Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Welcome to the Wellness Guide! Today we are going to talk about an item that goes beyond decorating a baby's cot: the mobile.

An accessory that completes the layette, the mobile is an item that helps in the development of your baby. From the first days, the mobile stimulates the child's sight, hearing and touch.

No wonder, nowadays, the variety of mobiles is large and diverse. But not all models are safe and functional. So, here we show you what you should take into account when buying the ideal mobile for your baby.




Summary

  • A mobile is an important product for baby's development from the first months of life.
  • Ideal for stimulating vision, hearing and motor skills, there are currently models ranging from simple to more technological.
  • In this article, you will find out how to ensure the safety and development of your baby by choosing the ideal mobile.

The best Mobile: Our Picks

More than an ornament, a mobile needs to be safe and functional for babies' cognitive development. Manufacturers know this and have invested in technology and innovative designers. That is why, below we will introduce you to the best models of mobiles available on the market today.

Buying Guide

A mobile is an accessory with a double function: it decorates and promotes the baby's development. But with so many different models and technologies, you need to know how to choose the safest and most functional one.

To help you in this endeavour, we have created this Buying Guide. Here we will show you everything you need to know about mobiles and what to watch out for before buying the best one for your baby.

Bebê deitado com móbile colorido sobre ele.

A mobile is more than just a beautiful ornament, it helps your baby's development. (Source: Natallia Khlapushyna / 123RF)

What is a mobile?

A mobile is an interactive and decorative accessory. With various themes - from dinosaurs to princesses, to more abstract models - the mobile is formed by a vertical rod, a dome and moving parts hanging in a circle.

Attached to the cradle, pram or other baby products, the mobile rotates, whether moved by wind, touch or electronically. And so they distract babies, stimulating them to recognise shapes, colours, sounds and movements.

Over time, this accessory has evolved a great deal, especially after its proven function in aiding children's development. With technology, this product has become even more efficient and practical as it includes sounds, music, lights and projection of images.

Berço de madeira com móbile colorido preso na lateral.

Mobiles can be simple or technological. (Source: Cosmin-Constantin Sava / 123RF)

After nine months in its mother's tummy, the baby wants to get to know the world. To see, hear, touch and feel what is around him. So newborns respond to the stimuli they receive.

To contribute to this process, mobiles are highly recommended. The fact is that this is your baby's first toy.

Lying in its cot, the child interacts with the stimuli using its eyes, head, neck and arms. Therefore, the mobile's main objective is to stimulate the senses, concentration and curiosity, as well as helping to calm the baby.

But, amid so many model options, you need to know that not all mobiles are safe, effective and suitable for all baby's stages.

Which is the ideal mobile for each baby's age group?

As the months go by, a baby's vision develops and the variables of sharpness, contrast and colour perception improve. Therefore, when choosing a mobile for a newborn, you should give preference to pieces with pronounced outlines and strong contrast between light and dark.

As the months go by, there is progress in colour perception, contrast and sharpness. Images are no longer so blurred. It's time to insert a mobile with brighter and more contrasting colours too.

Then the child starts to react to motor stimulation, first with the eyes and then with the arms. For this reason, a mobile with movement is ideal for babies to raise their arms and encourage coordination and movement.

Thus, the right mobile for each stage of the child, prevents the baby from being overloaded or stressed with the wrong stimuli. Experts say that up to five months it is not good to stimulate babies too much. Therefore, prioritize mobiles with light movements, soft colours and relaxing sounds.

To help you, we have put together recommendations from experts on when to insert a mobile in your baby's routine and which one is best for each stage of your child.

  • 2 to 4 weeks: During this phase, the newborn baby's eyes are still adapting to the world outside the womb. For this reason, we recommend a simpler mobile, with no light and no music, preferably with black and white colours and flat figures that provide contrast.
  • 5 to 8 weeks: Here, you can introduce a mobile whose pieces have primary colours and a three-dimensional aspect, as well as movement and discreet sounds.
  • 8 to 10 weeks: In this age range, the mobile can contain a subtle gradation of the same colour, pieces with depth and at different heights, stimulating the refinement of the senses.
  • 10 to 12 weeks: From this stage, the mobile can be more elaborate, with different and intriguing movements, but still soft, with relaxing music, lights and cozy images.
  • 12 to 20 weeks: At 3 months of age, baby can see better and more colorfully and, therefore, parents can stimulate his or her vision with mobiles in strong and vibrant colours.
    During this period, it is also important that the accessory has movement, as this is the phase when the baby moves his hands and feet a lot and tries to reach for objects.
    As of four months, you can let your baby touch the mobile's hangings. But be careful with the materials you choose and avoid small pieces.
  • 20 to 32 weeks: At 5 months, your baby's sight is more developed and you can choose a more colourful model with music and lights. But it is also at this time that parents should worry about the distance between the mobile and their child.
    The minimum recommended distance is 50 centimetres so that the baby does not hurt himself pulling the mobile which could fall off or use it to get up.

When to remove a mobile from the cot?

