Playing With Your Baby with Allie Ticktin from Play 2 Progress — Episode 166

Playing with your newborn with Dr Allie Tickton

What do you DO with your newborn when you get home with them? Today we’re chatting about activities you can do with your baby.

Today’s guest is Allie Ticktin. Allie’s mission is to empower children and their families through sensory play so that they can thrive through childhood and beyond. Allie is the author of the book, Play to Progress, where she provides parents with an overview of all 8 (yes, 8) senses and gives parents ways to enhance those senses at home. Allie uses the science of child development and the joy of play to boost childrens’ confidence and enhance development within all areas of their life, from social and emotional to physical and academic. Allie believes that the best way to support children is by arming their parents, from inception, with the knowledge and skills necessary to encourage their child’s development for success through childhood and beyond.

Allie began her work in pediatric development at the University of Michigan, where she earned her B.S. in Movement Science, and continued her studies at USC, where she received her M.A. and Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. Allie is certified in Sensory Integration and hopes that one day one day quality open ended play will be considered as important as learning the ABC’s. When not at work, you can find Allie at the beach engaging her own sensory system, outside enjoying nature or on her spin bike. Allie also loves to bake vegan treats, read and color in mindfulness coloring books, which are her own regulation tools.

Find Allie’s courses on how to play with your baby right here:  (

Big thanks to our sponsor Family Routines — if you’re looking to get into a routine with your family, it is the course for you!

In this episode

What type of “gear” do you need for your baby to play with?

The importance of stimulating all EIGHT senses of your baby.

Tummy time, and how to do it without baby hating it.

Other things that might interest you

When breastfeeding is not working

5 Baby Items You Don’t Need

Organizing for Baby

Producer: Drew Erickson

Check out my other parenting podcasts:

start with tummy time on your chest
[00:00:00.130] – Hilary Erickson

Hey, guys. Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on Episode 166, we are talking about playing with your baby. I just didn’t know what to do with my newborn when they got home, so let’s untangle it.

[00:00:22.770] – Hilary Erickson

Hi. I’m Hilary Erickson, the curly head behind the Pulling Curls Podcast: pregnancy and parenting untangled. There’s no right answer for every family, but on this show, we hope to give you some ideas to make life simpler at your house. Life’s tangled, just like my hair.

[00:00:43.870] – Hilary Erickson

Hey, guys, before we get started, every time you leave a review, every time you subscribe, it’s just a big old hug. Thanks.

[00:00:50.200] – Hilary Erickson

Today’s guest is actually an occupational therapist. She owns the website Play to Progress, and she also has another book called Play to Progress. She just helps parents understand the eight senses. That’s right, you guys. I just said eight senses and how to do them with their baby. So I can’t wait to introduce you to today’s guest, Allie Ticktin.

[00:01:14.990] – Hilary Erickson

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[00:01:50.970] – Hilary Erickson

Hey, Allie. Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast.

[00:01:53.520] – Allie Ticktin

Hi, Hilary. I’m so excited to be here.

[00:01:55.930] – Hilary Erickson

Allie and I met at this conference, and as soon as I heard what she did, I was like, obviously, you need to come on my podcast.

[00:02:01.380] – Allie Ticktin

And I was so excited about it because I was like, yes. I love what you do, too.

[00:02:06.120] – Hilary Erickson

Yes. So I was just thinking back to when I had my first newborn, and you bring them home and you’re just kind of like, what do I do with it all day? It’s kind of like a new thing, but you’re like, I have literally no idea how to… You know, because I had done newborns a lot, like doing things to newborns.

[00:02:23.790] – Allie Ticktin

You’re like, I got the process of getting them out.

[00:02:27.990] – Hilary Erickson

Right. And, like, bathing them and burping them. Like, I knew how to do all the things. But then there was all this other time that I was like, I don’t know what to do with it.

[00:02:36.780] – Allie Ticktin

Right, totally. And that’s where I come in.

[00:02:39.140] – Hilary Erickson


[00:02:39.910] – Allie Ticktin

I am so excited to talk to you about this. Should I just jump right in or.

