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Sleek round-based jug-shape kettle ( H27 x Dia.23cm) available in a range of colours (see below) with a stainless steel finish. With it's retro styling, John Lewis replaced our malfunctioning Breville with this kettle (we weren't given any choice....) presumably for it's 1950s ish looks (it's mounted by a traditional tea-pot shaped lid, but is more contemporary than the equivalent Breville offerings).
Circular black base conceals a 50cm long power cable - quite sufficient for most kitchens - and allows 360 degree rotation for ease of placement. A limescale filter is concealed within the 'spout' and can be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher when necessary. Fast boiling - less than 1 minute for the water for two mugs of tea (3000W; it's capacity is for 1.7L - around 6 mugs).
One of the bemusing things about this kettle is the variability in price between what essentially appear just to be different coloured kettles (although they all seem to have slightly different model numbers - the functionality is identical). At one department store the following prices apply: Aubergine (£69.95), Pearl White (£68.45), Red (£63), Black (£63), Azure Blue (£58.95) and Silver (£59.95). White and Red variations can also be purchased in a package with a four slice toaster for £136.40 and £122.95 respectively (toasters are available separately in the other colours). A coffee maker is also available in these colourways.
Fantastic, efficient quick-boil kettle. Several very useful features - including a 'maximum' line inside the kettle which you can see whilst fitting (though admittedly this might not be necessary had the external numbers been slightly more visible. The 'easy grip' handle feels very secure and is positioned in such a way as to avoid steam-related scalding when pouring (unlike my Breville kettle) however the lid does get very hot: less than ideal if you need to refill shortly after boiling.
Coming in Kiehl's typically medicinial packaging (I'm a bit suspicious about this, since while it has created a 'brand' it's rather unattractive and presumably cheap - but more on this later) this moisturisers provides gentle everyday moisturising for the cash-rich.
Whilst on the subject of the packaging, I AM a fan of Kiehl's frequent offers where if you take a set number of their empty packaging back (usually 5/6) you get money off future purchases. This, I like, since it not only incentivises the consumer but is environmentally friendly.
£35/ 250ml; £23.50/ 125ml; £20/ 75ml (tinted); £25.50/ 75ml (SPF 15) - expensive for an everyday moisturiser but my large bottle is still going strong (in mid November) from last April and will probably last until it's expiry. This is, perhaps an issue (and a reason to buy a smaller bottle despite it being proportionately more expensive) as if you do adhere strictly to the expiry date then you're likely to end up with 1/4 of a bottle left, despite it's use twice a day. So the message is: the large bottle is probably only good where there are several of you using it in a household. (Only a 5p sized blob is necessary for each application)
CLAIMS and FUNCTIONALITY:
Back to the subject of the 'medicinal' branding. Two aspects of this are particularly good - the lack of fragrance and the presence of emollients (which are found in wash-products for people with various skin conditions) derived from olives means that it's perfect for she (or he!) with sensitive skin (particularly normal/dry skin). Most other moisturisers sting a little on my skin when applied - but this is perfect.
Grand claims about its use by mountaineers are largely irrelevant to the standard punter (although it does seem to protect the skin on cold days) - what's important is that it absorbs easily, and provides a great base for foundations
Along with the squalane - the emollient derived from olives described earlier - oils from avocados, apricot kernels and almonds are among the active ingredients, providing moisturising properties and vitamins A and E. Panthenol, a derivative of vitamin B5 facilitates it's absorption as well as encouraging the growth of new skin cells.
Generally when buying a full-sized product Kiehls will offer you a sample or two. As well as being a nice treat, this is testament to the quality of the products - reeling you in to buy more! - particularly necessary given their lack of advertising / word of mouth policy.
Available for just under £60 this small footprint microwave (H25.8 x W43.3 x D32.7cm/ 19 litres) is perfect for the galley kitchen without compromising on space (it comfortably takes a large dinner plate).
