TLB Reviews: Virtual Bra Fitting

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The Goods: Virtual Bra Fitting by Judy Masucci-Owner of A Mother’s Boutique

The Reviewers: Elise and Kileah

The Good: 

Elise says… Judy was a great communicator. We emailed back and forth several times so that she could get all of the information she needed to virtually fit me for a bra. At the time I was about 8 month pregnant so I was facing the challenging transition from the end of pregnancy to the beginning of breastfeeding. We discussed measurements and she asked about the fit of my old bras. Judy knew exactly what size of bra to recommend that would fit me during this transition. She recommended 8 different styles that would suit me. I chose the Anytime Bralet and it is currently one of my favorite nursing bras. 

Kileah says…Judy emailed me the list of questions to answer with as much detail as I could give on what I did/didn’t like about my prior bra experiences. My breastfeeding size is a LOT different than my “dry” size as far as bras go, and I had a TON of “I hate bras” information to give her (seams, uncomfortable squishies in weird places, near-death-by-underwire…you get the picture). She was so knowledgable, prompt in her responses and had several options she recommended! I ended up choosing the Toffee nursing bra from Cake Lingerie. It fit like a DREAM (also looks FABULOUS under my shirts and tops!).

The Bad:

Elise says… This was my first time doing a virtual fitting and I was not sure how it would work. I was skeptical that someone could fit me for a bra without actually seeing me. Judy was very clear in her requests for information and I trusted that it would all work out. When I received the bra at 8 months pregnant it only fit on the very last closure and I was unsure it was going to be a good fit for nursing postpartum. However when I began nursing it fit perfectly. Although it may be a challenge to trust that someone can fit from afar, Judy does know what she’s talking about!

Kileah says…So per the sizing recommendations (I measured at a “36D”…but hearing my issues with current bra situation…she recommended a “34G”) which ended up slightly too big in the cup. I emailed her and she quickly sent the next cup-size down and it was MAGIC.  I am, as you have all read in previous reviews, the skeptic when it comes to online clothing shopping (especially for undergarments!) and boy did Judy prove me wrong. She IS the bra-whisperer. All women should absolutely get professionally fitted for undergarments like this, especially nursing moms! Having a bra that is well-fitting can be such a confidence-booster and helps you feel fabulous in your own skin!

The Ugly: 

Elise says… Judy requested a description of how my pre-pregnancy bras fit me at 8 months pregnant. I had just moved so they were packed away and I had to do a few searches to find them. Some mothers-to-be may get rid of their old ill-fitting bras during pregnancy and this step could be difficult to complete. It is also a little uncomfortable to try on old bras that don’t fit anymore, but in the end it will help Judy figure out your virtual fit.

Kileah says…To compare the different virtual bra choices on the website was a bit tricky (but definitely doable!). The website itself can be a bit difficult to navigate on mobile phone but it’s definitely worth it!

*One of my favorites about this fitting: the $25 you use to purchase the bra fitting gets given right back to you in a $25 coupon towards a purchase of a bra on A Mother’s Boutique after you get your custom fitting! I’d get on that ASAP, Leakies!

We love you, Judy Masucci! Thanks for being our Bra-Whisperer!

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TLB Reviews: Wrapsody

The Goods: Wrapsody Breeze wrap

The Reviewers: Micah, Kileah

The Good

Micah says…

This is definitely the most breathable wrap I have used to date. I tend to gravitate toward buckle carriers in the warmer months (for me, that’s anything over 55-60 degrees!), but I have had no issues with feeling overheated while using the Wrapsody in warmer weather. This means that the child I am carrying is also more comfortable, less fussy, and less likely to want out because he or she is too warm. This wrap in particular is a pretty cool-looking “tye- dyed” rainbow pattern- hard to miss, and the kids absolutely love it because it is so bright and lively.

A few years back my wife taught the kids how to use a woven wrap to make a hammock under their beds or under the table, and the Wrapsody has become a favorite of theirs for that purpose. I regularly find our 6.5 year old son with it tied up under his loft bed so he can lay in it to read or play on the iPad.

This wrap has been super easy to use with our youngest, who is just over one year old. The fact that it is so light weight has made it really easy to adjust while wearing a child. My favorite feature of the Wrapsody, and something that definitely sets it apart from other wraps, is the fact that one of the tails is sewn in such a way that it forms a pocket- depending on how you tie it off. This makes it that much easier to be hands free while baby wearing with a wrap and is especially helpful for me as baby wearing tends to limit my access to things like pockets!

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Micah trying out the Wrapsody Breeze Iris. Shopping!

 

The pocket is more than deep enough to hold my phone, keys, and even wallet if necessary while keeping them all secure and easily reachable.

Here’s the wrap in hammock mode! I employed the youngest hobbit’s favorite monkey as a model since all of the hobbits were sound asleep- everyone knows you don’t wake a sleeping hobbit!

 

Kileah says…

This Wrapsody Breeze Iris wrap is soooo lightweight! It was nice to be able to do a quick rucksack wrap to go hiking and not feel like I was going to sweat myself into dehydration mode. It was also long enough so I was able to wrap comfortably without feeling like I was losing functionality. Baby Hobbit here is 25 lbs and 16 months. Though it took some adjusting and practice, I was able to breastfeed in the wrap from about 6 months old forward.