[00:02:45.020] – Hilary Erickson

Yeah, let’s jump in.

[00:02:46.370] – Allie Ticktin

Okay. I actually want to back up a second, though. So even before baby is born, let’s talk about the prep for baby. Because this is an important piece of how you engage with baby, actually starts with how are you preparing for your baby, right? What are we marketing? You go on Instagram, you open your Instagram. If you started a baby registry or anything like that, you’re going to get thrown tons of ads on this piece of equipment and that piece of equipment and you need this and you need that. I would rather expecting parents choose rather than buying.

[00:03:21.630] – Allie Ticktin

A lot of things I’ll get into why we actually don’t want to do that and why it is not great for development we call them baby containers, but instead spend that time learning about their baby’s sensory system and how to engage with their baby to benefit development. So that’s kind of my big belief. I always say, why are baby registries filled with stuff you don’t really need? That much stuff you can, but you don’t necessarily need it all. There’s some stuff you of course need, car seat, bassinette, things like that. But there’s a lot that we buy that we don’t need.

[00:03:58.180] – Hilary Erickson

So much stuff. So much stuff.

[00:04:01.000] – Allie Ticktin

And a lot of it is marketed poorly. And sometimes I was just walking down the aisle of Target and I saw we call them as therapists baby containers. And so what that means is anything that’s like holding your baby in a position, often in a position that they can’t hold themselves, so they’re not developmentally ready. My biggest pet peeve is the bumbo.

[00:04:25.430] – Hilary Erickson

Oh, man, it’s been out so long. It’s been so long. I’m shocked it’s still around.

[00:04:29.600] – Allie Ticktin

I am shocked that it isn’t more widely known how bad the bumbo is for a child’s development. For me, I think as a new parent, you think you need all this stuff when in reality, most of it you don’t need and you don’t really want. So when it comes to baby equipment, when you’re actually preparing before baby arrives, what we really want is a play mat, so just a mat on the floor. You know, like they have the ones where they… I’m trying to describe this in words without using my hands and it’s actually very hard, but they have the things hanging down over them and they can kind of bat at them.

[00:05:12.370] – Hilary Erickson

It’s like an arch. They lay under like an arch.

[00:05:15.000] – Allie Ticktin

Exactly. They lay under the arch, things like that. Like a simple play mat where they can do tummy time and then they can also play on their back and practice batting and grabbing. That’s really the number one thing I would buy after, of course, like the essentials. Other than that you don’t need much and you may choose to buy more, that’s totally fine. But what I would try to avoid is any piece of baby equipment that puts your baby in a position that they cannot hold themselves. So I know that was a mouthful, so I’ll repeat it. So any piece of baby equipment that puts your baby in a position that they cannot hold themselves is something we want to avoid.

[00:05:54.650] – Hilary Erickson

What do you think about swings?

[00:05:56.100] – Allie Ticktin

Like the jumperoos?

[00:05:57.420] – Hilary Erickson

No, like you put them in the swing and they quiet.

[00:06:01.290] – Allie Ticktin

I don’t think you need it. But do I think that it’s better than a bumbo? Yeah. Where I really get concerned are the bumbos or the jumperoos, are the walkers. Walkers are making a huge comeback right now.

[00:06:18.240] – Hilary Erickson

So crazy.

[00:06:19.240] – Allie Ticktin

I always had thought they were taking off the market for being unsafe because kids are falling down the stairs in them, but they’re back. There’s a brand that’s marketing them. It’s modern, it’s cute.

[00:06:30.430] – Hilary Erickson

And it is literally a walker? Because I had, so my first baby was in 2000, which is right after they were like, no walkers ever.

[00:06:38.610] – Allie Ticktin

Right. It’s Joovy, I believe I think I’m saying that name. I’m almost sure that’s the brand.

[00:06:44.860] – Hilary Erickson

It is literally just a Walker? Like they’re walking around the room?

[00:06:47.900] – Allie Ticktin

They are walking around the room.

[00:06:50.800] – Hilary Erickson

So crazy.