It's slimline footprint enables this microwave to fit on even the narrowest of worktops, while the discrete silver colour doesn't compromise on style ('white' electrical products tend to get quite dirty in a way silver options don't). A glass turntable (c.25cm in diameter) is easily washable and re-fit, the black bordered glass window allows you to see what's cooking (particularly useful for liquids that tend to boil over), and a bank of electrical settings is found on the right hand side.
With a heating category of C (on an A-E scale) this isn't the most efficient of microwaves, and operates at 700W like the majority of other compact options on the market.
Settings are not particularly intuitive - possibly because of the range of options available (5 power levels: high, medium, low, warm, defrost) and nine auto programmes (curry, chinese, pasta, jacket potatoes, fresh vegetables, fresh fish, bread, meat items, meat joints). We don't use the latter - largely because I'm highly suspicuous about a product that lists generic 'chinese' food as if it always needs cooking on the same setting (albeit by weight). Time increments of 10 minutes, 1 minute and 10 seconds can be set.
Though largely without fault, we have had a few occasions when setting something to cook on the 'high' setting has had very little effect and we've ended up with cold soup. I can't quite work out whether this is because we've accidentally set the microwave to the wrong setting (fairly easy to do) or that it malfunctions occasionally.
The microwave beeps as you're putting in the settings and again when the product has finished cooking - useful if you're inclined to forget you've been cooking something (unlikely) and so quite irritating. Similarly it has a fairly loud whirring noise when cooking.
Nevertheless, all-in-all a good, cheap product that serves its purpose in a small kitchen.
These SAVED my life......
Nipple shields are the work of the devil I was constantly told before having my baby. Then, I was also told that breastfeeding would be painless and that didn't turn out to be quite the case.....
Having a big baby, in the period until my milk came in she was feeding constantly because the collostrum just wouldn't sustain here. Cue awful blisters and cracks that still haven't healed three weeks later. We also found that my daughter had a 'tongue tie' which means she struggles to latch on properly.
These were recommended at a breastfeeding clinic as the only nipple shields that should be used. The key things, apparently, are that they should be made out of very soft, thin, plastic and that the holes through which your milk passes should be large. Old style nipple protectors were very hard.... this meant that they gave the impression of a bottle teat. The small holes also meant a reduction of up to 50% in baby's feeding efficiency.
The long plastic bit should be placed parallel with your baby's lips leaving the 'cut out' bits above and below baby's mouth.... these are intended to increase the naturalness of feeding.
The main problem with these seems to be there availability. We got our initial one from the breastfeeding clinic, but given they need scolding in water after each use (though apparently not necessarily sterilising as nipples aren't sterile....) and they get dropped or hoiked off by baby this clearly wasn't enough. We had an absolute nightmare trying to get hold of more though.... these are not to be confused with the 'nipple shells' by avent which are widely available. They come in a clear plastic packet very much along the lines of those that teats come in, with a little piece of card (you want the 'standard' avent nipple shields).... eventually we resorted to Amazon where a pack of two are available for in the region of £5.
While feeding is not pain-free, I don't want to cry whenever she wakes up to feed (and no longer look like I'm about to lose a chunk of my nipple - bonus).
Coming in packs of six for around £2.49 (though their RRP is theoretically £4.99 nowhere actually seems to stock them for anywhere near that much) these spoons have a longer than average handle (supposedly to help your child grip them). Their USP is, however, their heat sensing ability: the tip changes from red to yellow when food is too hot for baby. 'Suitable from four months' and 'dishwasher safe'.
The fact that the rubberised tip of these plastic spoons changes from red (through orange) to yellow when too hot is rather counter-intuitive given that red is generally associated with heat. This may seem a minor point, but it is rather unhelpful and I've no idea why Tommee Tippee have made this oversight.....
While the spoons change colour rather quickly when the food is too hot, they take forever to change back meaning that if food is generally initially too hot you have to keep testing with a fresh spoon.... annoying
I'm also a bit irritated that these are recommended for use from four months. The current advice is that babies shouldn't be weaned until 6 months so they're most definitely not suitable for use from four months.