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Hiking in the Wrapsody Breeze Iris. She IS happy! Haha!

 

The Bad

Micah says…

I was really only able to use the Wrapsody with our youngest- I just couldn’t get a secure wrap with our 3 year old, who still really enjoys being carried. Carries that I can do with no problems at all using other wraps were difficult to do with our 3 year old. The Wrapsody just didn’t have enough grip to use while carrying her. This is really only problematic in that I prefer to use a carrier or wrap that works for any of the children I may need to carry. The Wrapsody fits the bill perfectly for an infant, but just doesn’t have the versatility I want when it comes to being able to carry a range of children.

Kileah says…

It does take a little bit of practice to make this wrap work well so that it doesn’t dig into your shoulders. It is a bit more difficult to ensure that the passes of fabric are spread out enough along the back and under the bum. This wrap is light weight enough that it wrinkles easily and ends up feeling a lot narrower than it actually is.

The Ugly

Micah says…

I don’t really have an ugly for this wrap, except to repeat what I already said- the Wrapsody is cool, but just doesn’t offer the versatility that I need for the stage of child rearing/ baby wearing/ toddler wearing that I am in.

Kileah says…

No ugly  here! The wrap was so very colorful and the price point is very accessible for a woven wrap.

 

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Do you have experience with one of these wraps? Leave us your review in the comments!

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TLB Reviews: Ovolo

The Goods: Ovolo Woven Baby Wraps

The Reviewers: Kileah, Micah, and Amy

Editor’s note: we like to use products for a long time before posting our reviews because we feel a week or even a month’s use for something that could be an investment for a buyer isn’t enough time to really be able to review the product. That said, it took us AGES to get this review posted, much to our embarrassment. In that time though we got to learn that not only does Ovolo make quality wraps, they also maintain quality service, support, and interactions.
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Left- Lark Glacier, size 6. Right- Fletching Wagtail, size 4.

The Good

Kileah says…

I am pretty sure I squealed when our Ovolo wraps came in the mail! Down to the packaging…there was so much love and care put into sending it to us. We received the Fletching Wagtail in a size 4 (3.6 metres/11.81 ft.) and the Lark Glacier in a size 5 (4.2/13.78 ft.) both in their loom state.  They both are 100% cotton but both completely gorgeous and DIFFERENT in their feel and wrapping specifics. The wagtail was a bit of a “beast” to break in at first…but nothing that a good thorough washing/drying and a few wears couldn’t fix. It’s an amazingly squishy and supportive wrap that doesn’t dig in at the tension points, and practically oooozed of sleepydust. The pixie hobbit and the baby hobbit both absolutely love getting wrapped up in it. The design of the fletching has a bit of personal meaning to our family as Micah’s grandfather’s name was Fletcher…the middle name we picked out for the sweet baby that we lost several years ago. Holding, wearing, using this warm, sturdy wrap has been a small source of healing in my heart.

And then Ovolo sent me and my littlest squish a NINJA and a HANDMADE Bandana in December. They did it JUST BECAUSE. Because they love their people and care about creating pieces that last. Pieces that are a part of your family…even for generations to come. THAT is the kind of heart and company I want to support. The kind that values my family and will do whatever it takes to help and support us in our journey of loving and learning with each other. Thank you, Ovolo. Thank you for working so hard to love on us in such a busy time of the year!

Baby hobbit in a double hammock carry using the Fletching Wagtail.

Baby hobbit in a double hammock carry using the Fletching Wagtail.

Micah says…

While I’ve been baby wearing since our oldest hobbit was born 6 years ago, this was my first experience wrapping with anything other than a Moby. I have to say that I was a bit skeptical at first- mostly because my experience using the Moby wasn’t that great- it was too long, and stretched out too easily for me. I did my best to put preconceived ideas aside and went to work learning to wrap with the Ovolos we received. I’m pretty big on the way things look, so for starters I can tell you that I was absolutely thrilled with the wraps Ovolo had sent as they were both patterns and colors that I liked. What I was not prepared for, however, was just how comfortable they would be once I got a few wrapping techniques down. The support that I felt I had as I carried a child in both was fantastic, and the knots stayed tied well.

Pixie Hobbit in a ruck carry with a tibetan tie-off using the Lark Glacier.

Pixie Hobbit in a ruck carry with a tibetan tie-off using the Lark Glacier.

 

Amy says…

We reviewed the Heartwood Onyx in a size 6. (100% cotton, 257gsm if you’re into wrap stats.)
I’m saying this, but really, it’s my husband who’s giving the feedback for the review! This wrap is his daily driver. In fact, it’s probably in use for at least an hour each day, if not more! This is our son’s legacy wrap, hands-down, from both a quality perspective and for the emotional attachment we all have to it. My husband is not a wrapper. He wore our daughter in a “crotch-dangler” buckle carrier six years ago, so the first time he wrapped our newborn son in this Ovolo wrap was literally the first time he had ever wrapped a baby.

