REVIEW – Breast Pads – The Good, The Bad and the ESSENTIAL! :)

I consider myself to be fairly lucky on the breast feeding front, in that I have always had a good milk flow and strong let down, and therefore I have never struggled to feed my daughter. However, what this has meant is that Ive found myself in a few awkward situations, walking around with large wet patches on my tshirt and having to try and hide the fact that my breasts are leaking milk… everywhere.

Because of this, even before my baby was born, I had to invest in some breast pads. Believe me when I say… I have tried them all! The challenge was finding a breast pad that was comfortable, that stayed put in my bra, and that was absorbent enough to soak up the milk that automatically sprayed out the boob that wasn’t being utilised!

Here is the Real Mums Review on 3 of the breast pads I tested – the Good, the Bad, and the Essential!!

THE GOOD – Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Breast Pads

Cost – Between £3 and £5 for a pack of 50 pads.

The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Breast Pads come in packs of two – making it very easy to pop a sealed packet into your handbag or changing bag when going out for the day. Described as having a special moisture trapping layer, these are relatively discreet, with a sticky pad to stick onto the inside of your bra.

Pros:

  • Reasonably cheap and regularly on offer in Boots, Mothercare etc
  • Reasonably absorbent – I have only had one or two occasions of leakages using these pads.
  • Comfortable fabric, not itchy against skin.
Cons:
  • I found it handy that they were wrapped as a pair, but there may be occasions where you just need one, and therefore this could be seen as a negative.
  • The sticky pad isn’t particularly sticky, and therefore they can ride up in your bra which can be embarrassing, particularly in the summer when wearing strappy vest tops!
  • These would be more than adequate for someone who only leaks occasionally, however if you are a regular leaker like myself, then you may need slightly more absorbent pads to ensure no accidents occur.

THE BAD – Boots Own Breast Pads

Cost – £4.09 for 80 pads. Sometimes part of the Boots Mother and Baby Events. Benefit from extra advantage card points for Boots Parenting Club Members.
Described as soft contoured breast pads – they are supposed to provide protection for your clothes from leaking milk especially just before a feed when your breasts are full or whilst breastfeeding when you have a let-down reflex.

Pros:

  • Cheaper price per unit.
  • Large size pad fits fully within your bra.

Cons:

  • Quite simply I found that these didn’t work! Despite having the pads in my bra, I still came home with wet patches on my top. I guess the ‘you get what you pay for’ mentality is really true!
  • The material can be a little itchy against the skin, feeling more ‘paper-like’ and the pads are notably thinner.
  • No protective wrapping so the pads would get dirty if you took them out in your changing bag unless stored in a separate plastic bag or nappy bag.

 ESSENTIAL – Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads

Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads are described as having an ultra-thin but super-absorbent contour for a natural fit that won’t show under clothing. The soft, stay-dry lining
is supposed to draw milk away from the skin and into the core of the pad where it is absorbed
by a special polymer to prevent leakage.

Cost: Approx £5.50 for 60 pads, however significantly cheaper when purchased online (currently retailing for £3.79 on Amazon (plus postage fees).

Pros:

  • Not visible under clothes, discreet even when worn in the summer under strappy vest tops.
  • Stay put and do not ride up – two sticky pads unlike a lot of breast pads on the market – most tend to have just one.
  • Very absorbent-  although they do become thick and heavy when full, they do not lose their shape, and don’t feel wet against your skin.
  • Easy to open packaging.
  • Shaped and contoured (curved) so seem to fit closer to the breast.
  • Great at night when my leaking was at its strongest.

Cons:

  •  More expensive than others on the market – but this is clearly an example of “you get what you pay for”.
  • Wrapped individually – although great from a hygiene point of view it does waste packaging – I seem to have little tabs and wrappers EVERYWHERE!
  • Not as readily available in store – tend to be more easily accessible online or in larger boots stores only.

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REVIEW – Sophie La Girafe / Sophie the Giraffe Vanilla Teething Ring

My daughter has now entered what I can only describe as Dribble Mode.

At four and a half months, she appears to have started getting some real action on the teething front, constantly having her fist in her mouth and biting down on anything and everything that goes with a close vicinity of her mouth (including my nipples – OUCH!)

I have never before seen so much dribble come out of something so small! Lol 🙂 – Every time I pick her up, her wet mouth and hands leave a trail of dribble over my neck and top, which then causes a slightly unattractive damp patch for me to sport for the next couple of hours. As the source of the wet patch is my daughter, I obviously find this cute – it’s amazing how blinding motherhood can be! 🙂

With regards to her coping with teething, she has so far, without wishing to tempt fate, been reasonably accepting, on one condition – she has to have something to chew on!! My finger is her object of preference, but at times, even the best of mummies need a rest. And this is where Sophie comes in.

