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An effective cream...
Both my boys have had really bad nappy rashes with teething. Rashes that have gone beyond the bit of redness into something that looks very sore within a day, and changing nappies more often, and other creams just haven't made enough of a difference. When we apply Bepanthen the rash doesn't get worse, improves within half a day and is healed by at maximum two days even with the worst rashes. It seems quick a thick greasy cream, and I think a large part of it working is that it provides an effective barrier to prevent more toxic wee getting near the sore parts.
An ineffective packaging design...
This product comes in a tube with a screw lid. The tube seems to be some sort of metal construction that can be rolled up. Compared to other nappy creams I've used, this is the worst packaging to manage while trying to restrain a wiggly baby with one hand. The tub creams (sudocrem, cj's) are easiest, whereas this if it is unscrewed before use, still needs one hand to squeeze the tube onto the other so the cream can be applied. The tube also breaks quite easily if it is repeated bent through squeezing, or (on one occasion) if it is grabbed by a youngster to teethe on. This makes things quite a messy affair, where if you squeeze the tube it's as likely to come out the sides as it is out of the end.
A nappy care cream?...
On the side of the packaging this is described as a 'nappy care cream', well it cares for my son's bum, but my cloth nappies it certainly does not. This type of greasy cream can clog cloth nappies, reducing their absorbency and meaning they need a strip wash to clean them up, where extra detergent is added and more rinses are used to get rid of the detergent.
Overall, an essential cream to clean up rashes for us, but one only used when the worst rashes emerge due to ineffective packaging, not being good for cloth nappies, and also being one of the more expensive creams on the market.
What is it?
This is a shaped piece of rubber that suckers onto a table for children to eat off when on high hairs without a tray that push directly up to the table. It also has a rubber tray to 'catch' dropped food in. Clearing up after a baby-led weaned baby is the bane of my life, and it was hoped that this would make my life easier. It is supposedly designed to roll-up for portability out and about.
How much less cleaning does mummy have to do?
The catching tray certainly does catch some of the food, but by no means all. My perspective is that if you have to sweep the floor once (or three plus times a day as the case may be), then, the product doesn't have a big enough impact. My floor was never clear after using this product. It did nothing to prevent the side sweeps that little T often engages in towards the end of a meal hitting the floor. Even the high chair still had chunks of items wedged down the sides when little T was pushed up to the catcher tray. In my opinion this in part comes down to the wrong material. The rubber is flexible and gives when it has to contain a weight. The 'lip' at the edge purportedly to contain food is far too shallow, only a few millimetres thick, and is completely useless in preventing mess.
Can little T eat easier with the tiny diner?
In short no. The unreliable suckers, combined with the flexible rubbery material mean that the eating surface is bobbly to start. The 'lip' round the edge is too shallow for him to push the food up to get a better grasp. The suckers come unstuck while he's eating, providing distraction and further making the food difficult to grasp. He has enjoyed some second time firsts, when he's got hold of food that has fallen into the tray for a second attempt. The folds where it is designed to be folded up, never really flatten, especially as it comes already folded up.
Out and about?
I know some people will contest this, but I don't see the point to this, most places I eat out tend to have highchairs with trays fitted. I think this product is a good concept, and well implemented, it would be welcome in my house, but, to do this I think it would need to be made of rigid material and sacrifice this portability aspect.
Overall, a clever idea whose material means it doesn't work.
The grovia is. A hybrid nappy system. This means that a reusable outer shell is combined with either disposable or fabric inserts, with only the insert being changed each time. This review covers the use of the shell with the organic cotton insert. The shell I got was a bright green kiwi colour and looked very smart. It came with three sets of rise poppers which meant the size could be adjusted and had a Velcro waist to allow adjustment there. I liked that the loop part of the Velcro was coloured and fitted into the design of the nappy. I'd hoped this could be an out and about nappy like the flip where only inserts needed taking and as these inserts were slimmer would take up less space.
We only used this nappy once, which may seem like inadequate testing for a review, but when I realised the nappy was leaking after only 30 minutes, it seemed a design flaw that would nit be resolved. Little t was 5 months at the time and we were on the smallest rise setting. On removal of the nappy, the issue didn't seem to be absorbency as the insert wasn't saturated, but that due to the insert being held in place by poppers, it runched up leaving gapes at the side on the smallest setting. 30 minutes is the least amount of time we've had a reusable nappy work for. The insert was also a bit long and needed folding over at the end, though it hadn't designed to be. The outer may have been a good one size fits all, but the insert certainly wasn't! I also didn't like the mesh on the inner which prevented it being wiped between washes. It is a slim fitting nappy if only it worked!
