“ Brand: Mothercare / Type: Baby Bath Toy „
Becoming a parent and caring for a new baby is a very daunting experience. Bath time was one of those situations where I felt particularly uneasy as the apparent responsible adult as water is a new added "danger" to contend with. Multiply that fear by two as a parent of twins and you soon realise that you do not have enough hands to support and bath two babies at once. In the early days I used to use a baby bath and bath one baby whilst the other lay quite still on the changing mat. However as my twin boys got older and hit the six and a half month mark I would fit myself bathing one baby whilst the other rolled, sat up and generally escaped from the safety of the changing mat. Not to mention the baby bath was slowly being outgrown. The next step was putting the boys in our bath in the bathroom however when bathing them alone I simply did not have the confidence or enough hands to sit them in the bath and bath them together when they were very unpredictable and often threw themselves back from sitting upright. The solution was the Mothercare Aqua Pod Duo.
*** Mothercare Aqua Pod Duo***
The Mothercare Aqua Pod Duo is essentially a baby bath seat suitable to bath two babies in the bath together. The Duo is basically the same as the original Mothercare Aqua Pod but consists of two seats rather than just a single seat.
The product is a rubber bath mat around 1m long and 50cm wide with around 8 suction pads to secure it to the bottom of the bath. There are four holes cut out of the bath mat in which two plastic support seats fit through at either end of the mat. The seats are a moulded plastic seat with a long handle at the front, open sides and a back support. The seats also have 5 suction pads on each seat.
The seats have been designed so the back is shaped to provide support and to prevent babies falling backward. There is also a T bar handle at the front of the seat to give babies additional support and give them something to hold onto. The sides of the seat are open unlike the majority of bath seats and rings which are totally enclosed around the sides and this makes it easier to wash your babies. The seats are also face to face which is to "encourage interaction between the babies"
The mat has a red star which acts a temperature guide and alerts you if the bath is too hot by displaying the words "HOT". Mothercare also claim the mat and seat have an easy to clean surface. There is also a carry handle on the reverse of the support.
The Aqua Pod Duo is only available in blue. This is a light blue and personally I do not feel it is too boyish or have issues with the colour but as a mum of boys most items we own tend to be blue. However the single Aqua Pod is available in pink therefore mums of twin girls may feel the need for Mothercare to bring out a pink version.
Mothercare state the Aqua Pod Duo is suitable for two babies to use from 6 months old providing they can sit up unaided.
The Aqua Pod Duo is available from Mothercare stores and online at www.mothercareco.uk. It costs £39.99 however is often is reduced during sale time. I purchased this for £27.99. Traditional bath rings and seats are priced at around £9.99 each therefore this option works out slightly more expensive however the Aqua Pod Duo is one of the only bath products available specifically for twins which provides reasoning as to why it is recommended by many parents of twins.
I started using the Aqua Pod Duo to bath my boys when they were 6 and a half months old. At this stage they were able to sit up unsupported for a reasonable amount of time on their own but in a seat or Bumbo type baby seat they were very comfortable and would sit happily for long periods of time. I also feel at this stage they both had good neck control. I was very nervous initially when bathing my boys together and although I was easily able to bath my boys in the seats because I had two hands free to wash and apply bath products to them, at times I still felt the need to hold onto them slightly to make sure they were "safe" in the water.
Like all baby manufacturers Mothercare cater their products for the "average sized baby" which obviously there are variations but typically at 6 months old most babies weigh in the region of 17lbs. My boys were a lot smaller than average as are most twins and even at their "corrected age" (basically their size at 7 months old as they were born a month early) they were only around 11lbs. Being smaller than average does make using the seats quite difficult as I found my boys initially could either sit against the back of the seat support or hold onto the handle because they were too small to reach both. They were supported but comfort and support wise not as well as they should have been which is why I felt myself holding onto them more than I feel I wanted to during the first month or so of bathing them, which obviously defeated the object of bathing them in these seats.
In my initial panic I was also nervous that because the sides of the bath seat were open my boys could slip out or fall sideways. This never happened and because of the design of the long t bar handle and rounded back support babies are held in the seat very well despite the sides not being enclosed. There are definite advantages of the sides being open and it is a lot easier to bath babies in an open sided seat rather than an enclosed seat as you can get your hands in easily to wash your baby's body. I have tried a standard ring type bath seat when bathing my boys at a friend's house and I found it very awkward and took me twice as long to bath one baby. With the Aqua Pod the position of the seat allows you to easily wash your baby but because they are in a sitting position you do need to move them about slightly if you are trying to wash "bottom and bits"!
The open sided seats are advantageous over a ring as this means the seating area in the bath seat is larger. As a result your babies do not outgrow the seat as quickly as they would a ring type seat where most babies (even small ones) will have outgrown by 12 months old. My boys are very small still (the size of the average 9 month old baby at 20 months old) so it is difficult for me to judge by what age a child would outgrow the Aqua Pod seat. However when we had Mr Lools' relatives visiting they used the Aqua Pod to bath their 15 month old daughter who is very large for her age (she is wearing clothing for 2 year olds) and she still fit into the seat.