I also find the notion of a spoon in which the colour changes to indicate the food's heat for the parents' knowledge, combined with a long handle for the child's use, slightly bizarre. Another 2 in 1 baby product that doesn't quite work. If you're in any way uncertain about the temperature of the food you surely shouldn't be providing your child with a means of eating it.
All in all I think these are a waste of time.... maybe it didn't help that they were yet another 'helpful gift' that turned out to be less so, but IMO the best way of working out if baby's food is too hot is to taste it. And if you're not prepared to taste it you probably shouldn't be feeding it to your child!
And they are basic. Boots disposable breast pads come in packs of 80 and cost £3.99 per pack. They claim to be 'both soft and absorbent... protect[ing] your clothing from breast milk leakage and keep you feeling dry and comfortable.' This review shall comprise of an assessment of how and whether they achieve these things as well as a variety of other criteria that I consider important..
In no way are these soft. They itch, and scratch, and generally create the rather unattractive image of 'woman constantly grappling with nipples'.... I really wouldn't recommend them if only for this reason.
Around 10cm and without the sticky tab that other disposable breast pads usually have, they tend to move about alot in my bra (theoretically the bra is supposed to hold them in place.... meaning not only do you have to double layer them (see below) but also make some attempt at overlapping them. THeir size also limits their absorbency....
Meaning it's necessary to double or triple layer them if they're to last for longer than an hour. Still, you'll probably only make three per breast last around 2 hours: that's 6 pads every two hours or 48 in a day. At £4ish outlay every couple of days this sort of expenditure is bigger than my chocolate habit, without the related pleasure!
While they're not as big as nappies, disposing of this number of breast pads a day is hardly eco-friendly. Either they need to do much better on the absorbency front (on the basis they're more convenient than reusable pads) or reusable options need to be used.
The final 'con' is the fact they're sufficiently bulky to show through plain coloured (especially white) clothes. Boo!
ULTRA SLIM BREAST PADS:
These are the other option offered by Boots, and come individually wrapped in packs of 38, retailing at £3.49 - making them almost twice the price of the standard Boots pads on a price / pad basis. While they suffer on the eco front as a result of the extra packing, I found that this wrapping meant they were good to throw in the handbag as a supplementary basis (to my reusable ones). They also had a bigger diameter (15cm) than the other Boots ones making them much more absorbent, giving them more staying power, and making them less likely to end up at the opposite end of your bra to your nipple. Much softer too!
But why hasn't anyone invented a breast-pad holder/dispenser of the likes of the plastic tampon ones you can get?
Birthing balls should be slightly larger than your standard exercise ball (a woman under 5"8 should use a 65cm one, over a 75cm one - a standard 55cm exercise ball will not provide the right positioning for any woman). Available from a range of retailers for £20 or thereabouts these are a must-have (later) pregnancy and labour accessory. Do buy one with a pump - in the later stages of pregnancy you begin to lose your puff somewhat (baby takes up your lung space in a way you can't really appreciate until you've experienced it) and your added mass is likely to mean that it does gradually deflate and need re-pumping occasionally!!
It's effectively a large bouncy ball that comes in a range of colours. Its only defining features are ribbing around the ball's circumference (I think these are intended to stop it rolling around too much) and the hole and white plastic plug necessary for inflation and deflation. Generally come in a range of pastel or metallic like colours. As I've said earlier, there are two sizes, both of which are likely to be slightly bigger than your standard exercise ball.
1. HEAD DOWN BABY
The reason that these are slightly bigger than your exercise ball is that it's necessary for your bottom / hips to be elevated above your knees. This position encourages baby to get into a head-down position, as necessary for a (erm sort of) trouble free labour. Knees above hips are liable to put baby into a transverse position. I was encouraged to get a birthing ball by my midwife as I suffered from a condition that meant I had excessive amniotic fluid, making it easier for baby to float around freely (and out of position). It was crucial, to avoid me spending my last few weeks of pregnancy in hospital, for baby to get head down and engage.
