“ Brand: Lamaze „
I keep meaning to review this toy and never seem to get round to it. It is such a lovely toy which my little baby really seems to love as does her older sister! It was bought for her by a friend when she was born and now comes with us to places in my changing bag. I have quite a few Lamaze toys which I had for both Millie and now Sophie and I think they are all lovely. They are very baby-oriented and help to improve their senses even from a very young age. This Panda is very simple and very lovely.
This is a panda's head on the top of a stick with little arms on it too. That sounds a bit odd and I suppose it actually is really but that doesn't stop a little baby from getting lots of enjoyment and entertainment out of this toy. The panda is a soft toy which is really friendly looking with big eyes and a nice smile. Because he is a panda he is black and white and I have been told by someone that new babies cannot distinguish different colours and shades so high contrast colours are best for babies so I expect that is why there are quite a lot of black and white toys and books available now. The stick is green and a little bit squashable. It crinkles and also inside the stick is the squeaker. It is lovely looking and not too big so I take this with us so that when I have to change a nappy I can give it to Sophie to hold and entertain herself with whilst I change her.
Can a baby play with it?
At first Sophie couldn't interact with this as she was too tiny but she would look at it and when I squeaked it it would get her attention. Millie spent a lot of time squeaking it and trying to get her sister's attention so it was nice a way for them to spend time together like this. Once Sophia became a bit bigger she likes to try to get hold of this. The only problem is that the stick is quite thick so it was hard for her to get her hands around it properly but she would grab hold of the arms and give it a good chew. She now can hold it herself and although you don't have to press too hard to make it squeak she struggles with this sometimes but when she does manage to get it to squeak she looks so delighted with herself and giggles away! It does get her attention and she does enjoy holding it, trying to squeak it and often giving it a chew too.
Is it practical?
There are lots of toys on the market for babies but a lot of them are plastic and this isn't really ideal for a tiny baby as they can hurt themselves on it but this is completely soft so she can have this with her and I don't have to worry that she will roll on top of it or bash herself on the head with it. Because it's soft it is really perfect for a baby. However, because it is soft it also means it's not that easy to clean, lots of drool and bits of milk have ended up on this making it a bit soggy. We have dried it with a hair dryer and on a radiator a few times and it looks OK but still a little stained but I suppose that is what you expect from a soft toy. The stick is a little too wide, perhaps if it was a little thinner it would have been better so Sophie could have held it sooner. The size of the toy as a whole is fine, big enough to get her attention and to give her a large area to focus on but not so big that it's too heavy for her to hold herself.
I have always thought that Lamaze toys are special. They seem to take a lot of care in designing their toys so that they will be suitable for new babies and help them to learn about textures, noises and so forth. This toy has been just as good as the other ones that we have and I am happy with it and glad I was bought it for Sophie. We enjoy using the squeak to get her attention and make her jump too which makes her giggle. It's nice watching her trying to make it squeak herself and seeing the delight on her face that it creates when she does enable it to make the noise. It is a little difficult for her to do herself yet but she is developing all the time and it's so sweet to see her improving with things, I know before I know it she'll be able to press this herself easily. It does seem to be well thought out. A friend of mine said it looked weird and I suppose it does as it is a head on a stick but that doesn't matter to a baby. The high contrast colours has grabbed Sophie's attention from very early on and she seems to really like this toy. I am happy with it, it's nice when a toy can stop a baby from crying and this one does just that.
Despite Jayden only being just over 7 months old he has already managed to get quite a large collection of various toys. He has quite a few smaller toys which are ideal for taking out and about with him and also for him to play with in his highchair. One of these smaller toys is the Lamaze Bend and Squeak Panda, I purchased this one day when we were out shopping when Jayden was several months younger, personally I thought it was quite cute and it was an ideal toy for little hands to grip and hold.
The Lamaze Bend and Squeak Panda doesn't come with any real packaging other than a thick card which has the name of the product on it, the panda is attached to this with plastic ties which can easily be removed with scissors, all of this packaging especially the small plastic ties should be fully removed before giving the toy to your baby.
I actually picked up the Lamaze Bend and Squeak Panda as I was curious as to what it did as it looks a bit different to the normal rattle or squeaky toys you can buy for baby. It really is quite basic and consists of a green tube which is soft and squashy, it has been stuffed to make it squeezable and so that when squeezed it springs back into shape, this tube also has a pattern on it in a greeny brown colour.
On the top of this is a large chunky panda head and two arms just underneath it, the green tube acts almost as the pandas body, the panda has a friendly face with black ears and black patches around his eyes making him appear friendly to children. All of the features (eyes, ears, nose and mouth) are all stitched on the white face making it safe for young children/ babies as there is nothing they can pull off and swallow, the two arms just underneath the head are also stuffed but this time with a crinkly material that makes a noise when it is pressed.
On the bottom of the tube is a small white badge with the name Lamaze on it in black and underlined with multicolour squares, there is also a small label at the back of the head which contains all of the care instructions. The head and arms of the Lamaze Bend and Squeak Panda are made from a slightly furry material which contrasts the more smooth material of the tube, this makes it more interesting for babies to feel. Inside the green tube is a squeaker which makes a noise as it is pressed/ squeezed by your baby, this tube can also be twisted and bent in all directions as your baby plays and still goes back to the same shape as it started.
The care instructions for this product are on a small label on the back as I have mentioned and this includes how to wash it, this product can only be washed by hand. Personally I find that as the head of the panda is white, this toy does get quite dirty quickly especially when Jayden is playing on the floor with it or dropping it over the edge of his highchair so it would be handy if you could wash it in the washing machine. You cannot tumble dry this item either so you literally have to wash it by hand and leave it to dry naturally.
I purchased our Lamaze Bend and Squeak Panda from Debenhams, however it is also available from other stores which sell Lamaze products, I have also seen it available online from sites such as Amazon and various baby sites. I paid just under £5.00 for this product and this seems to be pretty average compared to other places it is sold, although the price does vary a little however this is by pence.
When I purchased it I did think it was a bit expensive for what you got as the toy didn't actually do anything fancy, however after the amount of fun Jayden has had with this I would now say that it is definitely worth the money.
The Lamaze Bend and Squeak Panda is described at being suitable for a baby around 3 months plus and is ideal for both boys and girls. I would agree with this as there are no small parts to the toy which could be swallowed and cause a choking hazard, it is definitely safe for your baby to play with from a young age.
Jayden has had his Lamaze Bend and Squeak Panda for a few months now as he was quite young when I purchased it for him and he absolutely loves it. To start with he did struggle to hold it and couldn't really make it squeak, we had to do that for him, however now he is older and a little more co-ordinated he can easily hold the panda and also make it squeak by squeezing the tube underneath the head. He will often play with this when he is sitting in his chair or highchair and it is also small enough and light enough for him to take out with him, this is one of his toys that he will often take when we go round my parents house.
If Jayden is a bit upset I know that by holding up the Bend and Squeak Panda and making it squeak will cheer him up, he gives a massive smile and it and holds out his hands for me to pass it to him, he really does love this toy, although it is basic he has had a lot of fun with it, he likes to feel the contrast of materials and bend it around so that it springs back into shape, it has also been well chewed, which isn't ideal as being made from fabric it does get a bit soggy at times, however in my opinion it was definitely worth the money and an item I would highly recommend.