The T-bar handle is also very helpful to provide support and once my boys were fully confident at sitting up unaided (and also able to stand up) they still would hold onto the handle. I think the handle is most beneficial for times when you are washing a child's hair. My boys hate their hair washed and close their eyes and thrash their heads about as I rinse shampoo off. Having the handle to hold onto as we go through this ritual appears to make the trauma of hair washing slightly easier!
In terms of age range suitability Mothercare state from 6 months upwards. Obviously I feel most parents use their individual judgement as to when they start using this type of product and for some children it may be from 5 months old and others from 8 months. For the upper age range this will depend on the children and some children may refuse to sit in the bath seat from when they can stand up and walk and others may be happy to sit in the seat until they outgrow it. When you have two children of the same age it is definitely preferable to have them sat in the seats as it does stop them trying to climb out of the bath. My boys are 20 months old and we still are using these seats. One of my sons is happy to sit in the seat quite still and play with his bath toys the other is a little livelier and has tendencies to get up and climb about in the bath.
We probably will stop using the Aqua pod before they get to two years old as I feel they are more than capable of sitting in the bath on their own, which they do when we stay at relatives' houses and have been doing since being a year old. I do feel especially with one of my sons he has an over reliance on this seat and actually is a little nervous in the bath when he isn't sat in the seat which is a potential drawback to using the Aqua pod however my other son does not seem to suffer the same nervousness and if he isn't placed in some form on seat we find him climbing the sides of the bath whilst his brother sits very still.
Although it's a good idea I find the bath water sensor is not really very good and does not work. If the water is too hot on the star section of the bath mat "HOT" is displayed whereas if water is a suitable temperature the star image stays a block red colour. We found that the bath water is very cold if you go by the temperature gauge and my boys were actually shivering in the water as it was so cold. As a parent I am confident enough to judge the temperature of the bath water and ignore the temperature guide in order for my boys to have a comfortable temperature bath despite it indicating the water is too hot.
The Aqua Pod Duo is designed so that children can face each other and so it "encourages interaction". As a parent of babies this is a very nice concept and after speaking to a lot of other twin parents quite surprisingly as babies' twins tend not to actually look at each other. Like many of my friends' children my boys refused to give each eye contact until they were over 7 months old which just seems odd. In the seats in the Aqua pod they did tend to look at each other and play together and splash about. However siblings relationships change as they hit the toddler stage and the seats which are close and encourage interaction and contact can be a bad idea from the parent perspective. Once the boys were around 14 months old we removed the moulded seats from the rubber bath mat and placed the seats in the bath on their own. The five suction pads per seat ensure the seats are fixed down securely. This give the boys more space and placed them further away from each other so they were not close enough to fight, smack and steal toys after each other. They can still see each other but I find bathing them a lot easier as I do not have to intervene so much when they decide to have a bath time punch up!
Probably my biggest criticism of the Aqua Pod Duo is when it comes to cleaning it. With being in the bath and having so many nooks and crannies you need to ensure you dry it fully every night after bath time or clean it fully every week in order for it to remain mould free. The rubber bath mat comes away from the seats and the suction pads can be removed from the bases of the seats so you can clean them. When removing the bath mat from the bath you do need to take care as the suction pads hold it onto the bath so securely so you do need to use some force to remove but it is easier to remove the seats from the mat once they are not attached to the bath. Removing the suction pads from the seats to clean is a very fiddly job. However this is an essential job to do weekly. Mr Lools decided when it was his turn to clean the Aqua Pod two weeks in a row (when I was ill) to "just leave it" and on the third week when I came to do my regular bath time clean the base of the Aqua Pod was covered in a thick green slime and some chosen words were thrown in the direction of Mr Lools.
This has definitely been a worthwhile purchase and as a mother of twins I would definitely recommend to other parents of multiples because it is very practical and makes your bath time routine a lot easier. You can be confident that the seats provide adequate support for babies and young children in the bath giving you both hands free to bath your children.
This is not to say the product is not without fault and as a parent I have found a number of disadvantages (although they do not outweigh the advantages of the product). Cleaning it is extremely fiddly and mold does grow quickly in many of the hard to reach areas within the seat, therefore you do need to be prepared to clean regularly. If you have small babies (which twins tend to be as a large number are born prematurely) you may find the seats are initially a little too big for them. We also no longer use the mat section to hold the two seats together order to give my boys more space between them during bath time.
The Aquapod Duo is slightly more expensive than purchasing two separate bath seats or rings to use in your bath which are priced in the region of £9.99 each. However because the sides of the seat are open on the Aquapod Duo unlike bath seats and rings which are enclosed around the child it makes it a lot easier to wash your child. When you have two children to wash anything that saves time is a favoured option. Secondly because the sides are open it gives your child more space therefore lasts longer before your child outgrows the seat.
Not perfect but definitely one of the "essential" baby products that we have purchased.