It's important to understand when to take the mobile out of the cot. When your baby is reaching for the hanging toys to the point of pulling them, this is a sign that you should remove the accessory for safety reasons.

This moment may vary from child to child, but in general, it occurs after 32 weeks. That is, from the 8th month on, when the child can reach the ornament, there are two risks: the mobile falling on top of the baby or it hanging and falling out of the cot.

Bebê sentado no chão brincando com móbile.

The mobile can be reused as a toy later on as the baby grows. (Source: Amazon)

In addition, when the baby begins to crawl or take his first steps, other stimuli become more attractive and is when, in general, the mobile ceases to be something interesting.

Some electronic mobile models, however, have the option of removing the animals from the stem and using only the musical part, for example. In this way, you remove one part of the mobile, but the other is used for longer.

What care should you take with the mobile?

In general, you need to pay special attention to two aspects of the mobile: safety for the baby and the way it is installed. Ideally, you should place the mobile 50 cm from the baby. And, as the baby grows, you need to increase the distance between the mobile and the child for safety reasons.

Also, the mobile should be in baby's field of vision. That is, make sure the accessory is aimed between 30 and 45 degrees from the child's vertical line of sight.

Most importantly, the child should not look directly at the ceiling. According to experts, looking upwards - totally vertically - makes it difficult to lubricate the eyes and forces the baby's head.

Móbile no berço pequeno.

You must ensure that the mobile is well installed and in the right position for the baby's vision. (Source: StockSnap / Pixabay)

Regarding installation, note that the base of the mobile that is attached to the cot or wall needs to be sturdy, lightweight and well secured. The goal is to prevent the mobile from falling and hitting the child.

Also, dispense with sharp decorations that can also hurt the baby and very small parts, such as dolls' eyes and buttons. These objects can become detached and be swallowed by the child.

Ornaments with fillings that are easy to remove also pose a risk and should be avoided. Remember to always adjust the height and proximity of the mobile to the baby as the child grows. The most modern models allow for this adjustment in a practical way.

Where can you place the mobile?

It is important for you to know that a mobile can be installed in various places, not only in the cot. Of course, this will depend on the model you choose and also the decoration you want to create in the room.

But, in general, the mobile can be placed on the ceiling, on the wall and even on the mosquito net of the cot. What is important here is that the chosen mobile is installed in a safe and firm manner to avoid accidents.

Check out below how the installation of a mobile works in different places of the baby's room:

  • Hanging from the ceiling: When installing a mobile from the ceiling, it is necessary to make sure that the accessory is firmly attached so that it does not fall on the baby. In general, this type of mobile is attached with nylon thread and can be adjustable.
  • Cradle mosquito net: You can also hang the mobile from the mosquito net of the cradle. But, here, the mobile has to be very light so as not to create weight on the fabric.
  • Wooden or metal bracket: Another possibility is to hang the mobile with the help of a bracket attached to the wall, or you can also buy a hand-frame.
  • Cradle arm: Attach the mobile to the side of the cradle is the most used, practical and safe way to do this in most options.

What types of mobiles exist on the market?

The cot mobile is not the only one that exists. It is important that you know that there are other types of these accessories that are just as functional. Nowadays, it is possible to find exclusive mobiles for prams, others that are already attached to the baby's mat, changing table or chair.

In general, however, all types of mobiles have the same function. The big difference between them is practicality. The mobile pram, for example, is portable and can be placed in other places too, such as in baby comfort, chairs, Moses, etc.

Many mums and dads prefer this type of mobile to leave the cradle free of distractions so that the child associates the place to the time of sleep.

Imagem de mãe puxando carrinho com seu bebê, que está brincando com móbile.

The pram mobile is portable and can be taken wherever parents want.
(Source: anzebizjan / 123RF)

The mobile that comes fixed on the carpet or chair is another option for when the baby is not in the cot. Still, it is worth remembering that, nowadays, there are mobile options with multiple functions.

That is, you can choose a mobile that can be used both in the cot, as well as for the pram and other places where the baby usually stays. Later in this article, we will talk in detail about the factors that differentiate one model of mobile from another.

How to increase your child's learning with the help of a mobile?

As we have already seen, a mobile is a great tool to help your baby's development because of its colourful, moving parts, as well as sounds and images.

But, even so, it is possible to optimise the function of the mobile making this object even more effective in your child's learning. Below are some tips on how to increase the power of the mobile:

  • Change the mobile from position: Vary between the cradle, the ceiling and the wall, stimulating the movement and perception of the child's eyes.
  • Alternate stimuli: Vary between auditory, visual and tactile stimuli.
  • Stimulate the child's interaction: Picking up objects with the presence of an attentive adult nearby can be very beneficial.
  • Use mobiles in other environments besides the cot, such as in the pram, carpet, lounge chair and others.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the mobile?

So far you have seen that mobiles have great advantages. And it cannot be stressed enough that the main one is that it helps in the baby's development.

Because of the variety of shapes, colours, movements and technologies, another advantage of a mobile is that it stimulates the visual, tactile and auditory senses, the perception of space, depth and cause and effect.