Now most mummies will have heard of Sophie. If you haven’t, where have you been? Say hello to a teething baby’s new best friend. Sophie isn’t just a friendly giraffe, Sophie is a miracle giraffe that can turn a distressed and whinging baby into a calm and (albeit dribbly) squeaking machine!! 🙂

Until researching the product, I didn’t know the back story to Sophie, but it’s actually really lovely!

Sophie the Giraffe – The Story!

Sophie the Giraffe or Sophie Le Girafe as she is more fondly known, was born in France on the 25th May 1961. At that time, teethers on the market were only available as farmyard or pet type animals like sheep and dogs. Monsieur Rampeau, an expert in transforming sap from the hevea tree using the rotational moulding of rubber, came up with the idea of designing a
giraffe – this would be the first exotic animal teether to be on the market, and was the perfect shape for little hands to hold on to!

Vulli, a company based in Rumilly in the Haute-Savoie region of France have closely guarded the secret of how their teethers are  made. Sophie the Giraffe is still made traditionally, including the hand painting each giraffe meaning that no two Sophies are exactly the same.

Since her creation in 1961 Sophie the Giraffe has wowed over 50 million babies (and parents!) worldwide with her ‘natural beauty and charm’, and her style has not changed at all in 50 years – a timeless classic! In France 9 out of 10 newborn babies are given their own Sophie la girafe.

Sophie  – Our  Verdict

Sophie is available from most retailers including Amazon, Boots, Mothercare, Kiddicare etc, and retails for around £12/13. Sophie can also be purchased as a gift set. We received a special edition gift set including both the Traditional Sophie and the Sophie the Giraffe Vanilla Teething Ring. In our opinion, the slightly smaller teething ring is perfect for the earlier stages of teething, when your little ones have smaller mouths!

The vanilla teething ring consists of a small soft giraffe and circular textured ring made from 100% natural rubber. The giraffe is just the right size for my daughter to wrap her little fingers around and gain a sturdy grip, before the ring section is forced into an open mouth and chewed with the pace of a teenager chewing gum! The teething ring not only looks great, but smells great, a subtle vanilla scent that is appealing to both mother and baby!

Whilst eating our tea on Sunday, our daughter happily sat in her Bumbo seat chewing on the Sophie teething ring, covering herself in dribble (mental note to take a bib next time!) but calm, content and happily occupied. She appears to really enjoy holding what we now call “mini Sophie”, and apart from the odd occasion where she tries to force it in sideways (and thankfully fails) she managed to get reasonably good hand to mouth coordination!

Pros:

  • The teether is soft and scented – which really sets it apart from other teethers which are often made from a more rough, hard plastic.
  • The Vanilla Teething Ring is pocket sized, and therefore completely portable, even with limited space in an overcrowded changing bag!
  • My daughter can bash it around her face to her hearts content without risk of hurting herself!
  • The teether is lightweight and easy for small hands to grip.
  • Durable – this teether has been chewed and gnawed significantly over the last few weeks, and so far has remained fully intact, with no obvious damage!

Cons:

  • Does gather dust and get dirty quickly, and therefore needs to be washed regularly to ensure it remains hygienic,
  • Some mums and babies may prefer a larger teether, where you get more product for your money.
  • After 6 months, I believe the traditional Sophie would be more effective as a larger product for bigger mouths and more stubborn toothy pegs!!

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Review – Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer

We all know babies occasionally get ill, whether it be a reaction to those pesky jabs, or their first experience of the common cold, at some point or other, our babies are going to get a fever. When my daughter went in for her first immunisations the nurse recommended that I take her temperature regularly during the evening to ensure that it hadn’t become raised and said that if her temperature went above 38 degrees I should give Calpol to help her.

I didn’t already have a thermometer at home (despite thinking that I’d thought of EVERYTHING before bringing my baby home), and therefore I headed straight to Boots to see what was available. I realised that thermometers vary significantly in both price and approach!

In the hospital, I remembered them using an under arm thermometer to take my daughters temperature, but it took quite a while to get a reading (a couple of minutes), and she didn’t seem to like it very much. At 8 weeks, she was also a lot more wriggly than she was as a newborn, and therefore I wasn’t convinced I would get an accurate reading.

The nurse at my surgery had used an inner ear thermometer and after a bit of hunting through the aisles I found that Boots actually sold the same one, the Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer.

From Boots this product was quite expensive at £42.49 – had I shopped around or purchased this online I could have saved myself a lot of money (it is currently selling on Amazon for £28.33), but at the time I needed one quickly. At least I got advtange points with extra for being a parenting club member!!