[00:06:53.490] – Allie Ticktin

And of course there’s the jumpers and exersaucers. Those also, we want to avoid. The reason is your baby moves in a very specific way through development, right? So we want to allow them to move through that process. These pieces of equipment, they’re putting them in a position, one that they’re not using any of their own muscles and they’re not ready for just yet. So if you’re going to use any baby container, use something where they’re kind of just laying back and it’s more of a laydown. So like the baby be born bouncer, they’re just kind of laying in it. It’s very casual. That is the type of equipment and I fully get it, sometimes you just need a piece of baby equipment, place them in, but then be mindful of what you’re using. So I would choose something where they’re in a position that they can hold themselves and also just really consistently, always avoid any walkers or jumperoos or anything like that.

[00:07:51.520] – Hilary Erickson

So it’s a jumperoo. Speaking as a super old mom, is this the one that we tie to the door and they jump in?

[00:07:56.920] – Allie Ticktin

Everyone kind of refers, I feel like, to jumparoo differently. Babies love that tied to the door. I get it. But that’s another piece that I’m personally not the biggest fan of just because I’m very much like the best place for your baby is on the floor. That’s where, of course, when they’re awake and alert, but that is where your baby is actually going to do the things that they need to do to hit their next milestone and to continue developing. That’s how they’re going to build all those neural connections in their brain that we want them to build. It’s through sensory play that we’re building the architecture of their brain, right? Have to think of it when a child, the first two years of the sensory motor stage of development, what does this mean? Kids are learning through moving and through their senses. So when they’re placed in these baby containers, we’re taking that away.

[00:08:49.300] – Hilary Erickson


[00:08:49.620] – Allie Ticktin

Because TV is not how do I say this?

[00:08:52.510] – Hilary Erickson

Great. It’s not great.

[00:08:53.780] – Allie Ticktin

TV isn’t great. Yeah, that’s a good word. I really try to avoid screens with the little ones. I think that’s where I’ll go with that one, because I could go on a long tangent with that. But I also understand that sometimes you need somewhere safe to put your baby. I’m big in baby proof the house, they have those now. They have these like, giant, giant it’s not a play pen, because when we think of a traditional play pen, they’re small.

[00:09:21.190] – Hilary Erickson

It’s like a playyard almost, where it’s like a big area.

[00:09:23.370] – Allie Ticktin

Like it’s like a giant gate that you can put around in a big area and they can really play and move. Something like that is great. So these are the type of things that would put on your registry and thinking ahead that way. And I think it really child development and how we play with our baby really starts at the registry. Because the truth is, when you bring a newborn home, most of the stuff you have in your house came from the registry, came from what you bought prior to giving birth. And so that’s where it all starts. How do you understand development prior to having the baby? Because that’s also when you have a little more time to understand it. So it’s a good place to really learn about sensory play. I’ll ask you this, Hilary, and you might know, but what do you think sensory play is?

[00:10:13.150] – Hilary Erickson

I mean, I guess just like engaging all their senses. I love talking to my kids and showing black and white pictures. Right. Singing. I don’t know. Sleeping. I just wanted them to sleep.

[00:10:27.390] – Allie Ticktin

So parents often think about sensory play as only tactile play. You’re a nurse, so you knew. But it’s actually play that engages all eight senses. We want to start that really young. So I often see parents who they come to me, they just had a baby. We’re talking about playing with our newborns. They’re like, how… With their newborn I should say they are. They’re like, how do I play with them?

[00:10:55.190] – Allie Ticktin

What do I do?

[00:10:56.030] – Allie Ticktin

So first is, obviously they’re not awake for as many hours as they will be as they gradually get older. So you have smaller windows to play. The big thing, and you knew I was going to mention it, of course. So important is tummy time. Tummy time. Tummy time. Tummy time. And I know that tummy time is scary when you are first coming home from the hospital and your baby is so small, and you’re like, what do I do? What I suggest is, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by tummy time and you’re not quite ready to do tummy time on the floor, there are so many different positions that you can do tummy time in. One of my favorites for newborns is right on your chest, do skin to skin and tummy time together. So lay back, have a pillow behind you, get nice and comfortable and put them right on your chest while they’re awake and sing to them and talk to them. Tell them about their family. Tell them about their world as they’re on your tummy. That’s a really good way to start tummy time, because I think it feels more safe and more comfortable.

