We have used the Cuddledry on two babies now and I can certainly see the value in it. When managing bath time by myself, it definately does make it easier, which is what its designed to do!
What I love:
The fibre is magnificent. Thick, luxurious and soft, love it! The design concept is a 'must have' in my opinion, to be able to have this on and ready while baby is in the bath is comforting as you know that you can just life your baby out and bring them straight to your chest. Then you can pull up the rest of the towel and snuggle it around them. I agree with a previous reviewer that they are very long, but a Im 5' 7" its never been a problem for me.
What I dont love:
The snaps around the next could do with being a bit more 'easy release'- they do require two hands, and if you do try it with just one hand it will hurt the back of your neck!
A great product, and we are very pleased that we invested in one.
I have been getting in some "house husbanding" experience since I resigned from my job over three months ago, and whilst many would argue that searching for employment is a full time occupation in of itself, that's not an argument that goes down too well in my house. As such, along with my new roles as official bedtime tucker-inner and story reader for my daughter, and general pack-mule and quartermaster for trips "out", I am now also responsible for drawing and disposing of bath water for my newborn son's daily ablutions.
Having fulfilled this role successfully - and after a few months apprenticeship and careful tutelage from the master bather that is Mrs H - I have finally been promoted to (or should I say "entrusted with") doing the actual bathing of the baby. Trust me - it's harder than it looks! Trying to handle a wet baby covered in soap suds without losing your grip and getting soaked in the process is quite the challenge - and that's if the little mite is in cooperative mood - which, more often than not, he is not. However, there is one bit of kit we use that has made things a touch easier - the Cuddledry Baby Bath Towel.
WHAT IS IT?
The Cuddledry - another innovative product that has successfully emerged from BBC2's now iconic "Dragon's Den" - is essentially a long towel which attaches to you around the neck like an apron, making it much easier and safer to lift out, cuddle and towel dry baby after a bath. The key to its practicality is that it leaves both hands free. The "collar" is adjustable (with two settings) and secured by two popper snaps which are both secure when in use and easy to release after use.
The towel is cream coloured on the "outside" and made from a very soft and silky, yet highly absorbent unbleached organic cotton and viscose mixture (the latter is made from bamboo fibre apparently). The backside (or inside layer) is a dark beige and contains polyester in the mix to prevent water from soaking through to your clothes. One of the bottom corners of the towel has a hood for baby's head, making it easy to dry the hair.
The towel is suitable for use from birth (depending on the size of your baby - for instance, as Baby H was preemie we were advised not to bathe him for six weeks as he would have had trouble regulating his body temperature). It is designed and sold by an English company based in Somerset, but actually manufactured in China.
HYPE OR HELP?
I remember this product being pitched on the Den, and thought it was a good idea at the time - so it was nice to see it in the shops relatively quickly afterwards. However, as I was predisposed to liking the product before we bought it, I found it harder to be objective than usual when it came to reviewing it.
The packaging - a simple round light cardboard sleeve that encircles the rolled towel - ostentatiously proclaims its pedigree, with the strap line "As seen on the BBC's Dragon's Den" grabbing the attention on the label, along with the veritable chorus-line of mother, baby, pre-schooler and parenting best buy awards certificates and logos which adorn the circumference of the sleeve (see www.cuddledry.com for more details).
They say pride comes before a fall, and in raising the bar of expectation so high, have Cuddledry set itself to fail? Thankfully not, but it's not the perfect essential accessory it makes itself out to be either.
From a purely functional and aesthetic point of view, it does what it is meant to do very well. As a towel, it has excellent absorbency and drying power (as long as you remember to wash it first as advised on the label) and it does a handsome job of protecting clothing from getting wet. It is fully washable (at up 40 degrees) and can be tumble dried, making care and maintenance a doddle.
In actual use, the ability to take baby out of the bath with both hands and immediately clutch him to my chest before getting the hood on him and wrapping him up snug is a real advantage over juggling a baby and a towel at the same time.