It’s beginner friendly. At first, we both scoffed at the included instruction photos (“Isn’t this a bit much? LOL.”) Answer: no! It’s not a bit much. Literally as soon as he had the wrap tied, he was praising the instruction sheet for how easy it was to do something that, at first blush, looked complicated. Since then, he’s tried a variety of videos and tutorials to guide him through other carries. (Spoiler alert: none have really worked, he’s ended up frustrated, and gone back to the tried-and-true FWCC. Front Wrap Cross Carry, for those who don’t speak wrap-ease.) It showed up soft and has broken in to buttah. It’s lovely. M y husband does things to this wrap that I’d never dream of! It gets tossed wherever he’s taking it off (floor, couch, bed, on top of the laundry heap in our room…). He’s not gentle with it. Our son has barfed stinky chunks of curdled breastmilk on to it more times than we can count. He sucks, teethes, and chews on the rails. I couldn’t tell you what the care instructions say; all I can tell you is that the hubs tossed it straight into the washer on ‘delicate’ with cloth-diaper safe detergent, and then we line-dried it. In the winter, it went into the dryer on ‘delicate’. I don’t think it’s shrunk much since we first washed and dried it to set the weave and prep it.

Real dad. Real newborn. Real beginner wrap job!

Real dad. Real newborn. Real beginner wrap job!

It’s forgiving as all get-out. It’s been in action for 10 months here and over that time, my husband has gotten MUCH better at wrapping (always the FWCC). He needed a mirror for the first month or so, and now he could probably do it with his eyes closed. He still doesn’t care much for getting the prettiest, or the neatest, or the best wrap job. He knows how to make sure the baby is in a deep seat and to spread the passes over his bum. Beyond that, all bets are off. Our guy isn’t small, either, he’s 25 pounds or so. This wrap forgives the sometimes sloppy passes and stays tight; it keeps him high and feeling light, despite his baby-heft. Even when our (strong like a horse!) baby is arching his back and trying to nose-dive out of it (for instance, when he’s about to be handed off to me to nurse), the passes stay tight and hold him.

If I had to get rid of all my wraps except one, this would be the one we kept. It has taken abuse, forgives sloppy wrapping, and my husband and son don’t go a day without it. It also helps that Ovolo knocked it out of the park with the design; it’s masculine and earthy and aesthetically simple yet beautiful. We love it.

Ovolo Heartwood Onyx. Our legacy wrap.

Ovolo Heartwood Onyx. Our legacy wrap.

The Bad

Kileah says…

As I mentioned before: the Fletching is what I’d call more of an experienced babywearer’s wrap…it’s a DREAM to wrap with when the wrap is broken in…but it takes some good washing/drying and some good beating/wearing around to break in. Absolutely worth the effort because it speaks STRONG and SOFT when it’s in its ideal state. The Lark, simply due to its more “lightweightedness,” was easier to re-adjust to breastfeed my youngest two in.

Micah says…

A few things come to mind here. First, the Fletching Wagtail, which is the wrap that I absolutely loved, is too short to be a versatile wrap for me. At 5’10” and 245 lbs. I need a wrap that’s at least a 6 to be able to feel secure using it in a back carry- I wasn’t able to use this wrap for anything more than a simple hip carry. This could definitely be a downside for dads since we tend to be bigger framed than moms! Also, the Fletching Wagtail is such a heavy woven fabric that it really isn’t ideal for use in warmer weather.

Pixie Hobbit in a hip cross carry using the Lark Glacier. This was on a Costco that she was less than thrilled to be a part of!

Pixie Hobbit in a hip cross carry using the Lark Glacier. This was on a Costco that she was less than thrilled to be a part of!

Amy says…

I think it’s faded a bit after a ton of use and several times drying in the sun. Black is a tough color as fading goes, but that’s really the only potentially bad thing I can say. We don’t mind it the slight fade. I probably should’ve hung it in the evening when it wouldn’t be in direct sunlight. Maybe the other “bad” is that my husband commandeered this thing and I think I’ve gotten to use it maybe one time! Ha!

To Micah’s point, I’ll mention that my husband is 5’7″ and a medium build, and a 6 is just fitting him to wrap our 10 month-old in a FWCC. If you’re buying for a dad (and this is the epitome of a dad wrap!), look at the longer sizes.

The Ugly

Kileah says… 

The ugly for me? Don’t know if I have anything bad to say…I’m in love 🙂

Micah says…

The ugly for me is simply that wraps just aren’t as quick and easy to use as most soft structured carriers. I wish they were, because they are pretty cool and extremely comfortable as long as you wear them correctly.

Amy says…

We did have a hem on one rail succumb to some razor-sharp baby teeth. Fixing that is on my to-do list, but it’s been like that for a couple months, and it hasn’t impacted wrapping at all. (And again, my husband is not gentle when he’s using this thing, so consider that the hems were put under a good deal of stress every time he’s used it.) Did I mention this thing takes a beating?

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While no product is absolutely perfect for everyone, our reviewers all agreed that the Ovolo wraps come close. So we’re excited to share the love with you in an Ovolo Wrap giveaway for one lucky Leaky and excited that 3 additional wraps are going to babywearing lending libraries!

Babywearing Ovolo wrap

Ovolo Ombre Lupine

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Ovolo is giving away one of their brand new wraps, the Ombre Lupine in a Size 6 ($325 value) for one lucky Leaky!

