Saturday, June 20, 2009

Aleva Naturals 2 in 1 Hair and Body Wash


This self-foaming liquid smells like tea-tree oil, lavender, orange peel, and other yummy delights. It is both paraben- and pthalate-free (word on the street is that those are the Big Bad Ingredients, to be avoided at all costs). Before I found this product, I was using Burt's Bees body soap and (separate) shampoo bar; I liked them, but the bars were relatively messy and not great for travel. I love that this wash is in one bottle, and even though it was around $10, it has lasted really well (I think the self-foaming feature helps... I'm the kind of person who takes a ton of shampoo so that I get a good lather).

It is made in Canada and some of the ingredients are certified organic (but not all). Purchased, surprisingly enough, at my local Walmart. It was hidden on a high shelf above the Johnson & Johnson's empire. It also came with a little bonus tube of their Breathe Easy cream, which can be applied around the nose to help clear congestion in infants and children (I use it myself... love it). Company website here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Belly Bandit postpartum wrap

*Giant sigh of disappointment*.

I didn't expect this wrap to work miracles (although the advertising did seem to promise a lovely slim figure just weeks after giving birth); I was definitely wary of those claims. I did expect it to at least be comfortable and make me look okay in clothes!! The reason I'm using a stock photo of this product is because I can't photograph mine, as it's already been sold on kijiji (for 75% of the retail price, I might add! It sold in 2 days).

Ok, so I put the thing on the day after giving birth to my second child, as the instructions said you could begin that early. I had used their sizing chart to select my size (medium) and i really had to pack myself in there to get the velcro to meet (understandable, considering how much weight you lose that first week). It felt nice to have something tight and supportive around me while I was still large and recovering from birth. The instructions also say to wear it 24 hours a day, just take it off to shower. So... while I sleep? I understand the reasoning but honestly, it's a VERY stiff item! I tried a couple times but could not sleep well with it on.

After a few days of wear, the wrap started to get some very deep creases in it at the back from the natural curve of my (and most women's) body(s). Even after washing and steaming, the creases wouldn't come out. I concluded that the Belly Bandit must be designed for women whose torsos are shaped like a toilet paper roll. And by week 5or 6, the size that had barely done up on day 2 was now too big for me.

Another complaint: they claim it barely shows under clothes. Are these women wearing bulky sweaters with large cable knit? Because unless that's the case, the bandit is definitely visible under clothing. The part of the velcro tab that overlaps is quite thick and stiff. If you want your gut sucked in and smooth under a shirt, get some Spanx.

Purchased online at Cheeky Monkey. I will be reviewing another, BETTER, postpartum wrap from Tokyo Baby some time soon.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dex Dura-bib

Terry-cloth bibs are fine and dandy for spit-up or rice cereal. But when your child starts on those finger foods and messy meals, you need a bib that works hard for you. I tried some cheapy ones with the "catch" trough, but they never stayed open well enough to catch anything. I finally realized i needed an expert's opinion.. who better than a mother of 8? Kate Gosselin uses Dex Dura-bibs exclusively.

The front of the bib is a thick, washable polyurethane surface, and the back is some kind of canvas-type cloth. There are two sets of snaps (with different colours that match up to help you construct the "trough"), and when they are undone the bib folds out 100% flat for washing or wiping. When done up, the bib trough edge sits well away from the child's chest and remains open because of how thick and stiff the material is. You could dump half a cup of juice in that sucker, it's not gonna leak.

The "designs" are hideous. I think there are 5 or 6 to choose from but they are all from the same artist and they all suck. Totally late-80's/early-90's (and not in a good way). But I digress. The quality of the bib trumps the ugliness.

Purchased at the Safety Superstore. Let's just hope the bibs have better longevity than Jon and Kate's marriage...

Monday, June 15, 2009

GAIA Skin Soothing Lotion

I love this "nappy rash cream" as it is organic, thick, has a light citrus scent and can be used on eczema, mosquito bites and any other skin irritations.
It's a little on the pricey side (I believe I paid ~$15 for a 200mL bottle) but a little goes a long way.
Whenever applied, I see a 50-80% improvement overnight! It also seems quite soothing as he calms down whenever I apply it to his bum :)
Company website here. Purchased at Rolz&Sassy (Kincardine)

Foogo sippy cup and Foogo straw cup (by Thermos)

I really really wanted to love these cups. I wanted them to be so great that I'd never have to buy another sippy again. I looked forward to the consecutive unrefrigerated hours of insulated goodness. The insulation delivered; the spill-proof factor did not.

I found that with both of these cups, the straw cup especially, if they are left on their sides they inevitably produce a sticky puddle on the floor (...couch... blankie...table...). If held upside down or shaken, the sippy will leak in drips. The straw cup will leak in a stream. I don't know if it's the valve construction or what, but at $18+ each, I am not impressed. I'm sure they would still be good for long trips or outings when milk and juice need to be kept cold and spilling doesn't matter (think picnic). But for around my house, when my toddler prances around and throws/drops/shakes/abandons cups, they are definitely not ideal.

Purchased at Snugglebugz (Burlington) but available at most specialty baby boutiques.

Munchkin bottle drying rack and bottle brush

Bottles and sippy cups can have WAY too many finicky, easily-lost pieces for normal dish drying racks. This fold-down-flat contraption helps dry your bottles, nipples, rings, and even straws. I actually leave all the pieces on it even after they've dried; it's a nice, accessible storage system! The angled design helps water drippings to collect at the bottom (over time it can get kind of yucky, moreso if you have hard water like me, so it needs periodic cleaning).

The rack has a special slot to hold the Munchkin bottle brush (sold separately). The brush has a handy mini-brush hidden in the handle for cleaning nipples, and the angled sponge tip gets into the bottle bottom really well. My only complaint is that the nipple brush can be really hard to pull out of the handle, especially with wet hands.

Purchased at my local Walmart. Has anyone tried the SkipHop one or another brand?