“ Brand: Tiny Love / Type: Mobiles „
Why this mobile
We bought this mobile when our young son was about 4 months old and about to make the transition to the cot. As he had been in a Moses basket prior to this a mobile hadn't really been possible till now. We choose this for a few reasons, the music sounded nice (you can listen to it on Tiny Loves website prior to buying it), the contrast of both black and white and colours we thought would be appealing to a young baby and lastly because we had a Tiny Love play mat and had been very impressed with this so we thought this would be another good buy from the same brand.
This review is a bit long but as it is one of the most expensive mobiles on the market and makes a lot of claims I thought it was important to cover all these aspects.
What is it?
Now this is a bit tricky to describe really. There are a few different sections to it.
1. The music box this plays 20 minutes of continuous music and nature sounds: the music is classical and is either Bach, Mozart & Debussy the animals sounds are birds and running streams. The music box is also the motor part for the mobile. You can vary the volume of the music with a control at the side or even mute it and just have the animals and lights turning.
2. Colorful liquid shapes effect. This is a disc like object that has several different colored liquid in it. As the mobile turns the liquid sloshes inside and moves for baby to look at. The liquid is illuminated by the night light element about it. From this disc there are three prongs from which the animals are suspended
3. It has an endearing animal theme. The animals in this are a lion, bunny and a monkey. There is one suspended beneath a cone on each prong from the central disc. On these prongs there is not just an animal but a ball almost as if the animal is trying to reach it. Half of the ball is colored and the other half is black and white. On the prong above the cone there are three material shapes. These drop and make a noise as the music rotates
4. It has a swivel arm action so it moves easily from side to side as you take baby in an out of the cot.
Opinion and in use
I know it seems silly to talk about assembly for a mobile but it is surprisingly tricky really. It is important to get it right as some parts once assembled can't be taken out and if not done correctly the mobile can be unstable.
The music box element needs opening and 3 size C batteries putting in. This then attaches to the cot via a strap and screw mechanism and then it gets fixed in place with a large plastic nut at the back. It is important this is tight because if not the mobile becomes unstable and can lean over the child too much. This part is the simple stage and I had no problems with this part.
You then have to click the swivel arm into place this was a little bit fiddly as the pin has to be central or the arm which takes a lot of weight can be wonky and you risk it not working and leaning.
The mobile arms/ prongs then need to be attached to the liquid disk once they are in then they are fixed and can't be taken apart. You need to make sure it all lines up correctly this bit is again fiddly and I bordered on OCD as I triple and quadruple checked the alignment as I didn't want to get it wrong as once inserted they can't be taken out.
The disk once it is complete with all three arms then gets attached to the main arm of the mobile and inserted into the music box element this was a little bit awarded as I had to lean over the cot and lift this heavy weight to insert it.
My son was enchanted by the movement of these animals from the first time we used this mobile when he was 4 months old. You could see his gaze just following them around and he would occasionally try to reach them. Now much as this was fun for him it never seemed to help him relax enough to fall asleep which was part of the reason for buying it. The animals and all the different bits on it seemed to be just to stimulating for him to sleep.
As he got a bit older and tried to pull at the animals we had to take the mobile arm off and just use it as a music box. The total time he got to use it as a mobile was really just till he was about 7-8 months and able to sit himself up and pull himself up to standing to reach the toys. So in total we had about 3-4 months use out of the mobile as a mobile not that long really considering how expensive it was.
The swivel arm action has been useful for moving the mobile out of the way as I have taken my son in and out of his cot so this is useful feature that most mobile's don't have.
The night-light is too soft to use as a proper night light or for a nocturnal breast feeding. If the bulb burns out I am not sure easy you could get a replacement.
The music box however is still in use today on his cot and he has learnt to press the buttons to turn the music on. He has now learnt that when the music plays when he is in his cot on a night it is time for bed and will relax and fall asleep to the music. As he has learnt to switch it the music on himself he sometimes puts it on in the morning and listens to it as he wakes up properly. There has also been a couple of occasions he has played this in the middle on the night to go back to sleep once he has woken up and we haven't needed to go in to settle him down The music is very pleasant even to both my husband and I ears it not to jarring and sounds like something out of a CD rather than tacky electronic music. The 3 pieces of music and the birds chirping and gushing stream I have to admit relaxes me too.