[00:12:00.340] – Allie Ticktin

So if you’re feeling nervous about tummy time, start there.

[00:12:03.590] – Hilary Erickson

Yeah, because a lot of babies hate it. You just should plan on that. If you lay your baby on their stomach on the floor, they’re going to be upset.

[00:12:10.330] – Allie Ticktin

So it’s so funny you bring that up because there’s some things I think we don’t talk about enough, and one of them is we talk a lot about doing tummy time, but many parents, they don’t expect their baby to have a hard time in tummy time, and most babies do. In my experience, more babies at first have really, really don’t like tummy time than do like it. So that’s normal. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with your baby, but we need to work towards it, so we need to help them tolerate tummy time.

[00:12:41.440] – Hilary Erickson

I mean, to be fair, they also don’t like pooping.

[00:12:45.210] – Allie Ticktin

There you go. And you know what I always say about tummy time. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t really love working out. I’m not one of those people that is like, let me wake up at 05:00 a.m. And work out every day. I do it because it’s a healthy thing to do, and I need to do it for my health. So I schedule it into my week and I regrudg… I can’t say that word.

[00:13:08.030] – Allie Ticktin

What is that word?

[00:13:09.060] – Hilary Erickson


[00:13:10.240] – Allie Ticktin

Begrudgingly. However you pronounce that word, I go because I paid for the class in advance and I don’t want to lose my money. And sometimes maybe I even do, but I don’t love it. I’m not one of those people that adores working out. And you know what? Tummy time for a baby is working out. So if you’ve ever been in a yoga class or workout class, and a trainer is like, do this, do this, and you’re like, are you serious right now? Like, I do not feel like doing that. Well, guess what? The babies don’t either, because that’s a workout for them, and they’re going to tell you they don’t like it. Now, with that said, I always respect their boundaries, so I don’t let a baby go in tummy time and scream and scream and scream and not pick them up. I instead, this is what I suggest to parents work with them. So start with tummy on your chest. Start with them. There’s so many different positions that you can do tummy time in, and I won’t go into all of them. But you can go to our blog. I have a course an online course that you can also check out that has all the different positions and try what works.

[00:14:16.860] – Allie Ticktin

A friend of mine recently reached out to me, hadn’t talked to her in years, and she found me on Instagram and then was like, hey, can you help me? My baby won’t do tummy time. And I said to her, what have you tried? And she said, oh, I’ve only tried on the floor. And I was like, Try on a ball. Start with on a ball. It’s a lot of times, a lot more enjoyable for the babies, and they can tolerate it much more. I was like, Start with a ball and gradually move into different positions and on the floor. And it worked. She messaged me one week later and was like, oh, my gosh, we’re doing tummy time. So don’t be overwhelmed by tummy time. But it’s very important to do and a great way to play with your baby also in tummy time. Speaking of playing with babies, use it as a time to bond so when they’re on your chest and sing to them or one of my favorite ways to do tummy time is lay face to face. So when one of them and you guys can’t see me and I’m using my hands, which I always I’m one of those, like, talkers that use my hands sometimes podcasts are so funny this way.

[00:15:22.990] – Allie Ticktin

It challenges me in a different way. But have your baby lay on their tummy and then you’re on your tummy and you guys are face to face again. Talk to them, tell them about your family. It seemed to them it doesn’t even matter if you have a good voice or not. I’m completely tone deaf. Continue to bond with them in that moment. So tummy time is a really great moment to bond.

[00:15:44.670] – Hilary Erickson

And I was thinking how great it would be for dads.

[00:15:47.220] – Allie Ticktin

Oh, my gosh, so great for dads. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:15:51.290] – Hilary Erickson

Because they love to be the coach.

[00:15:53.790] – Allie Ticktin

And siblings, actually.

[00:15:55.980] – Hilary Erickson


[00:15:56.480] – Allie Ticktin

So siblings, especially if you have an older one who sometimes they’re like, what do I do with this new baby brother? Baby sister? They don’t do anything. Have them do tummy time together. To be honest, we all need tummy time. It actually is benefiting your older child as well.