The grovia hybrid is an expensive nappy - outers cost £12 and inners are in packs of 2 for £14. I got mine preloved (used) for £13 including an insert, and sold it on for the same amount, so it retains value well and is worth a try to see if it suits your baby.
The Bumgenius Flip system is a hybrid cloth nappy solution. It has two parts - one is the outer, and then there is a choice of three inners - a stay-dry insert, which is a complete insert, the organic insert, a flat piece of fabric that is folded into a pad to fit into the system or a disposable insert. This review will cover the outer and the stay-dry insert, both used together and other uses separately. I've used these nappies several times between my son being 4 months old and 7 months old as he is now.
The outer is made from PUL. It comes in a range of colours and more recently some designs. I like that the elastic is covered by the same fabric as the rest of the wrap as this means that it is less prone to stains than those wraps which cover the outer with a separate white fabric. I also have not had any 'wicking' around the edges where the edge takes moisture away from the insert and through providing a wet edge takes moisture onto clothes. We have used both the velcro/aplix and popper solutions and I've found a good fit with both. I do find that with use, the elastic appears to slacken a bit with usage, a problem that may be evident amongst bumgenius nappies as they sell elastic replacement kits. Other than that my wraps show no signs of wear, even though I bought them preloved (second hand). The outers have a flap at each end, which is where the insert tucks under. The rear one of these is slack due to the elastic, runching the fabric, that reduces the effectiveness of this flap, but not of the nappy questioning the need for the flap. I've tried using the outer in other circumstances. I've folded my terry squares and put a fleece liner over them and these fit in well, although the resulting nappy is a bit bulky. Over my terry squares folded into a kite or bat fold, the wrap is not roomy enough to provide fit. It does provide a reasonable fit over my little lamb and lollipop microfleece fitted wraps. This is sold as a birth to potty nappy. We started using it at 4 months where it fit on the smallest setting, which makes me doubtful that it would fit from birth, though I don't think it would last long after that. We have also used them on my 4 year old at night when an infection caused him to wet at night and got a good fit. There are three adjustments to rise/height of the nappy, and many on the waist.
The stay dry inner has several layers of microfabric topped with a layer of fleece. The fleece is non-absorbent so keeps the baby's skin dry while the microfibre is absorbent and stores the moisture. The pad folds down to fit different sizes. It's promoted as being positionable depending on the gender of your baby and where they wee, but in my experience this bit ends up under the flap so doesn't make any difference. I've also used the pads within pocket nappies successfully. I normally get 3-4 hours of absorbency out of the pad and find that now little T has more solid poo, this flicks off easily when emptying the nappy. When he was younger and poos were looser, this nappy didn't contain them and I often found they had leaked onto his clothes. These inners fold down small, so are good for out and about. I can easily fit one of these a couple of wipes and a small wetbag inside my handbag taking up much less space than their disposable counterparts if I want something quick for out and about which I think is the nappy's real advantage. You only need to change the inner unless poo is on the outer, so it really cuts down on how much you have to carry.
Overall, this is a great out and about nappy, but is let down by poor poo containment for younger baby's poos.
With my first son, we gave up on cloth at night quite early on, we got too many leaks and struggled to find the right combination. This time I'm more determined to get things working and heard a rumour on a forum of a ridiculously good offer on Little Lamb bamboo nappies (if you go to their facebook page and find the link to the secret page you may be able to nab them too), so with that and a recommendation from my niece, we were off. We have used these from about 3 months to 5 months so far and have been using the size 1 system.
Little Lamb sent my nappies free of charge via a courier which is amazing considering the price I got the nappies for. The nappies are gorgeous and fluffy and soft straight out of the box but the instructions warned me to prewash plenty before use. The washes meant the lovely, fluffy softness went unfortunately. Drying them away from radiators/by our rayburn made them harder, avoiding these increases softness, and I've heard they come out very soft from a tumble dryer, though I've got no direct experience.
So tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for you to dry
I was worried with the early washes. After each prewash, it took up to 3 days for them to dry. As things progressed though, drying time improved, though it's still at least 36 hours drying time unless exceptionally good conditions. Slower drying times mean more nappies needed and would put me off using these full time.
But the absorbency is a good thing
The slow drying time is because bamboo is very absorbent, and this becomes a plus when the nappy is on. Our nighttime success comes from using the booster included with the nappy (attached in size 2), another doubled in half for a boy at the front and a bamboo booster between the nappy and the wrap. With this we get through a 14 hour stretch with some dry nappy to 'spare'. This combo is significantly less bulky than other combinations that I've tried. Without all the boosting, I find it a slim-fitting day option, almost as slim as pocket nappies, but more absorbent. The fitting has contained some quite explosive poos well and there are no parts where it has dug into my son's skin.
Though I'm glad I got that offer
...because this could be expensive to set up. These are two part nappies so need a separate wrap (we use smartipants smartfit covers), and can cost 9 pounds each without the offer, combined with needing extras for the drying time this could work out expensive. They are a sized nappy meaning more need to be purchased as your baby grows, adding another expense. My son is now 5 months and quite small for his age and the size 1s are still a good fit, though I doubt they'll last to 9 months/20lbs.
My Smartipants were an impulse buy. Fill Your Pants have a 'pre-loved' section where they sell off nappies that have been out on their trial, returned, cleaned up really nice but are a bit reduced. I spotted a Smartipants nappy in there for just a tenner instead of the normal retail of 13.50 and decided to give it a try, especially since I love the smartfit covers soan much. It's a pocket nappy, where there is a waterproof outer with a pocket on it and a separate microfibre insert that goes inside for the absorbent bit. They come in a wide range of colours for the shell. the inside and insert is white, but there's no white trim like the smartfit covers that could get easily stained.
We can get quite a good fit with these, and they pass the 3 year old test of a try-on of my older son so would fit a range of sizes. T has worn these so far between the ages of 2 months and 5 months. However, they only have 2 sets of rise snaps which gives less adjustability than the smartfit cover. There are lots of poppers round the waist to adjust waist size and two horizontally aligned snaps so you don't get a flappy bit likely to cause droop which could cause leaks at the side. However, they don't feature 'hip snaps' which further snug the fit. Once assembled, they go on as easily as a disposable, so fine for out and about.
We have consistently got 3-4 hours out of these nappies. Once he fell asleep wearing it and slept through a change time, and though I was slightly worried about it we had no leaks at 5 hours. The 'suede' style inner was dry and so was his bum. We've had loose breastfed poos in these with no leaks. The sleeve where inserts go is quite narrow and doesn't leave much room for boosting. I wouldn't attempt to use these overnight.
One of smartipants's unique selling points is the pocket opens at both ends creating a 'sleeve'. This means that when you remove the nappy, you can put it straight in the wash without having to remove the inserts and the insert comes out in the wash for easy drying. Saves maybe a few seconds if that, but does save a bit from getting hands dirtier if the nappy is dirty. This is one of the quickest drying pocket nappies we've got - the outer comes out of the wash almost dry, and the inner is dry in 4-5 hours out on the line or by our rayburn. Smartipants claim to have a 'poo resistant' inner to prevent stains. Our breastfeed poos have left marks that have remained after a wash at 30/40. They come out after one or two washes, but it does cast doubt on this claim.
A convenient and efficient nappy for part of your stash for daytime use.
I got a ones and twos nappy because the pretty picture on the fill your pants page kept catching my eye. Little T was between 4 and 5 months when we've tried using it. New, it certainly is a stunning nappy with a bold main colour and bright white velcro, though the velcro soon fades to grey after a couple of washes. The nappy is a bit of an oddity in that it is marketed as an all in one nappy and has a soaker pad sewn into it, but also comes with an 'optional' booster with the inside sewn so it has a pocket, though the optional booster doesn't fit into it. All in one nappies are supposed to be all inclusive often with boosters that flap out for quick drying, so this doesn't quite fit into any category.