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Meet Ombre Lupine, a gorgeous combination of blues, purples, and greys with a navy blue weft. Lupine is the first in our series of wraps called Ombre. Ovolo Ombre wraps are uniquely woven on a small dobby loom in plain weave and in very limited batches, less than 20 per color. Ombre wraps are woven with 8/2 cotton for both warp and weft. Ombre is truly the wrap for everyone. It carries very much like your favorite handwoven, with lots of stretch, amazing drape, and very gentle on shoulders. Woven and finished in the USA.

Size 4: 4.6 meters

Width: 76cm
Rails: Selvedge
Ends: Blunt Hemmed
Middle Marker: Tactile

100% 8/2 cotton | 275 gsm

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from March 16, 2015 through March 23, 2015.  A big thanks to Ovolo for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.  Check out their Etsy shop too!

This giveaway is restricted to US entries only. 

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TLB Reviews: Líllébaby All Seasons Carrier

The Goods: líllébaby Complete All Seasons Carrier in Stone

The Reviewers: Micah and Amy

The Good: 

Micah says…

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On a hike with Baby Hobbit- this was our first outdoor excursion with the lillébaby All Seasons Carrier.

My  complaint with soft structure carriers has always been that I couldn’t wear them for very long without my back hurting. The lillébaby All Seasons Carrier is the first soft structure carrier to solve that problem for me with the lumbar support. Previously, I would find myself needing to adjust whatever carrier I was wearing in an attempt to stay comfortable. The lumbar support on the lillébaby All Seasons Carrier not only supports my lower back, it also helps me to get the carrier on right the first time because of the way it lays on my back. I’m a big fan of the extra long straps and the fact that they can be worn backpack style or criss-crossed as it allows for maximum comfort while baby wearing. Speaking of the straps- I love that they are placed in such a way that you pull them from the front when wearing baby on the front. Other soft structured carriers require you to reach around your back and pull the straps from your shoulders, which is no easy feat- especially with a baby strapped to you!

None of our children have cared to forward face when being carried, but the fact that this carrier is convertible and can be used both ways is pretty cool and adds value as you are really getting 2 carriers for the price of 1. The neck support is fantastic for providing support for a sleeping baby’s head without having to put the full hood up and in doing so make baby warmer and uncomfortable. Additionally, I love that the front panel unzips to allow baby’s body to be cooler, especially in warmer temperatures. Our children tend to be little heaters, so this carrier helps mommy and daddy to stay a bit cooler as well.

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We took Baby Hobbit out on the town with us for our anniversary last month. As you can see, she was quite comfortable!

Amy says… Soft-structured carriers (SSC’s) tend to be a recipe for sweat in the humid summer heat where we live. Baby usually ends up too hot to stay in the carrier, which defeats the purpose of trying to use it (and means schlepping the carrier and baby separately). The mesh material used and zip-down front panel on this carrier live up to the “all seasons” name; it really is cooler! To that end, the neck support being there without needing the hood to support our little guy’s head was very appreciated in the summer heat!

We’ve used it with our newborn for the first few months of his life and both my husband and I have been really happy with this one.  I was able to breastfeed in it just by lowering the waist band a bit. I got some looks, but they were mostly in awe that I could wear him, feed him, and have the use of both of my hands! (The stone color also meant that we can switch this one back and forth and both be happy wearing it. My husband is totally fine wearing my cutesy patterned babywearing stuff, but he prefers this one over the rest!)

My absolute favorite thing about this carrier is the lumbar support! We have a few other soft-structured buckle carriers and a narrow waist belt will compress exactly the wrong part of my lower back and make it really sore. The little lumbar support panel on the líllébaby All Seasons makes a HUGE difference, both distributing baby’s weight more evenly and making the carrier WAY more comfortable to wear, especially for longer stretches. Lumbar support in action: (excuse the crappy picture!)

lillebaby lumbar

Really, I just love that little panel! I think all SSC’s should be designed this way, it’s *awesome!*

The Bad:

Micah says…The only bad thing I have to say about this carrier is that none of the accessories are included. I don’t expect manufacturers to include every accessory imaginable with their carrier, but I would love it if they included things that most parents would appreciate, like teething pads, with the carrier instead of selling them separately.

Amy says… After the first few times we adjusted the seat, it was easier, but the snap system  for the seat can be a little tricky at first. (Do not attempt to change the seat from wide to narrow for the first time if your baby is already unhappy…not that I’d know, or anything!) The way the seat on this carrier adjusts is really clever, I actually like it a lot.

The Ugly: 

Micah says… At the risk of sounding a bit picky, I will say that I don’t really like that the neck support doesn’t stay in place when not in use. there are snaps to hold it in place when folded down, but the weight of the baby prevents them from staying snapped. In future models I think it would be great if lillébaby addressed this. While it isn’t an issue of functionality, I feel like this does detract a bit from the overall look of the carrier.

Amy says… To use this carrier for a newborn, they recommend rolling up a hand towel or blanket and using it as a seat. We had trouble finding a blanket that was the right size to create the seat height we needed for our newborn. Even once we did, it’s a pain to be rolling up a seat and having to tote an extra blanket for that purpose. I’d much prefer an integral newborn seat or insert that just does the job without any guess work. (That might sound a little stupid, but a 30×30 receiving blanket rolls up differently than a hand towel or a big muslin swaddling blanket, know what I mean? A minor issue, but still a point of potential improvement in what is otherwise an awesome SSC. My husband’s favorite, in fact!)