[00:16:14.230] – Hilary Erickson

How often are you recommending people do tummy time? Because I would usually just be like, okay, once a day, we got it in.

[00:16:19.560] – Allie Ticktin

That’s a good question. Here’s my trick to tummy time. Obviously, when they’re first born, you’re going to do less tummy time because you can only do tummy time when they’re awake. That’s, of course, a big thing for safety. But as they get older, you will increase the tummy time. American Academy of Pediatrics recommends gradually moving to an hour of tummy time. I personally think the more tummy time, the better. So I have this trick after every single diaper change, especially you just brought this baby home, it is chaos, right? You’re tired, sleep deprived, an easy way. You want to build it into your routine, otherwise it’s going to be bedtime and you’re going to be like, we didn’t do tummy time today. We just totally forgot. So after every single diaper change, do a few minutes of tummy time. What’s interesting, what you said, the one and done thing, because I actually think that’s how people think of tubby time is I did it 03:00 on Monday, I’ll do it 03:00 on Tuesday. But what you actually want to do is break it up into much smaller chunks. Because of that, it’s much easier for the babies to tolerate that way.

[00:17:32.930] – Allie Ticktin

So it doesn’t need to be 30, 40 minutes. Even as they get older and they’re awake for longer periods of time and you’re trying to hit that hour, always try and break it up. I find that to be much easier for the little ones. So try just two, three minutes. If that’s all they can handle, great. Slowly they’ll be able to get more. But if you do it a few minutes after each diaper change, one, it becomes routine. Obviously, you’re not going to do that in the middle of the night, but we change our diaper. We do tummy time. We change our diaper. We do tummy time. I’m all for routines, love them. So that is then built into your routine. It also naturally breaks it up. So you’re not relying on that one big chunk, which can be really hard.

[00:18:18.380] – Hilary Erickson

Yeah, I mean, there’s nothing wrong with your baby squirming and crying a little bit, too. I think a lot of people get upset by that. But let me tell you how often my teenager squirms and cries at me. It’s fine. We have to struggle to grow.

[00:18:32.190] – Allie Ticktin

What I say is we don’t want them to get to this point where they’re like, so upset. Definitely pick them up. And like I said, there’s so many positions. So tell me time is kind of like my first wave, when you say, how do you play with the newborn? I’m like, you talk to them and sing to them in tummy time. You can also read books to them. And I think this is something that people are like, you read books to your newborn? But absolutely, you read books to your newborn. You want them to experience the world through their senses at this age. So read them books, sing to them, take them out on a walk and let them hear the sounds of nature. We want them to experience the sensory world around them. The best way to do that is taking them there. I think this was a big thing we went through during COVID, is babies didn’t get this, right? They were always inside, especially here in LA, where we’re crowded. So you were really in your house. No one really has yards here. Some people, but not a ton. So you were really, like, in your apartment, in your house with very little outside space.

[00:19:41.220] – Allie Ticktin

And then the parks were closed, so our kids really missed out on that. Our babies and our kids. So I think that’s the biggest thing. Take them on a walk. There’s a park nearby and there’s other kids playing in most parks. A lot of them have, like, the trail around the park that parents can push the strollers in. Take them on that trail you’re cooking. Great. Let them smell those smells and hear those sounds. Siblings are the best. They create the best sounds. And I think we’re always trying to make the siblings be quiet because there’s a new baby home. No, let them play and let your baby take in that experience of being around them.

[00:20:24.120] – Hilary Erickson

Yeah, I know. I felt insane, like, the first month or so because my mom was just like, just narrate your entire day. Right now, I’m cooking tomatoes. Oh, do you smell the tomatoes? Oh, they smell so good. Now I’m adding garlic and I was just like, I’m losing my mind. And then one day, you’re like, driving the car without the baby and you’re like, oh, my gosh, there’s the fire truck, Spencer. And then you’re like, there’s no kid in the car, Hilary. You’ve lost it. But it’s just how you live your life when you have little kids at home and it’s so good for them.

