Category: Tried & True: Product Reviews

Tried & True: Braun Forehead Thermometer

voxbox-blogimage-popup2Shortly before we moved into our new house, a box arrived for me. Imagine my surprise when it was a Braun Forehead Thermometer to test out on the family! Although the product was provided for free to me, all the opinions below are my own.


Triedd and True: Braun Forehead Thermometer | oliverandtara.com

Previously we’ve used a medical grade forehead thermometer which required a PhD to operate. We’d recently resorted back to the underarm for temps, which upset Pip to NO end. You’d think we were torturing him! So, I was very excited to test this forehead thermometer out! Sadly, we got the opportunity to test it out too soon – as Pip  caught the flu over Christmas, spiking fevers of up to 104.

Pros:

  • Compact!
    It fits in the palm of my hand and is quite lightweight
  • Fairly Accurate
    Testing it against my underarm thermometer, I got pretty consistent results!
  • Easy!
    And in case you forget, the directions are ON the thermometer! No need to go looking for the booklet!
  • Backlit
    For those middle of the night temp checks – it not only is backlit, but the light corresponds to the temp (red for a fever, orange for too warm, green for ok!)
  • Quick!
    It only takes a few moments, which is good. Sick babies are irritable! Here is a short clip of me taking Pip’s temperature today:

Cons:

  • Beeps
    As it takes the temperature, it beeps. Although not extremely loud, it did disturb the baby when in a light sleep.
  • No Case
    I would have loved a labelled case for storing it in – Therefore I could find it at a glance while keeping it safe!

As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons for us! We really love this one and it is easily our “go to” thermometer now – especially since Pip is a fan too!

– Tara

Note: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes

Tried & True: Soft Structured Carriers (SSC)

Tried & True: Soft Structured Carriers | oliverandtara.com
We are big fans of Soft Structured Carriers in our house. It’s often our go-to carrier. Quick to buckle on, multiple position options, toss it in the wash when it gets grimy … everything a frazzled new mommy needs!
I’ve seen a lot of people asking about the differences between a Tula and an Ergo. So I wanted to give you a few factual comparisons between the two, then go into my own personal pros and cons of these two.
Here is a little visual of what each measurement in the table is actually measuring…
Measuring Points of an SSC | oliverandtara.com
Image source
L = length, W = width

[approximations]

Tula

Ergo

L: padded shoulder strap

19”

15.5”

W: padded shoulder strap

2.5”

2.75”

L: adjustable shoulder strap

~30”

12”

L: body

14.25”

14.25”

W: body

13 – 16.5”

15”

W: seat

13.25”

14”

L: padded waist

27.25”

29”

W: padded waist

3.25” – 4.5”

3.25” – 5.5”

L: adjustable waist

~ 30”

~ 28.5”

W: adjustable waist

2”

2”

 

Now that you can see the facts, here are my opinions!

Ergo Performance

Pros:
  • Tough – made of durable material, easily washes/wipes clean
  • Breathable!
  • Dark colored, so it doesn’t show a ton of dirt
  • Pocket for hood
  • Hood snaps on quite easily
  • Good sized zipper pocket for phone, keys, etc
  • Rolls up small
Cons:
  • Let’s just face it – it isn’t “cute”. But the other Ergo styles are beginning to come in cute patterns!
  • Not as wide as the Tula – narrower seat and body means baby will grow out of it much sooner!
  • Not great for really petite people – the waist strap doesn’t go small enough!

Tula

Pros:

  • Ohemwow – can we say totally ADORABLE patterns?!
  • Body stays wide overall (versus “wave” style body of Ergo)
  • See the difference in lengths of adjustable straps?! This gives you a ton of room to find your “sweet spot”
  • Hood detaches completely and can be stored away
  • Hood can be cinched tighter around baby’s face
  • Canvas material is pretty durable, but “softens up” to “super cuddly” status!
  • Rolls up well!
Cons:
  • You need to be gentle when washing – you don’t want to wear it out or damage it. And some of the lighter styles stain easily
  • It can get quite toasty inside of there – for you AND baby! The price of a bigger body panel. Canvas is NOT breathable
  • The pocket is too small – MAYBE can hold my phone. Or my credit cards/IDs. Doubt it could hold both.

Here is a comparison shot of Liam in both carriers. For reference, he is 8 1/2 months old, 27.5” long and 19 lbs, 2 oz.

 

PicsArt_1381298394654

 

❤ Tara

#2013IBW

Saturday Summary

Babywearing Series - Week ONE | Oliverandtara.com

So far so good – even though we are in the middle of our move to Denver, I have been able to keep up with the posting! Click on each picture to jump to the post!

