As a baby gets bigger and learns to play with his or her toys most parents won’t want their child to play on a hard-surfaced floor or on an elevated surface like their own bed for safety reasons. As the baby learns to roll over and scoot around they not only play with their toys more and become more interactive with their environment, they are also developing their muscles, and laying on their belly on the play mat gives them a softer safer place to lay on their belly, build up their abdominal and neck muscles, and learn to use their fingers and hands as they play with their toys.
Most play mats will come with toys included, often attached to the mat itself. If you are a tolerant parent that doesn’t mind a lot of noise a mat with a variety of toys including toys that make noise can help keep the baby entertained, but a parent that prefers a more quiet environment and has a lower tolerance for high noise levels may want to select a mat that has toys that are quieter, or a mat with less toys so that the noise level is limited.
Some parents don’t mind a lot of noise, especially parents that have already raised one or two children, but new parents often experience stress when the noise level is elevated and constant, which also effects the environment for the baby, who can be sensitive to the parent’s mood and react with nervousness or crying. Most play mats that include toys for the baby to play with do make noise, so testing the toys can help you prepare.
Another important feature to take into consideration when choosing a play mat for your baby is the pillow. Some play mats may have pillows included or attached, and others may require that a pillow be purchases separately. A pillow can be used as the baby gets bigger to help elevate the chest more, when the babies neck is strong enough to hold his or her head up for extended periods of time. For babies that can’t quite hold their head up long enough for playtime and babies that like to move around a lot this could be a choke hazard, so its important to stay nearby and keep an eye on the child so that the breathing is not interrupted when he or she rests the neck or begins to scoot around the play mat.