However, there are two things which make this product four rather than five stars. The first is length. I stand at just under six foot and would estimate that the towel is about nine inches from the floor when I am standing straight. When I bend over a bath, it touches the floor. Whilst that's not a problem for me (and with the adjusted collar, not a problem for my 5' 6" wife either) it is likely to be a little too long for anyone of a much shorter stature.
The second is price. Ours was a baby shower gift to us from a friend, but at last check, the product retails for around £25 to £30 on-line, depending on the design you choose. Ours, the "oatmeal" basic version is priced at £24.99 at Amazon, but the "cow-print" design goes for £29.99 from the same e-tailer. That, in my book, is far too expensive to make this product - which for all intents and purposes is nothing more than a glorified bath towel - an essential purchase. Like it's silky smooth and soft feel, it's a more of a luxury.
There is no doubt that the Cuddledry is a practical and useful accessory that takes the stress and struggle out of baby bath times, but it comes at a considerable cost. That makes it a great gift to receive, but not something I would consider buying myself. That's a shame, as it deserves to do well, but I think a price of between £18 and £20 (at the top end) would have been more realistic.
© Hishyeness 2010
"The Cuddledry concept was founded by Helen Wooldridge and Polly Marsh, two long term friends, now working mums. Their first product was the organic Cuddledry baby bath towel - now a multiple award-winner and a 'must-have' for all new mums and dads." From the Cuddledry Website
You may be aware of the cuddle dry apron towel as it featured on BBC 2 Dragon's den. Ever since then the parenting press have raved on about it as a must have item for new parents. It has won several awards including The Practical Pre-school Gold award which is a highly coveted award and not easy to achieve. I decided to see what all the fuss was about and didn't want to miss out, so I treated myself to one.
They can be bought from cuddledrys own website or many other on-line retailers including amazon, which was were I bought mine for £24.95 including free delivery. I thought this was expensive at the time for what is essentially just a baby towel but this was the cheapest I could find it and with all the hype I just had to have one.
This extract is taken from the cuddledry website and explains what the concept of the towel is and I though it would be helpful to include it.
"The Cuddledry baby towel attaches to the parent like an apron, so both hands are free. Lifting baby up out of the bath is easy and safe, and you cuddle and dry your baby in your arms naturally, strengthening the bond between you when baby feels most vulnerable. You don't have to think about holding a towel at all.
This is the major safety advantage of the Cuddledry system, but there are plenty more features to its unique design. The towel ensures the parent STAYS DRY and therefore less likely to get the floor wet and slip, and the towel is ATTACHED to you which prevents the risk of having to move away from your baby for even a second. The SINGLE-HANDED EASY RELEASE poppers allow you to simply remove the towel from yourself and lay baby down on their changing mat still snugly wrapped. In addition, the towel is DOUBLE-LAYERED, not only giving it a luxurious thick texture, but absorbing water faster and keeping it away from baby's skin."
When it arrived I was very impressed it is very luxurious it was so soft and is certified organic.I simply adored the funky cow print design it looked fab. It would look great hanging from any nursery or bathroom door.
I was really pleased with it until it came to actually using with my newborn baby. It is rather large and with me at 5 ft nothing I found it was far too long. I was very scared of tripping over it. Its huge length ended up with my dipping it into the bath water on its first outing not a good start and this made the bath time process very stressful.
Also its two layers one designed to protect your clothing and one to dry the baby means its very thick and takes ages to dry and I end up washing mine after ever use as my new born baby boy likes to pee on it everything he gets out of the bath its a real pain getting it dry.
The cuddledry apron has SINGLE-HANDED EASY RELEASE poppers or so they say. I feel like I'm going to get a friction burn on the back of my neck every time I try to take it off. I certainly wouldn't agree its easy to release.
So from my experience I didn't find that the cuddledry apron made my baby's bath time easier or safer. Now I perhaps going to make myself unpopular with this review and I expect loads of people to comment on how good the product is and its the best thing since slide bread but I am only giving my personal opinion on my dealing with the product and the problems I have faced with it. I wanted to love the product too and was so excited about it but sadly I've ended up rather disappointed. I would in future buy a bucket load of cheaper hooded baby towels from Primark.
Apron-style - keeps hands free for bathing and lifting and keeps you dry