Whether it fits into a category or not is neither here or there though. The only issue I can think of is that it doesn't come in just one part to make it easy to transport to childcare and for childcare to use. Once it was on, it still looked good, a slim fit, tailored by four sets of rise poppers to get it just right, and the sewn in pad doesn't extend to the front of the nappy so there are no bulky waistbands (though this isn't so great for boys who wee mostly at the front). However poppering it in and out I do wonder if 'one size fits most' would fit larger babies or older toddlers. Poppered down small it looks teeny, I'm sure it would provide a good fit on newborns, where often newborns end up in expensive short lived nappies maybe this nappy could provide an alternative. The velcro is incredibly sticky and has smooth rather than prickly velcro on the tabs. There are laundry tabs to stop the velcro snagging in the wash.
2 hours later and little T is sitting on my lap while we have dinner and my trousers start to feel damp. Not a TENA moment, but on quick inspection reveals a wet baby's bum, wet sleepsuit, bodysuit, an outside of the nappy. Inside it's sopping, and this was with the 'optional' booster (positioned at the front to make up for the lack of 'boy' padding)- I can't imagine what would have happened without.
OK, so I give it the benefit of the doubt, nappies often increase absorbency from more 'pre-washes', so I bundle it through the machine a couple of times, each time waiting the 2 days it takes for the main part of the nappy to dry over my rayburn or on the line before washing again (this is long relative to my other nappies but I can't compare it to other all in ones). Repeat use, same thing happens, at 2 hours we've got leaks. In the interests of reviewing I've battled on through another 5 attempts, but have never got more than 5 minutes past 2 hours before poor little T is sodden.
So, why does this disappoint me? Well, compared to my Tiny Nippers cheap nappies with a charcoal bamboo insert, my good old fashioned terries, my smartipants, my flips with stay dry inserts, all of which I can get through 4 hours between changes without being soaked or leaking, this is relatively poor. I can;t figure out if it's down to a narrow gusset and a fit issue, or whether the pads just aren't absorbent enough.
I so wanted to love this beautiful nappy, but can't change clothes every change. Maybe it would have been better when he was just born.
These are two sheets of knitted bamboo sewn together. Bamboo is an incredibly absorbent material, so even these tiny sheets can make a good difference to how long a nappy will last between changes. Little Lamb knit the bamboo into the boosters rather than weave it which prevents it from shrinking, and I can confirm with the plethora of liners I've accumulated that this hasn't happened at all. I have been using mine for 5 months now and although they are definitely showing signs of wear, the most noticeable being the gorgeous softness when they arrive disappearing after the first few of the 6 prewashes recommended to reach full absorbency, though they don't become stiff rough or hard (and several of mine have a pink tinge due to my husband washing his non-colour safe red shirt with them). I habe found that stains do slowly come out in the wash or with a bit of sun. The thin two layer design has two main advantages for me - one is that although it is bamboo which is notoriously slow drying, it dries within a day by our rayburn or outside in a breeze or sunshine; the second is that it folds easily without adding bulk. This means I can add absorbency where I need it - having a boy, it's good to be able to boost at the front Especially in pocket nappies I find that I cam get leaks when the insert isn't wet it's length due to the wee all landing at the front.
With my first son we abandoned using cloth nappies overnight quite early on due to leaks. Discovering this product has meant that we've been able to keep going, though we now use three overnight - one inside the nappy the length of it, one folded at the front inside the nappy, and one between the nappy and the wrap, we can get up to 14 hours of overnight dryness with this combination and the little lamb bamboo fitted nappy. I have also used them as inserts inside a cheap Tiny Nippers pocket nappy. I put two the length of the nappy and one folded in half at the front, this creates a very slim nappy which will last 4 hours but dries very quickly in it's component parts. I think it can be added to most nappy systems easily, though if it was placed into a fitted or all in one it would need a liner over it as it isn't dry to stay against baby's skin.
Despite being from a known brand and in my opinion being one of the best on the market, these boosters are also one of the cheapest - it's 5 for 7 pounds or 10 for 12 pounds, working out at 1.20 a booster. I've seen them sell for 50p-75p pre-loved (used) so it's possible to pick up a bargain, or to regain a large amount of your investment in them back after use.
OK, everybody march, let's do this!
Most new mum's have a desire to lose a bit of weight and regain fitness after the birth, and I was no exception. However being short on time, I was attracted to this DVD with it's variable length routines to fit into my day. I picked it up for 4 pounds at Morrisons, it seems to fit into a budget range of dvds they sell.
The DVD contains an introduction, and four workouts - 5, 10, 15 and 20 minutes long so you can select a workout to fit into your time available. There is a function to play workouts out of order, in an order you desire if you wanted to say do the 10 then the 5 instead of the 15 one.