To add to my range of pregnancy-related conditions I suffered from very bad sciatica and was generally unable to get comfortable in the later stages of pregnancy (something most if not all pregnant women experience). Only two things gave me any comfort: the first of these was lying in the bath / going swimming, the second was the birthing ball. Clearly the ball was much more convenient at certain points than immersing myself in water: when I wanted to watch TV for instance! If I could've slept on this I would.....
3. PAIN RELIEF
The bouncing and rocking motion provided by the ball didn't exactly get rid of labour pains, but it definitely helped me deal with the early ones much better than lying flat on my back (and again had the advantage of ensuring gravity acted on baby.
I received this lovely watch as a 21st Birthday present from my Grandparents (good taste Gran and Grandad) and it's very precious to me! It retails on the High Street and Amazon for in the region of £250.
The watch comes in a large matt black box, which slides out of a cardboard case adorned with the Armani logo. Mine also came in a lovely Armani bag - almost worth wandering the shops with to show off (unfortunately I never got that pleasure with it being a gift!). The case itself is lined in a black felty-velvet like material, all giving the impression of luxury.
This bracelet-styled watch has a face with dimensions of 2 x 3.6cm, with the strap being just under 2cm in width. Its polished stainless steel links glisten in the light and are elegant, rather than chunky (as many women's watches are these days - resembling mens watches); however there probably are too many of them. I don't have the most slender of wrists, but had to have three taken out; this is a major plus point for buying the watch from a jewelers rather than online or a department store - they'll generally do it for free....
The dial comes in champagne or black; I have the former. Numbers are present in black Roman numerals (though not 12 or 6): the Armarni logo is in the place of the 12 and the space that might have been taken up by the six is where a seperate seconds dial and hand can be found. Minute and hour hands are in elegant silver, as is the aforementioned logo. Another logo can be found engraved on the back of the dial.
The clasp style fastening, at the back of the watch, continues the elegant look of the watch but can be quite fiddly to close (though not open) - I occasionally have to get my husband to fasten it for me, which can be quite frustrating.
FUNCTIONALITY AND BATTERY LIFE:
The watch keeps time extremely well; however, I do think it's a shame that there is no date function. It is water resistant to 50m and I've had no trouble with wearing it in the course of bog-standard swimming. In the 5 years i`'ve owned this watch I've had to replace the battery probably 3 times, which isn't bad (though replacement batteries do seem to be extremely expensive).
Available for in the region of £6.99 for one 'scoop' and three bibs from the likes of Amazon, Mothercare, Toys'R'Us and Boots, the Brother Max combi bibs offer a unique solution to feeding on the go.
The idea is that the three tops all attach to the 'scoop' which catches food waste dropped in the course of feeding. They're really intended for feeding on the go, when the bib section can be folded and press-studded onto the plastic catcher to be cleaned up later.
In theory this is a great idea, in practice it is less so! Many similar solutions have hit the market recently (at least in terms of the 'food catching' idea) and in my opinion this is not the best of them.
First of all it doesn't have arms. In fact, it's only really suitable for 'feeding' your baby in the traditional way, rather than baby led weaning - in which your baby is unlikely to ensure the food dropped / thrown / spat out hits the plastic target, and it's likely to end up all over their clothes. Really, it needs more coverage.....
Secondly, the textured material really isn't great for washing purposes (although I do believe you can get replacement bibs). And while the coloured trim is lovely, it means it's not possible to bleach the bib to retain it's glowing white colour. Whilst the patterns created may lead you to think your child is going to be the next Picasso, they're also likely to mean you quickly need a new solution.
Third, the three bibs are somewhat extraneous. Once the first one has been used and folded into the scoop for cleaning later, you don't have a scoop for with the other two (unless you're prepared to sit with breakfast and lunch in their at dinner time, hardly appetising for you or baby).....
So.... price wise, they're reasonable, but the concept is probably fundamentally flawed and the bibs don't last very long because of their colour and texture.