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TLB Reviews: Cezara Belly Support Panty

The Goods: Cezara Belly Support Panty

The Reviewer: Elise

cezara

The Good: Elise says . . . This panty is a great option for those looking for belly and back support. It can be worn on its own or over your regular underwear. It is a nice 90% cotton and 10% spandex fabric that is very soft. For those who feel that their belly is pulling their weight forward and straining their lower back this would be a great choice for supporting the belly weight and relieving back pain. The velcro closure helps to adjust the waist size as you expand during pregnancy and then shrink after birth. I had a belly support band that had the tendency to move around or scrunch up. The nice thing about the Cezara panty is that it will not move around since it is a belly support and panty in one.

cezara drawing

The Bad: Elise says . . . I don’t believe that there is a “normal” pregnancy. Everyone’s body grows and changes in different ways. However there are some common physical issues that occur during pregnancy. One of them is low back pain. I had a back ache for about a week early on during my pregnancy and then for the rest of the time I did not have any back issues, which is a rarity. Therefore I found myself not needing belly and back support. I preferred to wear light-weight bikini underwear that sat below my belly. I was feeling so physically good that I was able to teach dance classes up until the day I went in for my cesarean! This panty would have been great had I had back pain issues, but for my fitness level I did not find that it was necessary.

The Ugly: Elise says . . . The fabric is very soft, but due to my sensitive skin I did not like the thick elastic band. I was lucky to have a fairly painless cesarean recovery. I did experience some tender skin issues with my stretched belly. I found my stretched belly skin to be more tender than my cesarean scar! So for me this supportive underwear with the thick elastic band was not a good option. However for those in need of back support and incision protection these panties would be a great choice to look into.

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TLB Reviews: My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear

The Goods: Heartbeat Bunny from  My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear

The Reviewer: Elise

The Good: Elise says . . . Stuffed animals are fun toys for your baby. The stuffed animals from My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear are not only fun, they are incredibly special. I never would have thought to record my baby’s prenatal heartbeat, but I am so glad I did. The site has many different animals to choose from. I received the bunny and it is a high quality stuffed animal and so soft! It may sound silly, but in the days before I had my baby I would hug the heartbeat bunny and listen to my baby’s heartbeat and feel so comforted. My birthing instructor had just told us to find sensory objects to bring to the hospital to help during the birthing process. The heartbeat bear is a perfect object to bring as it fulfills both hearing and touch. The directions for recording are simple and easy to follow. It is a great keepsake and I know it will be neat to show to my son when he can understand that he is listening to his heartbeat when he was in my belly!

heartbeat bear

The Bad: Elise says . . . This may not be on your list of necessary items. When I was preparing for my baby’s arrival I tried to weed out all the unnecessary items. This stuffed animal probably would not have made the cut. However I am so glad I have it! Although it may not be necessary for the care of your baby, I think all mothers should have one. I thought it might be awkward to ask my ob-gyn to help me record the heartbeat. I thought I might interfere with the important elements of the check up, but she was very supportive and helpful. Although this was the first time someone had asked to record the heartbeat during a check up she was more than willing to help. I cannot think of a better way to record your baby’s heartbeat. It will be treasured for many years!

The Ugly: Elise says . . . There is a little switch that you have to tape over on the recording device that goes in the bear. If it accidentally gets switched back it will delete the heartbeat recording! This is a little nerve wracking. Luckily they have a way to store the recording online so if it gets deleted it can be retrieved. Make sure not to skip that step!

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TLB Reviews: Dairy Fairy

The Goods: The Dairy Fairy’s Sadie All-in-One Nursing and Handsfree Pumping Tank , $75 and Arden bra, $68

The Reviewers: Amy and Jessica

sadie tank

The Good: 

Amy says… The fit on this is highly adjustable/customizable, which is a huge plus when the shape of your body is literally fluctuating by the hour! The material is extremely high-quality (it’s very soft and washes well) and you can tell these are produced with care. The belly area has a generous cut, so I didn’t feel like I was trying to stuff myself into the tank. (Because let’s face it, sometimes wearing any clothes at all when you’ve just had a baby can feel like that!)

The fact that this is geared for pumping or at-breast feeding is really nice. I didn’t have this experience, but I’d imagine that this would be a very lovely gift for the mom of a babe in the NICU, who’s pumping/feeding around the clock. The panels pull aside easily for nursing and give plenty of access to the breast.

Nursing bra and pumping bra

Jessica says… The Arden Bra is SO much in one, I love it!  I was really concerned about the support of this bra.  It didn’t seem like something could be so adjustable while providing quality support.  As it turns out, the construction of it in order to have the hands-free pumping option and the quality of the materials make it very supportive.  Enough so that I can even run in it without wincing.  I’ve had this bra for a year and it’s held up very well with regular usage and washing it like normal.  I’ve even thrown it in the dryer because sometimes that’s the only way I’m going to get a bra on that day.  Super soft, supportive, providing a firm stretch that is perfect for fluctuating breast size.  Using the hook and loops system on the front, the cup sizes adjusts easily, even under clothing if your support needs change while you’re out, I just moved it when I was feeding.  Hands-free pumping construction makes it super easy to pump one breast while direct feeding from the other side which for me is exactly what I need for pumping for donating purposes as well as when I’m traveling away from my nursling and need to pump.  It’s pretty, well made, and very functional, the cut is generous but not so high so it works with most tops.