A cardio workout?
This is where I feel this DVD excels. I consider myself, even post-pregnancy to have a reasonable level of fitness, when pregnant I was swimming regularly. These workouts consistently put me into a good aerobic level of work - where I was slightly breathless but could just about hold a conversation (normally with my husband who was supportively issuing sarcastic comments to try and put me off). However, as I feel I have a reasonable level of fitness at the start, this may make these routines a bit intense for people who are starting out in terms of developing fitness.
A toning workout?
There are several times in most of the routines you are asked to perform squats as part of the moves. These would help tone the thigh area. Apart from this, reminders to 'keep those arms strong' or 'hold those tummies in' are all you get that may assist in toning. It really isn't the focus of the routines, though this isn't clearly stated on the packaging.
A super-cool street dancer?
Maybe not, the choreography is definitely more aerobics than breakdance (no floor moves required!), but does appear cooler than your average fitness dvd to me (at least when the instructor does it, I've no idea what I look like!). I found the choreography enjoyable, and more interesting and challenging than other fitness dvds I've done, especially when the moves are done at full speed.
The instructor is slightly distractingly thin, which could be off-putting if you're just starting a weight loss battle. She presents the video alone, which means that when the pace increases, there isn't an option to 'follow Jane at the back who'll continue the moves half time' like I've seen in other videos. Again this reduces it's appeal for others early in their workout journey. The instructor gives the instructions as she does the moves, which for the first few times you do it is distracting as you can't keep time and end up tripping over your own feet. Once you've done it a few times and you don't need the instruction and use it as a prompt this is less of an issue. My husband describes the trousers that the instructor wears in some of the workouts as 'distracting' as they have a sort of fabric flap that ties them together at the front!
These are very short, presumably to fit with the time constraints of the video. They do include a heart-raising warm-up and stretches which cover most muscle groups, but I often supplement with my own stretches to extend those provided at the end of the session. If you're combining the routines using the programming function on the dvd, there is no option to exclude these warm-up/warm-down sections so it has to be repeated which can be irritating if you want to do a 15 and 5 minute routines you'd warm down and stretch between the routines unless you fast forwarded.
The soundtrack is upbeat dancey style rhythm but nobody you've heard of, just something to go along to. I think this is quite standard of workout dvds in my experience.
The morning after
Following these workouts I consistently woke with aches, unfortunately these weren't in my muscles telling me I'd worked well, or even not warmed down properly, they were in my knees, which as joints aren't supposed to be suffering. I think this is down to the quick deep squats and once I amended my moves so they were shallower than demonstrated I no longer had this problem.
Keep it up?
I'll certainly return to these routines, it's a good dvd to pop into and I'll return to it when the weather worsens and outdoor exercise isn't as appealing (probably Tuesday looking at the forecast!). I liked the dvd's different length routine formats and would certainly buy more in the series.
and breathe ... and stretch... you did great!
We've been using the Babysafe SHR II for just iver 4 months now, since my son was newborn. It's fitted into my Skoda Fabia 2002 version on a rear seat using the Britax isofix base. We chose this seat on account of it's good Which rating and our previous good experience with a Britax Safefit with my older son. We bought the seat in a Billy colour which is a dark checked colour, not ideal for concealing babysick, but was on offer and cleans up nicely.
The seat is sturdy and appears strong and well built. There's a clip on the side for added side impact D-SIP protection. The seat is heavy but carriable. I carried T in it once as a 1 month old but now would struggle and he's a small baby - mostly I put him in the sling if I need to carry it. It stays in our car most of the time and only comes out if I go to the dentist and need to take him in with me.
The seat is supposed to be adjustable so that the seat becomes flatter for smaller babies and becomes more of a sitting position for older babies. On the floor in my dining room this appears to work great, with a simple one-handed adjustment by bringing the backrest forward. In my car, it's really quite upright in the flat position. I don't know if this is added to by the base, but it certainly wouldn't be flat with the seat's slope even if without the base. When he was tiny I often found he'd loll forwards in the seat, so his head was outside the protection of the seat sides, and I think the seat angle was a contributing factor in this. It has improved as his neck strength has improved, but on the rare occasions he sleeps in the car, it can still be an issue. My niece also has this car seat for her little girl and has told me that she doesn't have this problem in her car, but does in her mother's. To me, it seems to be compatibility issue that needs checking out rather than a generic fault, though it is very much a problem for us.