[00:20:52.280] – Allie Ticktin

It is, exactly. Narrating diaper changes. So I always tell parents, this is, like, my big thing. I love narrating diaper changes. So I like narrating for children starting when they are really young. So say you’re changing their diaper. Most babies hate it, right? Very few babies who like a diaper change.

[00:21:11.710] – Hilary Erickson

Or even tolerate it, really.

[00:21:14.350] – Allie Ticktin

Yeah. So you can kind of tell them, oh, I’m changing your diaper. We’re going to make you clean, that, like, Sing-songy, very calm voice. Because remember, we have eight senses. We don’t just have five. And so it’s important that we’re engaging all eight. And this is what I specialize in. This is my bread and butter, is the sensory system and how important it is for development. So I can go on, like, tangents for hours on this, but I won’t do that. I’ll just leave it to we have eight senses, not five. And all eight are very important. Our three “hidden senses”, which hopefully by the time I retire, they’re not hidden anymore, are also extremely important. But now that I was on that tangent, we want them to experience all of those senses. And so I love narrating these hard moments as well. It’s not just a diaper change, though, that I like to narrate. I like to narrate everything. I can see that’s really hard for you as they’re trying something new, even they’re trying to roll for the first time. You got it. All of our senses, used in different ways, can either be alerting, they can wake us up, they can be dysregulating.

[00:22:25.680] – Allie Ticktin

They can also be regulating. So we want often with babies to use them in a very regulating way and a calming way. So that quiet voice like that calm music, that’s going to be very calming. So as you’re doing the diaper change, using that more calming voice or calming music, if you are a singer or not, and you’re able to sing in that calm way and kind of narrate it’s, your diaper change. Like I said, I am totally tone deaf. So for me, it may not sound beautiful, but it’s just a way to walk them through those steps. And I do that with everything. So we’re practicing rolling with a baby. We’re practicing tummy time. I know, it’s so hard. You got it. But what I’m not doing is, yes! Let me clap right in your face! That’s a big one, because that one, and it is with the best intentions. And parents are just so excited and they’re like, let me do this. Yay! We’re so loud. We’re so excited. And trust me, I am from a loud family. And so we are loud people and we get excited and so we definitely get the loud. I myself have to remind myself of this all the time.

[00:23:44.610] – Allie Ticktin

Just the other day, I was with a newborn and I was like so excited because he rolled for the first time and I was like, yeah, and I scared him. So don’t feel bad, but be mindful. And if you’re like me, it’s something I really have to check myself on. That your excitement. You’re like, you did it, but you’re not like the clapping and really, really loud because that can be really, really overstimulating for them.

[00:24:08.650] – Hilary Erickson

And scary, they may never do it again.

[00:24:12.230] – Allie Ticktin

The same goes with toys. When we think of how do we play with our baby, we often think of toys. What toys do we buy? Right? Well, what are some of the popular toys? You go to Target, you will see a lot of baby toys that light up and make a lot of noises. I’m not a fan of those toys. My suggestion is to try to have toys that don’t require batteries. We want your little ones as they starting really young, starting as infants. But this is going to carry on all the way up through childhood. We want them to have toys, one that aren’t overstimulating, but two that they can play with. So what does that mean? That they’re actually playing with the toys versus the toys playing for them. If I just push a button, I am not playing with that toy. That toy is playing for me. I just push the button, I just turned it on, versus if I actually have to grab it and shake it for it to make noise, I’m playing with it. I’m using my own muscles. As I get older, I’m going to come up with my own ideas of how to play with it versus a dog that you just push and it moves and it barks.

[00:25:22.760] – Allie Ticktin

Whereas then a toddler doesn’t have to do much with that dog. If you just have a stuffed dog or a wooden dog, then your toddler has to make the barking sound. Your toddler has to take that dog on an adventure. So that really starts extremely young. I laughed because in our precrawlers class, I recently talked a lot about toys as one of our topics. And the next week a mom came back and she was like, I donated all the toys that require batteries. And I was like, okay, if you have one or two toys that require batteries, I’m not going to say like, oh my gosh, that’s horrible. But just try to be mindful and be heavy on the toys that don’t require batteries. When we were growing up, we didn’t really have toys that had all of these I call them special features. All these special features. Like I played with dolls and we played with blocks.