Babywearing Series - Week ONE | Oliverandtara.com

Tuesday was the latest installment of “Tried & True” where I discussed my very first babywearing experience – our beautiful orange Moby wrap!

 

Wednesday was the beginning of our “Why We Wear” series with the number one reason we began wearing.

Babywearing Series - Week ONE | Oliverandtara.com

 

Babywearing Series - Week ONE | Oliverandtara.com

Thursday was my first fact filled post answering the question of when when it is ok to let baby be worn “legs out”.

 

Friday was our latest “Fam’s 5 Faves” and a peek into our “stash’ with our 5 favorite carriers (in order of preference/most used).

Babywearing Series - Week ONE | Oliverandtara.com

Remember, all the posts are being listed on this post as well. We’ll begin again tomorrow!

 

❤ Tara

Tried and True: Moby Wrap

Tried and True: Moby Wrap

The very first wrap I received (as well as used) was my Moby Wrap. Made from a cotton jersey material, it is soft and stretchy. It really cuddles baby and keeps them feeling secure. However, when you first open it, many are overwhlemed by the 5.5 meters (over 18 feet) of cloth. Here is the inside scoop on the Moby:

Facts:
  • For babies 8-35 lbs
  • Made from natural cotton material
  • Able to be worn on the front and the hip, but not the back
  • Great instructions available on their site.
Pros:
  • Extremely soft for wrapping up that little one
  • Comfy enough to wear when baby isn’t in it
  • Keeps people’s hands off baby and their little head supported
  • Gentle against a sore mommy – important after my c-section!
  • A “gateway” into wrapping with woven wraps
Cons:
  • I found it was only good until about 20 lbs – then we needed more support!
  • No structural support, and you can only wrap it so tight due to it’s stretchy-ness
  • Complicated (at first) to figure out – resulting in a lot of people “giving up”
  • Can feel too warm for people who run “hot” or during warm months.
Tips:
  • Practice on your own BEFORE trying it with baby – se a stuffed animal!
  • Give it more than one try – it takes practice and is a new experience. Your baby may cry, may fall asleep, may not sit right. Cut yourself some slack and try again later!
  • Don’t EVER use a stretchy wrap on your back – it is VERY dangerous! It won’t hold the baby tight, which means they could lean back and flip out!
  • When wearing a baby, always make sure their chin isn’t on their chest, you can feel/see them breathing, nothing is obstructing their face and that they have a good seat!

Overall, I think it is a great first wrap for new mommies! It’s even better if they have someone to show them how to use it while being their cheerleader. It gave me a lot more confidence to have it demo’d and when I was provided guided practice!

Overall Rating: ✰✰✰✰ 4/5 Stars

You’ll see some action shots of my Moby tomorrow!

❤ Tara

Click here for a full list of posts in my October Babywearing Series.

October = Babywearing!

October 7th-13th is “International Babywearing Week”. This is a time for babywear-ers everywhere to celebrate their babywearing ways while also spreading awareness about babywearing.

If anyone knows anything about me – I’m all about babywearing! And I get a lot of questions about carriers, styles and ways of babywearing. So, this month I’ll be writing all about babywearing. I’ll keep a running list of posts here, so you can check back and have a quick reference! Let me know if you want to know anything specific and I’ll try to address it this month.

 

October: Babywearing Series

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
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    October: Babywearing Series | oliverandtara.com October: Babywearing Series | oliverandtara.com October: Babywearing Series | oliverandtara.com October: Babywearing Series | oliverandtara.com October: Babywearing Series | oliverandtara.com
   

Tried & True: Moby

Why We Wear #1 Babywear: Knee to knee Fams 5 Faves: Babywear Week One Summary
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babywearingcomic mystash102013 TT_SSCs liam_moby liam_tula_M_title polyvore_FFF_babywearingheat  
Sunday Funnies My Stash Tried & True: SSCs Why We Wear #2 Babywear: The “M” Fams 5 Faves: In The Heat!  
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[click any image to jump to that post!]

 

❤ Tara

[the] Fam’s 5 Faves: Breastfeeding

The Fam's 5 Faves: Breastfeeding
 

 

This episode of the “Fam’s 5 Faves” is focusing on breastfeeding.  I figured it was a great segue off of last month’s series focusing on Milking It.

