel books are fun and expose them to a sensory experience while reading.

-Interactive books help hold your little one’s attention longer.

*Disclaimer- there are no bad books! ANY & ALL books are GOOD! Reading (from birth!) is so important.

Toys Recommended for your Baby
Sweet and fun, and one of our favorite little board books

Some of my personal favorite books for babies are:

-Crinkly fabric books! They often have lots of pictures & colors, interactive tails or props hanging off, and fun crinkly sounds when you move the pages. These have kept my baby engaged since ~2months! I think these are great as very first books.

Toys Recommended for your Baby
Here is baby girl with her favorite crinkly “Pet Tails” book

-Tabbed “my first” books linked here. I love that they are board books and the tabs not only help them to turn pages, but have a picture on each tab. I have had babies in therapy understand cause/effect and requesting for the very first time by pointing to the pictures on these tabs.

-See, Touch, Feel series. These are some of my OT (Occupational Therapy) friend’s favorite books! They are interactive because of all the fun textures to feel throughout the book.

-“Where’s Spot” books. These are lift the flap books, and great as babies turn into toddlers as well. They are interactive, and great to teach WH questions and spatial concepts (ie- “in, on, under”, etc.)

-First word books: These are great because they have lots of pictures! This gives you the opportunity to talk about them in age appropriate language. Which means simple words and word combinations for young babies, and more complex descriptions and topics when they grow.

So now that you know what kind of books to prioritize, you may be wondering how exactly you should be reading to your baby. Again, there is no “wrong” way. But here are a couple of pointers:

-try to read face to face. That way, baby can watch your mouth move as you form all the sounds of speech.

-You don’t necessarily have to read word for word. Simplify the message, and focus on describing the pictures in simple language. In fact, I prefer books with more pictures and less text at this age (like the “first words” books).

-It’s ok to skip pages and follow your baby’s lead. Help them to hold the book upright if they are able to participate, then follow their lead!

Toys Recommended for your Baby

I have all of my favorite books linked here.


Don’t assume baby’s only need teethers if they are teething. “Teethers”, or “chewy tubes”, “gummy’s”, etc. can be great for oral motor development as early as 2-3 months. Some benefits of teethers include: 

-Help strengthen jaw to prep oral motor system for chewable solids

-Begin to lateralize chewing motion (and help chomping overall as suck reflex begins to diminish)

-Move the gag reflex further back in the mouth

-Provide input to the oral sensory system

-Work on hand to mouth movement for grasping and food prep

Toys Recommended for your Baby
I typically prefer teethers that are long and skinny, and have a variety of different textures like these!

You can attach a teether to your baby just like you would a pacifier as well. Just make sure the clip you are using is all one piece- the ones with separate balls can be a choking hazard if they break. 

Toys Recommended for your Baby

I have all of my favorites linked here!

Toys Recommended for your Baby

When it comes to toys recommended for your baby the simpler, the better!

Studies also show that less toys are better. Kids tend to play longer and more creatively with fewer toys available. This promotes a better attention span!

This means you either don’t have to buy as many toys (yay!) or need to be mindful to rotate the toys you do have so that only a few are available at a time. 

We love to play in the sunroom on our favorite reversible play mat, linked here!

Lets expand on how simpler is better.

When toys don’t make noise, your baby or toddler has to make their own noise. This can increase their communication skills.

When toys don’t light up or move, your baby has to use more imagination to make the toy do what they want!

Some of my favorites include toys that promote problem solving, cause/effect, pretend play, and sensory play. If you notice your baby or toddler is getting bored with toys, take a break and let them “help” you with household chores! Laundry, loading the dishwasher, sweeping, etc. 

Toys Recommended for your Baby

Some of my favorite toys for babies are linked here!

Before you go, let’s touch on starting solids!

Last but not least, let’s talk briefly about starting solids. I see the age parents are starting solids creep lower and lower. The recommendation is often 4-6 months, but that is a large time span. You know how much and how quickly your baby changes week to week! Here’s just a few recommendations to help guide you as you decide when your baby is ready. Because this really should be based on a skill set you are noticing, not based on the calendar. 

Your baby should be exhibiting these skills before you start foods other than breast milk or formula:

-interest in you eating

-bringing hand to mouth

-able to sit with some assistance for 5+ minutes

Toys Recommended for your Baby

Here is our adapted Ikea Antilop high chair! We added a footrest, placemat and inflatable support cushion with a reversible terrazo cover. You can shop the additions here.

You might be thinking you’ll just wait to start solids since you don’t want to start too early, but did you know research also suggests that waiting longer than 9 months put babies at an increased risk for picky eating?

Finally, if you are concerned your child is delayed, please seek help! Even if your pediatrician says, “wait and see”, you know your baby best and if your gut tells you there may be a delay, you have every right to act on that feeling.

Every state has an early intervention program that will provide you with a speech, occupational and/or physical therapy evaluation as indicated (from birth-3). Ask your pediatrician for more information, and know wait lists can sometimes be longggg. A quick google search may also reveal private practice clinics in your area that can provide private pay services, or work with your insurance but will not be free like the state funded early intervention program.

Here are some Instagram accounts I follow as a parent and can verify share great info! 







I hope you found this post helpful! I know its not the typical Emily Rone Home blog content, but its fun sharing my other passion as well. Feel free to email or message me on Instagram if you ever have any other questions regarding speech, language or feeding development.

Enjoy the journey,


Looking for more baby content? Check out all things Emily Rone Home baby here:

DIY nursery before & after

How to make a baby birth announcement sign

5 ways to document baby’s first year

How to make a first birthday milestone board

The BEST place to babymoon in the US

How to make a first day of school pennant flag


Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Paul H Brookes Publishing.