[00:26:16.830] – Hilary Erickson

Yeah, definitely not as little. Like maybe when we were a little bit older.

[00:26:20.270] – Allie Ticktin

Right, so it starts really young.

[00:26:22.200] – Hilary Erickson


[00:26:22.570] – Allie Ticktin

So do black and white cards are great. Crinkle paper. Oh my gosh. Crinkle paper is an infant’s dream and I love it. And it gets them to do anything. Like if you’re practicing tummy time, put some crinkle paper in front of them. They love crinkle paper. Simple. They can eventually they’ll start to reach out and crinkle it themselves. So things like that. They’re also inexpensive, whereas some of the other toys that are a little more expensive.

[00:26:52.330] – Hilary Erickson

Yeah, I mean, we had a mirror that we used for tummy time. Nothing better. There was like a whole other baby at our house that day.

[00:26:59.250] – Allie Ticktin

Yeah, baby mirrors are awesome. And you don’t need a lot of this stuff. Like it doesn’t need to be fancy at all. Yeah, you don’t really need anything fancy.

[00:27:10.350] – Hilary Erickson

I mean, that’s the big bonus of this episode, really, because I think you go to that baby aisle and you’re just like, well, obviously all the parents have all this.

[00:27:18.330] – Allie Ticktin

Exactly. That’s what I like.

[00:27:20.160] – Hilary Erickson

Those normal babies I’m seeing have only played with this, so I need some of this.

[00:27:24.450] – Allie Ticktin

Well, and that’s exactly what I’m saying, is parents are made to feel like they need this stuff, but they don’t.

[00:27:32.250] – Allie Ticktin

And it’s expensive, all this stuff.

[00:27:34.140] – Hilary Erickson

And often not safe. You’ll find them getting recalled or whatever. Yeah.

[00:27:37.980] – Allie Ticktin

And so it’s of course great for development, but it’s also great that you’re saving money.

[00:27:43.290] – Hilary Erickson

Just put that right in the college fund, people. Just advise you.

[00:27:47.690] – Allie Ticktin

Yes, exactly. But my number one thing that I do think you’re going to get, and when I say invest in, they’re not that expensive. It is a floor mat. You don’t also need anything fancy for a floor mat. Somewhere safe to place them on the floor if you want. I do think the place to invest as they start crawling is baby proofing, making sure everything is really safe. Because I’m a big believer in let them move and explore. But just make sure your environment is safe to do so.

[00:28:16.620] – Hilary Erickson

Yeah. Or a door. Because your bedroom may not be a safe place for the baby to explore.

[00:28:21.690] – Allie Ticktin


[00:28:22.850] – Hilary Erickson

And that’s okay too. It is almost impossible to baby proof your entire house.

[00:28:28.270] – Allie Ticktin

Right? That’s where baby gates come in.

[00:28:30.450] – Hilary Erickson


[00:28:30.880] – Allie Ticktin

And the truth is everyone will have baby gates on their stairs and things like that. And that’s important. But you can still have a big space to really let them play. Couch pillows, I love as they’re starting to crawl, putting couch pillows on the ground and letting them crawl all over them. When I say you really do not need anything special. It’s probably stuff you already have in your house. When it comes to it, they often love you can shake your keys. They love that.

[00:29:00.470] – Hilary Erickson

The ceiling fan.

[00:29:01.790] – Allie Ticktin

There’s the most simple things you can take a tissue box. And one thing I do really love are like the baby scarves, the little silk scarves. And as they get older place you can shove those scarves into a tissue box and they’ll start pulling them out. That’s great. It’s just a tissue box. We all have a tissue box laying around. So anything like that. Boxes are wonderful, but really when they’re infants, let them experience the world through their senses. Take them out, take them on walks. I love baby wrapping and baby carrying that way. I think it’s great. Very calming. They’re naturally feeling that movement as you’re walking with them. So let them experience the world and don’t feel silly talking to them. I laughed what you said, Hilary, because I am so that person that when I’m around baby, I just immediately go into baby mode. And then after sometimes I’ll be like, oh, that’s kind of embarrassing. There’s other people around. But don’t be embarrassed. You’re your baby’s favorite person.