Here is a break down of our favorites…

Nursing Covers

My two “go to” covers right now are the Motherhood Nursing Scarf and my Simple by Bebe Au Lait. I use the scarf when it is cool enough to sport a scarf – it’s super handy and cute too! The Bebe Au Lati is extremely breathable for warmer days (read more about it here).

Nursing Pillow

My back SCREAMS at me when we’ve been away from home and away from my pillow. It’s important to not hunch over baby when nursing, and bringing them up higher helps you save your back. I love this pillow so much that I’m taking it on our trip to Hawaii. Nine days is just TOO long to be away from it! I know there are quite a few brands out there, like the Boppy and My Breast Friend, but I’m a Boppy gal myself! It has a lot of uses other than just a nursing pillow. When your little one is on “tummy time”, you can prop them up on it. It also helps stabilize them when they start sitting up! I even prop Liam up a bit on it when he is sleeping on the ground.

Booby Tubes

Lets just be frank here ladies – engorgement and sore nipples are no fun. These guys were either in my freezer or in my bra those first few weeks. I highly suggest two sets – keep rotating them out! I love that I could use them directly on the nipples, or set it up so they went around them. They were soft, organic … I really did love them! They still do come out of the freezer – like when I am upping my supply for storage, and thus pumping A LOT.

Nipple Butter

Organic, smells good … I love this little nipple saving jar. And the small jar goes a LONG way. I still have the same jar I brought to the hospital with me! I dab a little on, let it melt and soak in, then “cover up” again. I also put it on before I pump to keep from getting sore. At first I was worried that Liam didn’t like the taste, so I switched to coconut butter. But I soon switched back. Now, the simple smell of it makes me remember those first few days of Liam’s life.  And it is ALWAYS in my pumping bag!

Nursing Pads

I cheated on the “two for one” deal again on this, but my preferred nipple pads have changed over time. In the beginning I leaked… a LOT. So I loved the washable organic cotton nursing pads. I cycled through them quickly, sometimes two sets a day. But they were super soft against my “skin”, and offered protection from things that might accidentally brush against “sensitive areas”. After my milk situation evened out, I switched to the LilyPadz. I love them! They still offer protection against friction, cover up your “headlights” and keep enough pressure on to stop minor leaks. More on them in the future…

 

What are some of your top favorites for breastfeeding?

❤ Tara

Follow this series on twitter and facebook #fams5faves

Milking It: Fenugreek

Milking It: Fenugreek | oliverandtara.com

If you have done any googling, you have no doubt come across “fenugreek” as a way of upping your milk supply. But why? And how? And what are your options? Read on fellow milkies, read on!

Fenugreek is a plant grown in Europe and the Middle East. It mainly comes from India, but is also harvested from Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, France and many more locations. The Fenugreek leaves are used as herbs, its seeds are for spices the the leaves and sprouts as vegetables. The most well known use of fenugreek is in some Indian curries.

I can hear you now – Ok, ok Tara… but what about my MILK?!

Well, fenugreek is believed to be a galactagogue. (It’s ok to say “galacti-go-go wha?!” I did too!) It is really just a fancy way to say “I get the milk flowing!”

You have a lot of options when bringing fenugreek into your diet. Below are just a few..

Fenugreek, klabatImage Source

Raw

You could go totally hard core and get straight up fenugreek. Then add it into your food or steep it in some hot water. I’ve heard the flavor can be QUITE overwhelming… so you may want to proceed with caution with this idea!

Note: Some of my mommy friends reminded me that there are fenugreek capsules you can take! If you want it pure – give those a whirl!

 

Tea

This is the route I took when I was expecting. I grabbed a box at my local Whole Foods and threw it into my bag. The Lactation Consultants at the hospital brought me tea bags as well. I thought it tasted a bit like black licorice, which I am *not* a fan of. I found it easier to drink over ice, and would chug it. Amazon offers a variety of Milk Teas. I went with Organic Mother’s Milk personally – each tea bag made two cups of tea.

mothersmilkImage Source

 

milky1
Image Source

Milky!

I have not tried this myself, mostly just because I haven’t come across it in stores. But I would love to give it a try – perhaps a review soon? And not just because I am a child of the 80s/90s. Milky! is a product created by Tia and Tamera Mowry (Sister, Sister!). It’s made with fenugreek, but created to mask the taste for those who REALLY don’t like the flavor. You won’t find it on Amazon, but you can find it in Destination Maternity stores, on their website or over at Need Brands.

Next up – baking and breastmilk? Mmmmmm!

❤ Tara

Additional Information:

A list of other galactagoues

All Amazon links do have my associate’s code included.

Tried and True: Swaddle Me!