This Children's Pocket Size SPF 50 retails at £5.99 RRP (although as with other suncream it's frequently on BOGOF offers) for a handy 50ml bottle. Pop it in your handbag, your childrens' nursery or school bags, or even your pocket to ensure you have sun protection all of the time. This bottle is the SPF 50, though it's also available in an SPF 30 version (though for any child, and especially our pale little one, I'd always use the 50).
Our family all have very sensitive pale skin that burns within 30 minutes in the sun. Often we've had issues in the past with 'forgetting' to taken sun cream with us when it was overcast (actually not wanting to be bothered carting around a large leaky bottle of cream) and then ending up scrabbling around to find some. This solves that problem, and we have numerous bottles secreted away for use at any point.
Compact, rather dumpy white bottle with the usual colourful Nivea branding and a yellow cap. The cap fits very securely meaning that there's no need to worry about leakages.
Rubs in very easily, providing you don't slather it on too liberally, avoiding white marks on skin and clothes. The only issue is that to maximise sun protection it's recommended that you reapply every thirty minutes - and after swimming - which is quite a long time to expect a small child to keep still and also means that you have to be very diligent about keep calling them back.
However, it's useful that these instructions are given as it's particularly easy to be complacent with high factor SPFs. Nivea also provide advice against letting your children go out in the sun between 12-3 and keeping babies in the shade at all times. All very sensible.
We all have very sensitive skin, with a tendency toward blocked pores and allergic reactions with other suncreams - however this has never created an issue.
When following the instructions given we haven't ever experienced problems with sunburn. I tend to use this lotion even when it's relatively dull in Summer: as a result we're all fairly pale, but don't ever burn!
Aqua, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Titanium Dioxide, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Sodium Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonate, C18-36 Acid Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Tocopheryl Acetate, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, PEG-40 Castor Oil, Trisodium EDTA, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Trimethoxycaprylysilane, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Limonene, Linalool, Geraniol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene, Carboxaldehyde, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Citral, Parfum
Hospital bag lists generally list disposable briefs as a 'must take' if you're to avoid ruining your pretty frilly knickers with the blood loss (because clearly when you're in the later stages of pregnancy what you're trying to do is seduce your husband with sexy coordinated underwear).
Boots are one of a small number of retailers (Mothercare is the only one I can immediately recall) that stock these. The Boots disposable briefs are in packs of five, in the cardboard box shown in the image (note the lack of picture - that's for a reason!) and come in three sizes: 10/12, 14/16 and 18/20, each individually wrapped (something of an eco nightmare if you ask me, given that you'd expect your hospital bag to be a pretty clean environment!). They cost £2.20.
Net-like polypropylene with an elasticated waist-band, these are unattractive BIG PANTS, supposedly coming right up to the belly button (though not, unfortunately, for the 5"11 me). The idea is that they don't rub up against a C-section scar (if you have one) and effectively encapsulate all of your left over floppy skin (nice!)
They're rather on the big side in terms of fit too, so although you don't want to buy a size that pinches, you also don't want to end up with them falling down.......!!
In short.... I wouldn't want my husband to see me in them (even by way of comparison with those I was wearing in pregnancy....).
WHAT DO I THINK?
To ensure the right fit I'd be much more inclined (next time) to buy big pants from M&S or Primark. However, you'd want to be sure that whatever you did buy were as capable of the disposables of holding a stack of maternity pads! I'd also go for dark, rather than the white colour of these: not because anyone else is going to see them, but because I don't really want to see what's coming out (so to speak).....
When you're pregnant there are a whole range of sports you're advised not to participate in. For obvious reasons contact sports are out: football, rugby, and so on. But you're also told not to do any sport that might lead you to lose your balance and fall: running, horse riding, skiing, tennis, the list is endless... This can all be a bit depressing if you're used to being active, not to mention a sure-fire way to (a) putting on lots of weight in pregnancy and (b) not being in the best possible state for childbirth.