[00:30:08.730] – Hilary Erickson

Yeah. And you’re their best toy. Really. Like your face, your hands. My wedding ring was the full experience for a long time. They would just try and grab at it or stuff like that.

[00:30:20.340] – Allie Ticktin

Totally. Yeah. I agree fully. But just kind of think it doesn’t have to be fancy. Think simple, natural. What comes natural to you. Don’t feel like you see an Instagram ad or your neighbor has a fancy thing and you need it because really you don’t. And it’s probably better you don’t have it.

[00:30:38.820] – Hilary Erickson

That’s so good and frustrating that companies have found that marketing all this stuff will benefit us in some way.

[00:30:46.730] – Allie Ticktin

Yeah. And listen, I’m not like absolutely none whatsoever. I get it. Sometimes you’re going to have some sometimes you’re going to have some light up toys. Just try to do what works for you and your family. Take what works for you and leave the rest. But what my job is, is to educate parents because so many parents don’t know. They don’t know what sensory play really is. They don’t know how important it really is. And so that’s kind of where I come in. Tummy time is hard. Can we talk about that more? We can talk about that in every birth class. That and breastfeeding. Let’s talk about how hard those two things are. Don’t feel discouraged if it is hard. I know there’s many different positions available to you.

[00:31:33.780] – Hilary Erickson

And that other people are struggling just like you are, especially breastfeeding. I’m sure babies are struggling on tummy time. Mine sure did. And I was just like, we got to do this.

[00:31:43.410] – Allie Ticktin

Yeah, I would say more. In my opinion, it’s very common. Many babies are struggling and they’re having a very hard time in tummy time. The truth is, it’s a workout. Like I said, it’s not the most fun, but it is so important and so don’t feel discouraged by it and don’t feel like, oh, my goodness, I have to get this done for this amount of time right now. Create a method with your baby and figure out what works for them, what positions work for them, how many minutes at a time works for them. You guys will create your own routine. Use the after diaper routine where you can. Anything like that.

[00:32:21.290] – Hilary Erickson

That’s awesome. All right, Allie, thanks for coming on. I love the idea of preparing while you’re still pregnant for how you’re going to anticipate these babies needs and play with them and remember that there is play time because it’s so hard when they’re a newborn. You feel like those ten minutes between feeding and when they go to sleep, it’s valuable time. You can still use it to read or sing or just help them experience life 100%.

[00:32:44.680] – Allie Ticktin

I could not agree more.

[00:32:45.940] – Hilary Erickson

All right. Thanks for coming on! We’ll see you later, Allie.

[00:32:48.290] – Allie Ticktin

All right, bye.

[00:32:49.510] – Hilary Erickson

Okay, guys, I hope you enjoyed that episode. I have to tell you that when I first had a baby, I was so lost. So I think information like this can be so helpful. I’m so happy that Allie is out there and in fact, Allie has a course in getting ready for a baby. It’s perfect for my pregnant families or people who just had a newborn. She’s going to be making courses for as the babies progress up till age five. But if you go to her website, play to progress, you can use coupon code PLAYTODAY to get $10 off her course. It is super reasonably priced, has lots of information about how you can play and engage with your baby. Definitely check it out. I will also include a link in the show notes but you can find it at

[00:33:27.850] – Hilary Erickson

Next week’s show, we are talking about communicating with your health care team. I know you guys are going to look forward to that one and then the week after that, I actually have another friend who’s an occupational therapist coming on to talk about organizing your playroom so that it is a space that your family can enjoy and your kids can really benefit from. So stay tuned.

[00:33:43.720] – Hilary Erickson

Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode. The Pulling Curls Podcast grows when you share us on social media or leave a review. If you do, please tag us so that we can share and send you a virtual hug, which, frankly, is my favorite kind of hugging. Until next time, we hope you have a tangle free day.

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