SwaddleMe Review | oliverandtara.com

Liam sleeps best as a baby burrito – nap times, bed time, it doesn’t really matter! We’ve swaddled him since birth and he knows it mean “sleepy time”! If he’s tired, he smiles the biggest smile in the world when you begin to swaddle him. If he’s fighting sleep, you get QUITE the dirty look if you try to wrap him up. Haha! We were gifted a variety of swaddles when he was born, but the Summer Infant SwaddleMe is our favorite. Quick and brainless, perfect at 4am!

Pros:

  • Velcro! Need I say more?
  • SO quick to get them wrapped up!
  • A variety of sizes
  • Cute colors and patterns!
  • Machine washable

Cons:

  • Velcro… ug… (read below)
  • Getting legs in when they are asleep or squirming is a feat …
  • Our little Houdini can still get himself out!

As you read above, the Velcro is a pro and a con. It’s a pro because, let’s face it, in the middle of the night you don’t have any brainpower left to remember how to wrap that receiving blanket around them. The company was even kind enough to make washing tabs, so the Velcro doesn’t get wonky in the wash! It’s STRONG Velcro too, it doesn’t just pop open, it takes a good tug to undo! But it’s a con for one reason alone – loudness. Invariably it gets stuck closed when you need to slide a sleeping babe in, and ripping it open could wake the dead. Also, Liam has discovered the joy of “scratching”. He love to scratch things. This includes the Velcro. In the middle of the night. Yep.

Our Houdini is able to get his arms out when he is awake and wants free. Although a con, I really don’t mind. I know that he could get out if he needed, and he never gets out while asleep and then wakes himself up. It’s created some hilarious moments, as well as magical.

One night I woke up to the sound of things crashing. Liam had gotten his arms out of his swaddle and was clearing off my end table, one item at a time. Some things he was even able to fit between the bars and place in bed with him. I think my middle of the night exclamation was something along the lines of “You’ve GOT to be kidding me!” as I leapt from bed, just as the Angelcare Monitor hit the ground.

The other morning I rolled over in bed to see his arm out of the swaddle, reaching for me from inside his crib. He was staring right at me, straining his arm between the bars, not making a sound. My heart melted. I reached my hand off the side of my bed towards him and he grasped it, smiling at me.

A funny little video I shot the other day, showing how much better he falls asleep/stays asleep when swaddled. Heck, this very post is brought to you by a nap in his SwaddleMe!

Did your little one like to be swaddled?

❤ Tara

Tried and True: [Apron Style] Nursing Covers

*”Tried and True” will be an on going thread where I will be reviewing the products we have tried out in our lives as parents!*

Nursing Covers Review at OliverandTara.com

Let me begin with a small disclaimer. If you nurse in public, ok! If you don’t like nursing in public, ok! If you prefer to be covered while nursing, ok! If you don’t prefer to be covered while nursing, ok! Get my drift? Whatever is comfortable for you, works! I don’t care where I am while nursing, but I prefer to be covered. I’m just that way naturally – I’m not comfortable in bikinis, spaghetti strap tank tops, etc. Again, nothing wrong with all of those. I’m just not comfortable! So, I do what is comfortable for me, and encourage you to do what’s comfortable for you!

That all being said, I *love” my nursing covers. Nursing covers come in many styles. Shawls, scarves, sleeved, wraps … I’m slowly adding to my collection and trying many out. But currently I have 3 “Apron style” covers, and I am never anywhere without at least one of them. The funniest part is that second I pull one out, Liam gets *really* excited. He knows what they mean!

What I love about Apron Style Nursing Covers:

  • Rigid neckline – peek in on baby and see when learning to “latch”
  • Hang around your neck because, trust me, it is impossible to keep a blanket up. Especially when they get more active! (Liam now loves to hang on the rigid neckline… I’d be totally exposed if it was just a blanket!)
  • Protects the baby from the elements. And your… um… err… “goods” are protected as well! It gets “nippy” out there!
  • Great as a “sun shade” when babywearing too!