Despite feeling hugely nauseous in my first trimester, I really wanted to find a sport that I could continue to participate in. Unfortunately my old swimming costume very rapidly became uncomfortable - more as a result of bloating than any actual bump - as well as offering a clear giveaway that I was pregnant before I wanted to announce it to the world. As my pregnancy went on I also became increasingly uncomfortable with any kind of constricting material around my stomach. If I hadn't decided to purchase a maternity costume then I would have been very reluctant to swim for these reasons. After all, everyone wants to feel good, even in pregnancy.
Long after Yoga and Pilates were no longer possible because of loss of balance and the sheer weight of my bump, swimming continued to be an effective way of exercising, supporting my weight and easing aches and pains.
I bought a simple one-piece black costume (an attempt to hide my growing mass!) from Mothercare very early on in my pregnancy. It cost £25 and lasted me the duration: without either looking very baggy in the early days, or feeling too tight latterly (I managed to swim several times a week right up until baby was born).
Since it's increasingly acceptable for pregnant women to show that they're pregnant (although oddly you still see very few 8 and 9 month pregnant women featured in the media / on television) maternity swimwear is available from a wide range of sources, whatever your taste. High end brands like Isabella Oliver sell two-pieces and tankinis in vibrant colours for £50+, while simple suits are available from as little as £15 (e.g. Next).
My Mothercare costume, however, was perfectly adequate, lasting me the full 9 months and (I'm ashamed to say!) beyond...
£22.50 for a 125g tub of this thick cream - an expensive habit but one that's claimed to last for six months, nourishing the skin and preventing stretch marks. Pleasant smelling and unlikely to cause the aversions that market alternatives do (e.g. Bio Oil).
Rather new-agey green packaging (not the pink shown in the photo). White plastic tub is rather unattractive sitting on my dressing table (quite medicinal looking) which is a bit disappointing given the cost.
HOW TO USE IT:
Slather yourself in it once or twice a day during pregnancy and for four months afterwards to enhance skin tone as you lose weight.
- prevents stretch marks by enhancing skin elasticity
- layer with stretch mark oil for enhanced effects
- moisturises to prevent itchiness
"Anyone who's slathered on Tummy Rub Butter has emerged totally free of stretch marks" Parenting Magazine
Voted Best Stretch Mark Cream by Gomama Today and Pregnancy & Birth reader
Aqua (Water), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ceteareth-20, Sodium Acrylate/Acryoldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Dimethicone, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Rosa Moschata (Rosehip) Seed Oil, Barago Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Parfum (Fragrance), Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Citronellol, Evernia Furfuracea (Treemoss) Extract , Benzyl Benzoate (from Ylang Oil).
KEY POINTS RE: INGREDIENTS:
Colourant, paraben, petrolatum and sodium laureth sulfate free
- Shea butter: restores skin tone and acts as a protective barrier to lock in moisture.
- Natural latex: builds skin elasticity and staves off stretch marks.
- Borage oil: source of Omega 6 for its healing powers.
- Wheatgerm oil: for vitamin E and its antioxidant properties.
- Rosehip seed oil: source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 for healing and moisturisation.
- Sweet Almond Oil: rich in Omega oils, again nourishing and moisturising.
Not tested on animals, but clinically pregnant volunteers - unlike most other products aimed at this market (for ethical reasons)
DOES IT WORK:
For me: no. I'm rather inclined to think that if you're going to get stretch marks then you will. It's also impossible to tell how bad they would have been without it, making it very difficult to make an assessment (I'll just have to take the word of their clinical trials for it). Unfortunately I put a lot of weight on my stomach as a result of polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid - probably 2 litres too much!) and a very big baby (10lb for a first child). Oh well.
On the plus side it did feel lovely and I didn't experience any of the itching that many of my friends have described with stretch marks. I'm not really far enough into the postnatal period to assess how helpful this cream is at that stage....
However, a major negative is how long a tub lasts. Maybe it's just my huge belly, but a tub lasted 2 months rather than the promised six, making it rather an expensive habit for something that didn't prevent stretch marks!