The Bad:

Amy says… The cut of the cups on this top is pull-aside friendly, but that also means there’s less fabric to contain humongous I-just-had-a-baby engorged boobs. I was somewhere in the neighborhood of a 34D immediately postpartum and I’m a B-C now, and it’s definitely more comfortable now that my supply has regulated and I’m not as busty.

I’d like to see removable foam cup pads (like in swimsuits or sports bras) so that this could be worn as a stand-alone bra-top/camisole under a nice outfit. (Without the pads,– well, let’s just say nipples eeeeverywhere!)

Jessica says… I do wish it had more padding only because of nipples showing through or the inevitable leaking I experience but that’s manageable enough with a pair of breastpads which I can change as needed.  Depending on the back hook setting, sometimes the tag was itchy.  Now that I’ve gone down in breast size a bit I don’t notice this.  It did take me a little to get used to the hook/loops on the front, I couldn’t change it easily until I practiced a few times.

The Ugly: 

Amy says… The top has an adjustable band with the way the cups cross over and hook in (see the illustration below). Even with the play in band size that provides, the band on this size small was still really tight for me. Full disclosure, I measure a 32 and just prefer to wear a 34 band size in my bras, so I don’t like an overly tight band to begin with. But even so, I felt that it was pretty tight. If in doubt – size up.

sadie tank illustration

Jessica says… I think the sizing runs small, even though it is adjustable.  There are so many settings so I was surprised to see that the size small wasn’t comfortable for me even on the biggest setting.  When I first got the bra I was a 32 DD and quickly decided I needed a size medium in the Arden Bra.  Even now with being back down to a B cup I’m more comfortable in the medium.  The price point seems a bit high for one bra but it is so functional and so comfortable that it’s like getting 4 bras in one.  I wear tank tops a lot in the summer and I do find that it will show on the sides of a scoop neck top.

You can find the Arden bra and the Sadie Tank here and find the Dairy Fairy on Facebook.

 

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TLB Reviews: Bamboobies Nursing Bra & Nursing Shawl

The Goods: Bamboobies Brahhh & Chic Nursing Shawl

The Reviewers: Kileah and Amy

The Good: 

bamboobies braKileah says…Really was suprised with how much I liked the Bamboobies Brahhh. I am ever the skeptic of anything that might resemble “restricting”…for workout or yoga or anything. This bra did not disappoint! So soft, supportive, forgiving to the ever-changing amazing post-partum  breastfeeding breasts…I loved it! No weird seams to dig into my skin (ladies, I am VERY sensitive to seams/rough edges in clothing!). I was so comfortable in it that I wore it to bed. WIN.

As far as the Chic Nursing Shawl goes-I have to tell you a cool sunburn story. So I was silly and got myself a niiiiice sunburn (read: YEOWCH MY SKIN IS ON FIRE.). I couldn’t bear to have anything on my skin but a loose-fitting tank…and this shawl! It was soooo incredibly soft, chic, and gentle on my skin. It was like this soft cool fabric that KEPT COOL even on the 93F day we had. It also served as a genius fashion choice when my 2 year old hobbit wanted to play “yank-the-nipple” with me while breastfeeding at our community gatherings. Plus? Makes an AMAZING jedi cape on the fly. Just saying.

bamboobies shawlAmy says… I start wearing different bras about .02 seconds into my pregnancies, because my boobs are the first thing to change (and scream, “Hi! PREGNANT!”). At that point, stretchy is best for me. I’d say this is a great maternity-through-breastfeeding bra. I love the lotus flower design (hey, it’s the little things!). As far as nursing goes, it pulls to the side easily. It’s a cotton-based material (organic, actually!) and I thought it would lose its shape. Even in the early days of nursing (when I was pulling it to the side practically hourly), it stayed supportive .

And the shawl? Maybe it’s just me, but my body went through major size changes between the last few months of my pregnancy and the first two months postpartum. After I had my baby, nothing fit; not my maternity stuff, not my pre-pregnancy stuff. I wasn’t about to go buy a new wardrobe, so adding this shawl in over a stretchy nursing tank was my move. (It’s very pretty over a maternity tank, too!) It gave me some fabric to work with for privacy while the baby latched (it was a bit of an all-hands-on-deck experience and while I’m A-ok with nursing in public, having a little coverage to get the tongue-tied baby on was nice). It also made me look a little more put together than I would have, otherwise.

Bamboobies BrahhhThe Bad:

Kileah says…I don’t have enough of the Brahhh. I need more. MORE!

I think I’d love to see a grey option in the shawl as sometimes black/plum can be a bit limiting to some wardrobes.

Amy says… I’d like a tiny bit more cleavage coverage on the bra (it dips in the middle), but that’s just me.  I had a little trouble learning how to wear the shawl. That sounds kind of stupid, but I’d put it on and I wasn’t sure how it was supposed to go or be styled or look once it was on.