My stash…

Simple By Au Lait
Simple By Au Lait

Features:

  • 100% Linen – breathes yet doesn’t “feel” thin and certainly not see through
  • Organic – because babies chew on everything.
  • Little “pockets” in the corners – great for hiding your nipple pads!
  • One pocket is terry cloth – great for wiping up spillage and dribble!
  • Available on Amazon
  • Rating: ✰✰✰✰ 4/5 Stars

 

The Peanut Shell
The Peanut Shell

Features:

  • Part of a line – I have matching burp clothes and diaper pouch
  • Pockets in the corners for those nursing pads
  • Pockets are made from soft cotton for wiping precious chins
  • Thick cotton, keeps baby warm out in the elements!
  • Available on Amazon
  • Rating: ✰✰✰✰ 4/5 Stars

 

Udder Cover
Udder Cover

 Features:

  • Really thin – extremely light and breathable
  • Folds up very small
  • Available using the codes at the bottom of this post
  • Available on Amazon
  • Rating: ✰✰✰ 3/5 Stars

 

Summary

My Simple and Peanut Shell covers are by far my favorites. I really love them, even if they are a bit bulkier to carry around. The Udder Cover, although smaller, is really quite thin and the neck strap slips loose a lot. What I love about all of them is that most of the time, people just think I am covering a sleeping baby (though yes, some people do know what I am doing…). I’ve even had a client’s dad peek down the cover before, thinking Liam was napping … aawwwkkkwwwaaarrrddd. BUT, it means people aren’t gawking. And I am comfortable walking around, feeding my blessing, without baring skin. Just the way I like it!

Overall Rating: ✰✰✰✰ 4/5 Stars

And they have some other fun uses too …

Hubby sun shade ...
Hubby sun shade …

 

Dress up items for my adorable niece ...
Dress up items for my adorable niece …

 

As your Supermom cape because, let's face it, you are one!
As your Supermom cape because, let’s face it, you are one!

❤ Tara

Tried and True: Seven Sling

*”Tried and True” will be an on going thread where I will be reviewing the products we have tried out in our lives as parents!*

IMG_20130630_132228

If you had asked me about this sling just 3 days ago, I would have told you I hated it. Yes, HATED it. And I don’t hate a lot. But it was confusing, sat funny on me and I couldn’t get Liam comfortable in a kangaroo hold. But I decided to give it another try on Friday. Why, you ask? For the most vain reason of all – it went with my cute “beach trip” outfit. No joke. I’d bought this cute dress at Target, had a teal scarf for up in my hair and the Seven Sling was going to be SO much cuter (and cooler) than my Ergo, Balboa Sling or Ring Sling.

The first thing I had to figure out was how to wear it. It’s a loop, but with a slight angle to it. In my opinion, the instructions are useless. I could figure them out, if I wanted to put the time and effort into it. But what new mom has time? Or any energy for effort? So I went to be babywearing best friend … Youtube. That’s where I found this video:

I have no idea who she made the video for, but apparently 40,000+ people have found it useful! I know I did! (By the way, I am creating a babywearing playlist of all my favorite videos, if you are interested! Click here!)

As I mentioned, I wanted to use this cute sling on a beach trip I took this past Friday with my bestie to visit our ear friend and former co-worker. I brought my boyfriend, BOB, along as well. But sometime Liam just gets sick of looking at people’s knees. So, partway through the day I pulled him out and dropped him into the Seven Sling.

Pros:

  • It allows him to sit on my hip, which he likes anyways
  • SO thin, it really is super cool for BOTH of us
  • Adorable!
  • Rolls up super super small
  • Cheap/Free (no joke… keep reading!)

Cons:

  • NO support, which means you can’t wear it for long period of time
  • Even when you know how to wear it, it sits funky on you
  • I still need to offer Liam a bit of support with my arm, but not consistently

Besides being super cute, the BIGGEST perk for me is how tiny it rolls up. I mean, seriously, I could never get even my ring sling or Balboa THIS small…

IMG_20130630_113021

So it is now a STAPLE in my diaper bag. No matter what, I always have a carrier on me. This just takes up WAY less room and works in a pinch!

The other thing I really love is the price. I only paid shipping. Yep, you read that right! And Seven is a part of a couple of companies, so after you purchase your sling, you’ll be given a coupon for either a free car seat canopy or udder cover. Purchase from the next site, a free code for ANOTHER product. It’s a never ending cycle! I don’t have a car seat cover (didn’t car for any of theirs) but I do have 3 of their “udder covers” and then this sling. Here area few of the codes I have rounded up that SHOULD still work (I tested a few..). None include shipping, that’s extra and probably the REAL price per item. But hey a deal is a deal!

  • Seven Slings
    • Free sling: PJBABY – FREE – ONEFREE – ENBABY – FAMIMLY2011
  • Udder Covers
    • Free cover: PJBABY – VALENTINE – FREE
  • Car Seat Canopy
    • Free car sear canopy:  PJBABY – BABYTIPS – FAMILY2012

Overall Rating: ✰✰✰ 3/5 Stars

❤ Tara