The fact is that already in the first weeks of life, a mobile allows the baby to practice concentration, visual focus and to follow smooth movements. In this way, the mobile also has the function of relaxing the baby, especially when used with soft music.

Studies prove that children who are playfully stimulated in this way will have a much more effective cognitive and social development than children who do not experience moments of interaction and learning.

Imagem de móbile colorido de animais.

The mobile is functional, practical and versatile. (Source: alexandersafonov / 123RF)

In addition, another advantage of the mobile is that it is an object that composes the decoration of the baby's room. More than that, the mobile is versatile and can be used in other accessories besides the cot.

On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages in relation to mobiles. The main one is that not all of them are safe, especially those that contain parts that can come off or those that do not have a firm enough fit or installation.

In addition, the most modern and technological models of mobiles can be very expensive. Below, you will find the main advantages and disadvantages of a child's mobile:

Advantages
  • Stimulates sight, hearing and touch
  • Stimulates motor coordination and concentration
  • Develops a sense of space, cause and effect
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Versatility
Disadvantages
  • Not all are safe
  • The more technological ones are very expensive

Purchase criteria: Factors to consider before buying a mobile

Now that you know the importance of the mobile and how to use it safely and effectively, it is time to understand what factors differentiate one model from another.

With this information in hand, you can choose the best option for the safety and development of your baby. Therefore, below we have listed the main factors that you should take into account when choosing a baby mobile.

  • Manufacturing material
  • Functionality
  • Sound
  • Image
  • Colours

Below, we will explain in detail each of these factors so that you can choose the ideal mobile.

Manufacturing material

The manufacturing material is an essential factor to be considered before buying the children's mobile. Ideally, you should opt for a mobile made of non-toxic plastic and with plush parts or anti-allergenic fabric.

But you will also find mobile models made of wood, felt and even paper, or a combination of different materials. Remember, however, that this accessory needs to be resistant, but at the same time lightweight.

Móbile em berço com animais.

Opt for a resistant mobile, light and easy to clean. (Source: andreapassaro / Pixabay)

The fact is that the simple touch of the little hands of the child makes the mobile make smooth movements, helping not only in the development of eyes, but also in tactile perception.

Mobiles made of solid wood are very heavy and should therefore be avoided. Hygiene is another aspect that deserves attention. The mobile should be easy to clean. A mobile made of fabric is generally very delicate, but requires periodic cleaning, for example.

Therefore, if possible, prefer models made of washable fabric and malleable rubber, which are the most practical options when it comes to cleaning.

Functionality

When choosing a mobile it is important that you observe the functions offered by the product. Nowadays, there are several options for mobiles: simple, musical and visual.

A simple mobile is one that contains only parts, which can be balls, stars, bugs, among others. Its function is to awaken vision, curiosity and attention.

With the musical mobile, it is possible to transform the device into two: remove the stem with the pieces and the music box can be used as a toy for the child.

The musical and visual mobile is one that also includes a projector of images and lights to attract the baby's attention and promote relaxation.

In addition, some models are portable, so you can use the mobile attached to the cradle or pram. Below, you can see the differences between the types of mobiles according to their functionality:

Simple Musical Musical and Visual
Operation Coloured pieces that turn Pieces turn at the same time as the music plays Pieces turn, play music and project light or images
Technology Manual or wind-up Buttons or remote control Buttons or remote control
Versatility Only Mobile Mobile and/or Music Box Mobile, Music Box and/or Projector

Sound

If you choose a mobile that has sound reproduction, you need to take into account the types of music. You just need to know how to choose the right sound for your purpose. Therefore, opt for a mobile that has quiet sounds and different tones.

In general, mobiles offer from three to 20 different types of sounds and music, including classical music, nature sounds and relaxing noises.

In addition, there are some models that play the sounds for up to 40 minutes without interruption. Not to mention that you can choose a mobile that can stop the sound automatically or manually.

Image

It is also important that you take into account the type of image reproduced by the mobile and the number of variations. In general, you will find mobiles with one to three different types of reproductions.

Some models even have the option to stop the image reproduction automatically after 15 minutes. So, you will find models that reproduce only night lights, others that display more elaborate images of stars and animals, and versions that have both options combined.

Móbile com projetor de estrelas no berço em quarto de bebê à noite.

A mobile that projects lights and images helps baby to relax and sleep. (Source: Bastien Jaillot / Unsplash)

Also note that some mobile models project images only on the ceiling, while others also reproduce on the walls.

Also, it is important to ensure that the mobile offers the function to regulate and select the type of light or image according to the purpose: whether to keep baby calm, focused or alert.

Colours

As we have seen, for each phase of the baby, a type of colour is recommended, stronger or softer, according to the child's visual capacity.

Nowadays, you can find a wide variety of colours in mobiles. The recommendation is that, until the first 5 months of life, you should avoid very strong and varied colours.

Very bright colours can have the opposite effect and end up making your baby very agitated. Therefore, if you are going to put the mobile in the cot, always opt for neutral colours. Leave the brightest colours for the time of play.

(Source of the highlighted image: costin79 / 123RF)

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