The thermometer is really easy to use, with a pre warmed tip, so that it isn’t shocking for the infant. It easily fits into the palm of your hand, and has a reasonably large display so that you can clearly see the temperature reading displayed. The product comes with around 20 re-useable covers to ensure that the tip is hygienic before each use. Refills for these are fairly expensive at £7.99 for a pack.

To use the thermometer, I simply inserted the tip of the thermometer into my daughters ear, holding down the button until it beeps. She was relatively un-phased by the process, and now allows her temperature to be taken quite willingly.

I have found the product incredibly reassuring to have to hand, particularly if my child is a bit niggly or appears slightly under the weather.

My view on the pros and cons of this product are as follows:

Pros:

  • Accuracy and reliability – readings are consistent and accurate.
  • Comes with two AA batteries ready to use.
  • Reassuring that medical practitioners are using the same product!
  • Takes just a few seconds to get a reading, unlike some other thermometers on the market.

Cons:

  • Expensive initial cost, and refills are reasonably expensive too unless on offer, however, for piece of mind I believe that the price is worth paying.
  • Very minor criticisms – the thermometer would benefit from being backlit, so that a reading could be viewed in a dark room. In a similar vein it would be useful to be able to turn off the beeping sound! Sometimes I have been known to take my daughters temperature with it whilst she is asleep, and there is the slight risk that the beep might wake her up!!!
  • In case it wasn’t immediately obvious to others (it may have just been my baby brain!) there is space within the product to store the lens covers. I was originally storing them separately and thinking how stupid this was! Its only when I saw at the doctors that I managed to combine mine for storage!!

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Review – Lindam Adjustable Back Seat Mirror

Ok, I’ll admit it – I’m a paranoid mummy! During the first few weeks as a new mum, I would sit in the back seat with my daughter so that I could see her and make sure she was ok, whilst my partner drove our family car like a taxi driver! 🙂 I liked to be able to see that she was comfortable, notice if she nodded off, and make sure she wasn’t choking on bought up milk whilst we drove.

When my partner went back to work, we started to make journeys on our own, and I must admit I spent FAR too much time turning around to make sure my daughter was ok, which lets face it, isn’t great on the safety front!

One of my friends recommended that I purchase the Lindam Adjustable Back Seat Mirror so that I could see my daughter despite her being in a rear facing car seat, meaning that I could keep my eyes the road and quickly check she was ok with a brief flick of the eyes.

The RRP for this product is around £15, but on Amazon I was able to pick one up for around £9.

Unlike some baby car mirrors, this one is significantly large – measuring 32 x 23.8 x 6.9 cm, giving a large view of your babies face and neck. It works by strapping over the headrest with two adjustable straps, and a soft pillow, which rests against the headrest without causing any marks to the interior. It can then be angled using a pivoting system to set up the view that is most appropriate for you. I found the product really easy to fit to my car, and quickly angled the mirror so that I could see my daughter either in the rear view mirror, or by quickly looking over my shoulder at traffic lights etc.

My daughter went through a phase of being sick regularly in the car, and would make a horrible choking noise as she bought up her milk. When driving, this was extremely unnerving! The Lindam mirror enabled me to see that my daughter, although being sick, wasn’t distressed or choking, unlike the sound might have suggested!!!

Pros

  • Safe and convenient way of checking on your child in a rear facing car seat.
  • Large view
  • Easy to fit to vehicles (and therefore take out and fit in other cars as required).
  • Reassuring for driver
  • Can be angled according to the position of your child and your view.

Cons

  • Can be knocked easily. Whilst you might have it in the right position on setting out for your journey, the mirror is very easily knocked when getting out your car seat, particularly if you are using the seatbelt mechanism rather than an Isofix base. It is easily rectified, but does mean that each time I get in the car I usually need to adjust the mirror slightly before driving off. This isn’t a major issue, I would rather this and have the flexibility to adjust as needed.
  • It can be noisy!! Unfortunately the main criticism I have of this product is that it is noisy, the pivot mechanism being relatively fluid means that it can rattle quite significantly depending on the road surface you are driving on. I’ve kind of got used to this now, but if you are the kind of driver who is used to silence, this has the potential to bug you.
  • Finally, one thing that would make this product even better in my opinion is some kind of light. Now that the winter months are coming, with the darker mornings and evenings, at certain times of day the mirror is of no benefit. It would be great to still be able to see my daughter even when the winter draws in. There is another similar product – the Diono Easy View Plus Rear View Mirror with Night Light but this is more expensive at £20, and I have yet to personally experience this.

Overall, I believe the Lindam Adjustable Back Seat Mirror is a great purchase, particularly for new mums and dads who are doing reasonable length journeys with their child.

Have you got the Lindam Adjustable Back Seat Mirror? What do you think of it? Would you recommend to a friend? Please add your comments below! x

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