Battery life I am more than pleased with this I haven't yet had to change the batteries in the music box despite being played most days for the past 10 months.
The claims and if I think they live up to them or not
This mobile makes a lot of claims about how it helps you babies' development:
They say it helps Develop Sight, Hearing and co-ordination by the combination of music and visual stimuli. It also is said to improve coordination. The four movements are said to encourage baby to focus on an object and track it with their eyes, helping them strengthen their eye muscles. Well I don't know if they strengthen my son's eye muscles but he certainly did follow the toys around and was fascinated by them. He has good hand eye co-ordination and this has been something that has been commented on by both nursery and health visitors so perhaps they are right with these claims.
"The combination of repetitive circular motion and other alternating movements with objects rising and falling and turning around, maintains baby's attention and active observation. The colorful liquids in the center, with or without the light, enrich the visual experience." Yes this does keep baby's attention and this mobile is more about stimulating your baby rather than getting them to sleep so don't buy this mobile to help induce sleep would be my advice.
They claim that the 20 minutes of continuous music and nature sounds helps baby develop an appreciation of music. Also that by using classical music they claim that this builds on research that show that if babies listen to classical music when young that they become more intelligent. Now as my son hasn't recently joined Mensa at 22 months it is probably a bit early to say if he has become more intelligent because of listening to the music. But he does enjoy listening to the music from the mobile and visibly calms often when it is on. He also loves other types of music too. Now whether this is the mobile or the fact that we go to a music group it is impossible to say.
The also a music box can be used as a musical activity center, encouraging baby to push buttons (cause) in order to receive varying musical responses (effect)." This claim certainly is true and my son has learnt initially by accident and then by purposeful activity to turn it on so these claims is definitely true.
"Baby will become aware of objects disappearing and reappearing within his frame of vision, which helps develop a sense of object permanence." I think peek a boo is a better way to learn object permanence. The fact that really by turning only slightly they can still see the large mobile means I don't think these claims stand up really or are a bit shaky.
"Listening to music contributes to the development of language in babies. Both music and language consist of a series of sounds that make up sentences. In the first instance, the sentences are musical and in the second, verbal. In both instances, the brain picks up the series of sounds, organizes them and gives them meaning." These claims I am unsure if they are true really it is asking a lot from a mobile for it to help with your child's language development. My son is slightly ahead of some of his peers with his language acquisition and connecting of words to form very short statements but I am uncertain if the mobile can take the credit for this and he is not that vastly ahead.
A baby can only see a very short distance they can only recognize sharp contrasts initially such as black and white and boys are slower to appreciate colors than girls. The mobile has taken this into consideration with the big white eyes with black pupils and with black and white stripes on the arms. The soccer balls also have black spots on white for this reason. As we used this from 4 months he was starting to move beyond this point of needing sharp contrast but I think it did help with focusing as you could see his gaze following things around.
On the whole I am pleased with this mobile and believe we have had our moneys worth from it and I would buy it again. This really is a the Rolls Royce of mobiles and I think if you are wanting a mobile just to send baby to sleep then this isn't the one for you but if you want something a bit stimulating and with pleasant music then this ticks all those boxes. I would say you probably would get more use with this mobile if baby was in a cot from birth or a crib with slots to which you can attach the music box.
* Visually stimulating with rotating and rising/falling movement.
* 20 minutes of nonstop music (most mobiles are 15 minutes).
* Music and sounds pleasant to listen to not jarring
* Bright colors.
* Cute animals. .
* Hooks tightly onto crib
* Volume control button
* Can give you time to have a wash whilst baby is entertained in the cot
* Some of the claims probably are true
* Tricky to assemble
* Will not pack down as flat once not in use so storage will be tricky if saving the mobile for use with another baby
* Night light is too dim.
* Maybe too stimulating if you are buying to help baby get to sleep.
We bought ours from Mothercare for £40 but I haven't seen it on their website you can get it from online retailers such as Little butterfly and Kiddicare for about £38