The Ugly: 

Kileah says…Nothing ugly here. Two hobbit thumbs up!

Amy says… A couple times, the straps let the front of the bra ride down and end up pretty scrunched in the under-boob area (that’s the technical term). It may have been from wearing it for a couple days straight, so your mileage may vary.

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Bamboobies wants to hear from you!  And so they are offering  a giveaway featuring their Nursing Brahhh and Nursing Shawl to 3 lucky Leaky winners (winner’s choice of either the bra or the shawl).  We hope the winner will come and add their two cents in the comment section and on our Facebook page.  Good luck!  Due to shipping and customs constraints, this giveaway is open to USA residents only.

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TLB Reviews: Push Pack

Let’s talk about packing your bag for your birth center or hospital birth. (And hey, even if you’re birthing at home…it’s a good idea to have a bag packed just in case!)

The Goods: Princess Push Pack by Push Pack, $78.95, in Tulip and Magnolia Pink

The Reviewers: Elise and Amy

The Good: 

Elise says… I had a breech position baby so I headed into the hospital for a planned c-section. I was a little nervous as I had never had surgery before. Having the Push Pack helped to make my journey feel like a fun adventure. It was comforting to know I had a package of everything I could possibly need. I packed some of my own things too, but it is nice to have some extras! I did not know how long I would be in the hospital and it was a great comfort to have the pack with me. Two months later I am still using items from the pack. My favorite items by far are the breast pads. I have tried many different kinds of breast pads both disposable and cloth and the cloth pads included in the pack are definitely my favorite.  I was impressed that the included items were all natural including Tom’s of Maine toothpaste and lanolin free nipple cream. I would definitely recommend getting this for someone as a gift. I know that people love to give baby clothes at baby showers, but it is so much nicer when someone gives you something fun and useful like this pack.

Elise received the Princess Push pack in Tulip.

Elise received the Princess Push pack in Tulip.

Amy says… I had a planned home water birth, so I’m writing from a slightly different perspective. This time around (my second birth) I did not want a repeat of my hospital birth. I didn’t want anything to do with packing any “emergency” or “just in case” bag. From that point of view, I love that this is a ready-to-go bag that’s all done for you (in a pretty case, to boot!). If something hit the fan, this pretty little case included everything I needed. Basically, it didn’t mess with my psyche AND I was still prepared. BOOM.
The bag it comes in is extremely high-quality and pretty (I’d expect it to retail for over $40, actually), I’ll get years of use out of it. (There’s a less expensive version that comes in a different bag that isn’t premium like the one we’re reviewing, too!)
The products are very consciously-chosen: organic, natural, good-for-your-body-and-the-earth stuff. That made the bag even more of a no-brainer for me. I didn’t need to think about packing stuff and this came with product selections that I would have chosen for myself. I can’t honestly think of what I would add, other than my own clothes, baby clothes, and my camera (and they actually include a tag on the bag with a suggested list of what to pack in addition to the Push Pack, which would be really helpful).  You really don’t need much more than what’s in this bag!
Here are some pictures of the goodies that came in the Push Pack:
Really pretty, right? It's an extremely high quality bag!

Really pretty, right? It’s an extremely high quality bag!

push pack personal care

Everything you need to be fresh & clean! If you walk out the door with only this, you’re covered.

Mama care: pads, disposable underwear (there were 3 in the pack, 2 are shown), Earth Mama Angel Baby's Mama Bottom Balm, Motherlove nipple cream, and breast pads. You're literally taken care of from top to bottom.

Mama care: pads, disposable underwear (there were 3 in the pack, 2 are shown), Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Mama Bottom Balm, Motherlove nipple cream, and breast pads. You’re literally taken care of from top to bottom.

The inclusion of a notepad, pen, and thank-you notes? I think that's brilliant. So helpful.

The inclusion of a notepad, pen, and thank-you notes? I think that’s brilliant. So helpful.

The pack of playing cards is great! It's very possible you're going to have to pass some time, so they might come in handy.  There were more snacks, but, uh...pregnancy. I ate them before photos were taken. ::hangs head in shame::

The pack of playing cards is great! It’s very possible you’re going to have to pass some time, so they might come in handy.
There were more snacks, but, uh…pregnancy. I ate them before photos were taken. ::hangs head in shame::

I was reaching for the nipple cream and breast pads within hours of birthing my son at home, so this isn’t a product that needs to be exclusive to moms birthing at hospitals or birth centers. I’ve found most everything to be useful and this was great to have at home for my peace of mind, should a transfer have been necessary. Price-wise, I think you’d come pretty close to what this costs if you tried to DIY it. Once you add in the convenience of someone else thinking through what goes in it and packing it, I’d buy one if I were birthing again. I also think this would make a fantastic gift for any mama-to-be!

 

The Bad:

Elise says… Honestly I did not end up using anything in the pack while I was in the hospital. To my surprise my c-section went amazingly smooth and I was only in the hospital for 2 nights. The hospital was great in providing everything I needed for those two nights. However when I got home I found myself going back to the bag over and over again to get needed items. When I ran out of those ugly disposable underwear that are oh so necessary I found an extra pair in the pack. When I ran out of pads I had extra in the pack. When I ran out of shower gel and nipple balm, there were some in the pack. So while it was merely a comfort to know I had it in the hospital it really became useful during my postpartum recovery at home.