Be warned, this isn't a conversation I'd have in polite company..... But having 'suffered' from leaky breasts from about 35 weeks of pregnancy I became rather desperate to find some washable pads to avoid (a) bankrupting myself with the disposable ones and (b) do something for the environment (seriously, the landfill volume being taken up with my disposable ones was getting ridiculous)...
The Avent washable pads were the first of this sort that I tried. Somewhat naively I relied on the 'Avent' brand and as a consequence was quite prepared to spend the £6.75 asking price for a pack of 6. These have a circumference of roughly 1.5 inches and come in a box along with a net laundry bag in which they can be washed and dried....
Several things are key when buying breast pads, which I'll rate here:
1. ABSORPTION 8/10
Much more impressive than the Boots disposables that I'd been used previously, it wasn't necessary to 'double layer' these to ensure that you didn't leak all over your top.
2. COMFORT 6/10
Despite being washed with my standard sensitive non-biological washing powder, these became quite scratchy over time irrespective of the means via which they were dried (on a line - an interesting sight! - or in a dryer).
3. STAYING POWER 5/10
Unlike disposable pads, which have a sticky strip to ensure they stay in place (or try to) these pads rely on the contour of your breast to hold them in place. Unfortunately, at least for me, this wasn't particularly effective meaning they tended to slip and slide all over the place. Thankfully however....
4. SIZE 8/10
They were a decent size, which meant that they didn't necessarily completely slip off the nipple.
5. WASHABILITY 7/10
They maintained their shape providing they were washed in the included bag. Do not try to wash them without this or they bobble or disintegrate (depending on the state they were in when they entered the washer-dryer).
6. VISIBILITY 6/10
Fairly bulky on first use, these tended to mould to your nipples better with time, making them less readily visible under clothing. I'd still be reluctant to wear light coloured clothing though.
7. PACK SIZE 5/10
A single pack of six wasn't adequate for my needs between washes. I had to change them 3+ times a day, meaning a second pack was necessary.
The Hi Bebe BT200 Fetal Doppler is one of a number of products that have hit the market recently to enable you to hear your baby's heartbeat. Retailing at £69.99 it's at the higher end of the market as far as these devices are concerned (cheaper alternatives can be picked up for £20-30.
Deliberately designed to resemble the dopplers used by midwives in an attempt to create customer confidence, the doppler consists of a base unit in white plastic that contains the speaker and heartbeat display (the 'doppler' can also be used with earphones), linked via a telephone style wire to the 'ultrasound' probing unit which is run against the stomach.
2AA batteries, which fit in the base unit, are included as well as the ultrasound gel. along with a hard plastic carry case.
Frankly, the claim that this thing can function from 10-12 weeks is dangerous (at worst) and liable to promote a false sense of security (at best). Most midwives won't even attempt to find a baby's heartbeat until at least 18 weeks precisely because it's difficult to find and therefore creates unnecessary anxiety in the pregnant women. I completely failed to find my baby's heartbeat until about 24 weeks with this.....
Even then I was never quite sure what I was picking up. Was it my heartbeat, the placenta, or the baby's? I had polyhydramnios from 30 weeks, a condition that makes it difficult for even the midwife the find baby's heartbeat; if I hadn't had this diagnosed I would have been very paranoid about the difficulties I had using this product.
My third winge is that this encourages non-trained medical professionals to use a product that they cannot possibly know how to recently. Several cases have been featured in the press recently in which women in the later stages of pregnancy used a fetal doppler when concerned about their babies' lack of movement, which encouraged them that all was well. In fact, in these cases all was not well, but the women had picked up their own heartbeat using the doppler, delaying medical assistance. While no-one can ever know whether earlier medical assistance would have made a difference for their babies, it remains the case that once they'd (eventually) got medical attention the babies' were dead.
So, if you treat the device as a bit of fun, then that's fine.... but using it for reassurance probably isn't wise.