Adjusting the seat belts is easy, height can be adjusted by moving the back rest, slackness by pressing a button at thr front. The seatbelts join together before clipping into the bracket which is easy to do, but not a one-handed job. Unlike other seats we've had from Britax, there is no fabric protector behind the seatbelt clips. This has meant skin has been caught on one occasion drawing blood. It's a complete puzzle why there isn't anything to protect there.
Our only other minor complaint is the sunshade frequently comes undone. It's good at blocking light but does seem a little flimsy when moved about, and it detaches too easily from the car seat.
Overall, this may be a very strong car seat, but it isn't as effective in my car.
Last week we walked to the library for storytime. It's a couple of miles and I had about 6kg of baby in a sling and 13kg of pre-schooler in a pushchair. I said that B could only pick three books to take home. Having duly selected his three books he then produces this one and asks for it as well. I said he could have it if he gave me a good reason and he replied with 'it's got a zoo and animals and books!' so it came home with us.
The story is about Molly McGrew, a mobile librarian who takes her mobile library into the zoo and creates an enthusiasm for reading and writing amongst the animals. It is a rhyming poem.
It was stored with the preschooler books in the library and it's layout and topic seem suited to that age. However, I found some of the language too complex for B. The scorpion's stinging reviews on the other insect's haikus were completely lost on him. Similarly, many of the references to books - Crictor, Nancy Drew and Harry Potter are outside the reading habits of age range the book is written for.
Despite this, B has loved the book and requested it over and over again. The detailed pictures provide plenty of opportunity for discussion, and the reader can hypothesise what sort of book different animals would be interested in and why, or who would write the best stories. It has stimulated lots of discussion outside the book about animals, and some of the unfamiliar animals in the text were found on the internet and then compared to our guesses from the illustrations. B spontaneously converted his bunk bed into a mobile library after reading this and the play over the weeks that followed mean that Marple horse, Evvidy elephant, Baa lamb and numerous other cuddly toys have been selected reading material from his shelves.
Overall it's a book that has stimulated a lot of thought and creativity in our household, it is just a shame that the majority of reading suggestions are outside the age range of the main readers.
We got given this giraffe for Christmas for T. He was about 5 weeks when we got it and he's now 4 months. The giraffe has a velour type body with a plain fabric checked black and white underside to it's tummy. Black and white is supposed to be appealing to young babies, though this aspect has never particularly interested mine. There are four legs which sort of stretch a little bit and are in different bright coloured fabrics. Each of the feet has shiny, smooth fabric on it and a different sound, one shakes (sounds like small beads), one has a bell, one is crinkle and the other has a squeaker. The giraffe has two antenna and a tail that are knotted velour fabric and the small ears have a crinkle texture. There are two plastic loops round the neck in different textures. There is a plastic loop on the back which can be used to clip the toy to babygyms/pushchairs etc. Tiny little rainbows of ribbons make a mane on the neck and around the hooves. The toy is advertised as being suitable from birth.
What do I think?
The toy has remained intact and reasonably clean across use. It wipes down easily. I think little T will get more out of it when he is older and better able to manipulate it in his hands. The stretchy legs aren't stretchy enough to be interesting, and the only result is that the legs poke out at weird angles. The small ribbons around the neck really only provde decoration, larger ribbons like taggies style would be more interesting. The toy is a bit long for being a hanging toy where it's main use is in the early months.
How did little T play with it?
5 weeks - 2 months
Little T mostly enjoyed batting this as a hanging toy in the early months. It had to be positioned at his side due to the length of the legs. I think he was attracted by the bright colours, but the different jangling sounds that occurred when he hit it was a definite plus at this stage.
Little T can just about manage to manipulate the toy at this age. He can't grasp any part apart from the hanging hoop, and struggles to hold it for long - ossibly due to it's size. He seems especially pleased when he gets a foot or the antenna into his mouth to suck or chew.
Little T can now manage to grasp the legs to help him suck the hooves or shake to hear the jangle. He has shown no interest so far in the ribbons on the neck or the checked underside. He can't manage the squeaker himself but always looks interested when it is squeaked for him. He has a coule of times grasped the hoops on the neck but can't manage to let go due to the small gap between the hoops and the neck underneath, so needs help, although it doesn't hurt him.