Amy says…  It comes with a packet instant oatmeal that says it helps promote milk production, and it’s my understanding that you need old-fashioned rolled oats if you’re aiming for a galactagogue effect. (Though hey, it’s just nice to have an option that isn’t hospital food, I guess! And it comes with a spoon, which is really thoughtful.)

 

The Ugly: 

Elise says…  I ran out of thank you notes and I was hopeful I could use the ones in the pack, but they were too small to fit my standard size birth announcement. I am not a gum chewer or candy eater so while the lollipop and gum were fun ideas they were not useful to me (but probably great for others!).

Amy says… The razor that comes in it is probably not one I’d use (single blade, disposable, I’d probably cut myself). Same goes for the undies; even though they’re individually wrapped and labeled as disposable, they weren’t going to be comfy enough for me to wear. (Though admittedly, I’m very particular.)

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We’re super excited to be giving away a $40 gift code to one lucky Leaky to help them select their own Push Pack.  This giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only.  Good luck!

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TLB Reviews: A Mother’s Boutique Annee Matthew Maternity Wear

We’re talking maternity and nursing clothes today on TLB Reviews!

The Goods: Nursing tops and maternity bottoms. We reviewed the Keyhole Tunic and Maternity Leggings from the Annee Matthew line at A Mother’s Boutique.

The Reviewers: Amy and Kileah

Kileah rocking the Keyhole Tunic in Indigo!

Kileah rocking the Keyhole Tunic in Indigo!

A very-much-over-being-pregnant Amy in the Keyhole Tunic (fuschia) and leggings.

A very pregnant Amy in the Keyhole Tunic (fuchsia) and leggings.

The Good: 

Amy says… I have to talk about the leggings first. I had a HUGE pregnant belly and anything cutting into it, especially on the underside, wasn’t going to fly. I absolutely loved these leggings (they can be worn below or pulled over the belly). They’re like being able to legitimately wear PJs outside the house! They’re incredibly comfy, even over the course of a 12 hour day. Paired with the Keyhole Tunic and a light sweater, they made for a put-together outfit that wore well even through the very end of my pregnancy (when most other tops didn’t cover the length of my belly). Now that I’m breastfeeding, the Keyhole Tunic is an easy go-to, since it looks nice (and conceals my postpartum belly a bit) and I know I can nurse in it. (Note: If you’re in the Pittsburgh, PA area, I highly recommend stopping into Judy’s boutique! She has an area where little kids can play and the personalized bra fitting and shopping service is great!)

Kileah says… Have you ever gotten that twang of inner anxiety over purchasing a NICE item of clothing on the internet? Will I get the size right? What if I think the colour makes me look like a circus clown? Yeah. Online purchasing anxiety was set to rest when the keyhole tunic arrived in the mail. I had chosen the jewel-toned purple color and WOW.  The moment I slipped it on I noticed how gracefully it flattered my soft 4 months post partum midsection! It gave me the perfect fit in the shoulders, the fabric seams didn’t creep me out, the fabric itself was so soft and lightweight, and the length. OH THE LENGTH! I have paired it with printed leggings, or dark wash skinny jeans, a silk scarf, have thrown a light sweater over it, put some fantastic jewelry with it and creatively breastfed from nearly EVERY DIRECTION in this lovely top. Bonus: this top is well suited for pregnancy, post partum and breastfeeding.  I’d say that’s a win, people.

The Bad:

Amy says… Some people will balk at the price, especially for the top. I get that. I love a good deal and dropping almost $60 on one top can seem crazy to me, too. But (but!)…the quality is good and I know I’m going to breastfeed this kid for the next 2+ years. Having a few staples that I know are passable at most social events and are breastfeeding-friendly is worth a premium to me. The price tag may well be someone else’s “good” and still someone else’s “ugly.” It’s all relative.

Kileah says… Yeah. The price might create a bit of sticker shock for some, but in comparison to something you’d be getting at a premium store that would probably only get used during pregnancy, this is such a quality well-made piece and well worth the investment. A good wardrobe can go a long way for us, mamas!

The Ugly: 

Amy says… I put the leggings through regular machine washing and drying (is there any other way?!). The elastic in the waistband ended up twisting such that I couldn’t really get it to flatten out again. (I probably could have, but I didn’t care to fight with it that much.) Other than that, no complaints.

Kileah says… I am not a pearl button kind of gal. My tunic came with a pearl button at the apex of the keyhole on the front and sometimes I think it clashes with certain styles of jewelry/looks. But it IS tiny…and if I really want to be a snob over such a great piece of clothing, I can always switch it out for something else. Definitely worth it!

Editors note: anyone else kind of wish Micah was reviewing these too?  I’d love to hear what he thinks about the fit and the little pearl button.  😉

As we get our review program kicked off, we wanted to include the chance for someone else to get to review something as well with a giveaway.  A Mother’s boutique is offering one $50 gift certificate to a lucky Leaky winner. We hope the winner will come and add their two cents in the comment section and on our Facebook page.  Good luck!  Due to shipping and customs constraints, this giveaway is open to USA residents only.
~Jessica

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