With or without adult support, this toy holds little T's interest for 2 minutes to a maximum of 3 minutes.. Overall it isn't a bad toy to have in your collection, but it isn't a must have or anything special either.
We bought the Leka Baby gym on a recent trip to Ikea to get an antilop high chair. We were attracted to this gym because of the wooden natural look and the price - at 19.99 it's cheaper than many other baby gyms. The gym is not available online so is only available in Ikea stores, this may be an advantage if you enjoy shopping at ikea but the long trek round loads of things we weren't interested in with two small children makes it a disadvantage to us. We have had this product for 2 1/2 months - from when little T was about 5 weeks til now when he is almost 4 months.
What Is It
The baby gym consists of a wooden frame with two supporting legs. The frame has three slots in it where three toys fit through - one is a plastic shell castanet, one is a hoop with two discs above it, the other is a larger disc with three smaller discs hanging from it. At the sides are two plastic shapes with designs on them which can be spun.
Putting it together
This was very straightforward - attach the support legs with four screws and slot the toys through the top.
How has little T played with it?
5 - 6 weeks
Little T could not reach the toys which hung down when we initially got this product. He did enjoy watching the large disc being spun round and other objects being knocked back and forwards. Free time for mummy - none Little T could not play alone with this
7 - 8 weeks
Little T was attempting to reach the toys but couldn't and was getting frustrated. We put him on a piillow to raise him up so he could reach, but being on the pillow meant he required constant supervision so still no free time for mummy. Little T did occasionally spin the side objects in his excitement, but this was accidental and he never noticed to watch the objects.
Little T can now reach the toys from the mat we put underneath the arch and bat them back and forwards. Mummy earns 5 minutes of free time per play and can at least get some of the veg peeled.
(nearly) 4 months
Little T can now purposely spin the side objects and watch the results. He can also grasp the hoop of the hanging toys, but sometimes doesn't let go and gets frustrated. Mummy can now get 10 minutes of free time per play if T is in a good mood.
How does it compare?
We encounter various other baby gyms at playgroups and baby sensory - Little T seems to prefer other gyms, especially those with brighter colours or that make a noise. The slot system seems to lend itself to swopping for variety, but only the order can be swopped - it would be great if Ikea could make an upgrade set with more toys to rotate - maybe different colourways or that make a range of sounds.
How does it help baby's development?
The gym is good for encouraging hand eye co-ordination and developing reaching and grabbing skills. Although the objects at the side encourage baby to reach sideways, the frame is too narrow for baby rehearse rolling under it, another skill young babies are developing.
Any other comments?
- the slot system is a bit too easy for my 3.5 year old to use - result bewildered baby with no toys and wildly laughing preschooler.
- the gym has been used on a stone floor in our house, and the paint on the supports has flaked.
- the gym doesn't include a playmat - this is a disadvantage as you need to find something to put under it, but does mean easy storage without assembly unassembly.
- the slot system means that other toys cannot be easily added where they have loops for this purpose.
When I had my first child, our car didn't have Isofix, and by the time we got my car (2002 Skoda Fabia) my son was too old for infant carriers, though we were very pleased with the Britax Safefix seat we got for him. So when this bundle was on the way, again we looked to Britax, and our previous experience, along with a positive score on Which tests guided me to the Britax Babysafe SHR II and Isofix base. It wasn't my ideal choice, because I can't see how a seat that clicks into a base can be as safe as a seat which attaches directly into the car by isofix, but when I took other factirs into consideration, I still decided on this.
The Britax site informed me that this seat and base was approved for my car for added reassurance. I purchased the seat from Halfords who had a promotion at the time where two seats could be purchased for a reduced rate when purchased together, and the website allowed me to count the base and seat as two separate seats.
I found it slightly awkward to install the base into my car, it didn't slot in as straightforwardly as the Safefix seat I had for my son. The floor leg had plenty of adjustability to ensure a good fit, and the seat came with seat protectors/guides which are plastic shapes which clip onto the isofix bar in the car to prevent the seat ripping and make it easier to install the base. I was disappointed that there wasn't a clear visual indicator that the isofix had clicked in correctly.
Installing the seat was straighhtforward, align and click in. Again I'd have liked a visual indicator to assure me that it was in place. The base has clips that click around bars in the seat. Removing the seat is via a button on the front of the base. I'm sure it's thoroughly tested, but it did concern me slightly that this was at the front of the base - if my seat was forced back in a crash, would it release the baby seat from the base? This was different in my son's safefix seat where two buttons needed to be simulataneously pressed to release the seat.
I don't know whether it was the base or the seat but the seated angle of my son was steep when installed in my car, and as a newborn I frequently found him slumped forward after a journey. Considering the combination had been supposedly approved for my car by Britax and fit checked when purchased I found this disappointing.
The flap which fits up against the back of the car seat has instructions printed on it. My son finds these fascinating and frequently stares at them during the journey.
Another review has suggested a limitation of this base is that it is specific to the infant carrier - combined it certainly does make a large investment in terms of cost, but with Britax the seats for older children include the isofix integrated into the seat so don't require a separate base.
Although many of my complaints about this product are specific to my car, or I'm unsure whether the problem rests in the seat or base, I don't find this product combination reassuring, and wouldn't purchase if I was to make the choice again.
We held off buying a buggy for a long time - I prefer to carry little ones in a wrap, but when my first son was 2, there started to be some times when it seemed like a buggy would help. Then one day we'd parked on the Pavilion Garden's car park in Buxton and had walked over to shop in the main shopping area - a short walk if you're not carrying a toddler. My husband suggested we needed some shopping from Waitrose, and I pointed out that our chances of getting back to the car with what we'd got and our son and some supermarket shopping were limited and I insisted we finally got a buggy. Argos was the only place that end of Buxton that sold buggys at the time so that was where we headed. We have been using our Pipi since then, a period of approximately 18 months.
We purchased the Pipi because it was reduced and seemed to have a lot of features for the money. Argos seem to often have Pipis at 49.99 reduced from a retail price of 69.99 in previous year's colours.
The Pipi has an umbrella fold that folds it down quite small. It fits in the back of our Landrover whether folded or not, but to be honest, I doubt there's a buggy on the market that wouldn't fit in there. It also fits in the back of my Skoda Fabia (02 version) diagonally across the boot, but it's a bit of a tight fit. It doesn't fit if I leave the hood on, but I found that folding with the hood on meant the hood developed a slightly warped appearance anyway. The shopping basket is small but can fit in heavy items like a bottle of milk etc and then lighter items can be hung from the handles.
Use and comfort
The wheels have a swivel feature for steering that can be turned off. I found the swivel feature made it hard to steer, especially at speed. Within a couple of weeks we had given up on it and permanently turned it off. The handles were comfortable to use with adequate padding that hadn't retained dents in it or lost padding with use. They can feel a bit sticky in hot weather. When I've got my second son in the sling I sometimes wish it was a bit more pushable with one hand, but I realise that if it had a single bar rather than two handles it would not fold down so compact. My first son who mostly uses it would sleep in it when he was younger if we used it on tarmac (but not on our farm track lol!). I found I felt every tiny vibration through the handles, but again if it was better at absorbing vibrations it would have bigger wheels and not be so compact or cheap. The back rest lies almost flat and I can adjust this down (but not up, that needs two hands). I can fold the buggy with one hand and my baby in his sling, though it often requires a bit of jiggling. The buggy is allegedly suitable from newborn, but I wouldn't put the 3 month old soundly sleeping in my other arm while I write this in it, mostly because if the vibrations coming up through it.
Over the 18 months our Pipi is still fully functional. It has been stored in mostly car boots, with the odd bit in our open-ended shed come outbuilding. It has been used mostly local to where I live with frequent journeys up and down the bumpy pot-holed farm track we live down, so it's certainly been bashed around a bit! We have no problems folding or unfolding it or using it. The colour we purchased was a pale blue with coloured circles on it. This hasn't faired so well, showing dirt very obviously and not washing very well, though current colour choices may be better, and in fairness it was obvious that it wasn't a practical colour when we purchased it, so it serves us right and I have no point to moan. The only part that is showing wear is the shopping basket where the fabric round the sides has been stretched and is obviously worn, though it is still functional. My first son is now rising 4 and still just about fits it, but his head is near the top of the backrest and he is small for his age.
I would recommend it for people looking for a cheap, compact durable buggy. More suitable for a second buggy rather than from birth as it is advertised.