Friday, March 28, 2014

Introducing the New (and Beautiful!) Seneca Washable Playard with Dream Centre by Ingenuity

Has there ever been a product that you just drooled over?  That you just knew was the product you needed to make parenthood easier with newborns and toddlers?  The moment I first saw Ingenuity's revolutionary washable playard I knew I wanted it.  When they added the Dream Centre, there was no mistaking it: I had to have this!  We have two pack 'n plays, one for our house and one for grandma's, and they were lifesavers that first year.  They were both always set up and used daily.  The one thing the one at our house didn't have was a dream centre/newborn napper, and I was torn between getting the new washable playard and a competitive Graco playard that had one for our next baby because of it.  Now, Ingenuity has set the bar to unseen-before heights. They've set the standard for quality, durable, must-have playards everywhere.

And if they couldn't get any better, they just released the beautiful and perfectly gender neutral Seneca Collection.  Things just got real.

Now, amazingness comes at a price: this playard does weigh more than I'd like.  It has a ton of features though, so you can't blame it.  Its a worthy trade-off in my book, but if you travel frequently this may not be the playard for you.  There's lots of parts, but its surprisingly fast and easy to put together.  There's no fighting with bars going in or out, and everything snaps together nicely.  Now, you'll never get it all into the little carrying case the playard itself comes in, but if you don't need the changing station or dream centre then its convenient to have.  And because Ingenuity is so thoughtful, they even included the batteries for you!  Another reason why Ingenuity goes above and beyond with their customers and their products!
From their website:
All the fabrics zip off in minutes so you can throw them in your washing machine. The DreamCentre features plush fabrics and breathable mesh to provide the ideal place for baby to rest. The changing table is the perfect height to make changes convenient and it pivots easily out of the way when you don't need it. We help you stay organized with a removable organizer tray, and we've made it easier than ever before to fold and transport thanks to our OneLessStep™ design so you can fold the entire playard without removing the bassinet!

The Soothing Sounds Station™ provides 5 calming melodies and 3 nature sounds. Includes handy wheels and a travel bag for easy transport.

  • Fabrics easily remove for machine washing
  • Dream Centre™ features soft fabrics, breathable mesh, and canopy with plush toys
  • One Less Step™: quickly fold & go without removing bassinet
  • Just Right Height™: Elevated changing table easily pivots out of the way
  • Soothing Sounds Station™: 5 melodies and 3 nature sounds to comfort baby
  • Removable organizer tray

Our last pack n play had this annoying changing table.  It had this metal 'loop' rod thing that held it up and out, but didn't have anything to distribute the weight evenly (like bracing it on the pack n play itself).  So, Buddy Doo always slid sideways and on one side.  Incredibly frustrating!  In fact, it was so much so that from that point on it was the first thing I looked for when looking at playards!  I'm in love with the changing table on the Seneca.  It has that prop to snap the table securely into place as well as distribute baby's weight evenly.  No more sliding onto one side!  Its at a great height for changes so mommy's back doesn't break every diaper change, and it even flips out of the way with a quick unsnap on both ends.  The part that comes into contact with baby is machine washable too, so there's no more awkward dances with trying to avoid contact with baby and table before he's been wiped clean.  The organizer tray snaps securely in as well and provides diapers, wipes, and accessories like creams or baggies within reach.  Its a sturdy plastic instead of a flimsy fabric-with-cardboard-bottoms too so it'll hold up for the long haul.

The Dream Centre didn't disappoint either.  The  velour is so incredibly soft, and I'm somewhat jealous we can't climb in there ourselves.  The cushion for the head sort of 'free floats' so I do wish there was a was to secure it down, but I also like the option of being able to remove it if I needed.  There's breathable mesh on both sides near where the newborn's head rests, and the gentle angle is soothing without being unsafe or uncomfortable.  To complete the calming atmosphere of the Dream Centre, the canopy has two plush insects (lady bug and snail) dangling from the hood.  Overall its a great, elevated space for a swaddled newborn to catch some shut eye.....especially if you have pets or older siblings that are too curious to let them relax in a bouncer!

Now what truly sets this playard above the rest: machine washable fabric!  As expected, there's a lot of parts to take apart when you're wanting to wash the whole playard.  I wouldn't count this as a negative simply because of how easy it is to take all of these parts off!  Everything either slips right off like a sheet (ex: changing table), unzips right off (like the mattress or the bassinet piece), or just has to undo the velcro (like the playard itself).  Too easy!  When Buddy Doo chewed, drooled, and even spilt a sippy in the Seneca, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to it out in the washing machine!  Not only did it come out looking brand new, it reminded me how wonderful of an investment this will be for both future babies and if we decide to donate or sell years from now.

I love this playard.  I love the design.  I love the Dream Centre!! I love the Changing Table.  I even love the name - Seneca!  Hands down one of my absolute favorite review items ever, and has certainly made my list for top 3 baby must-haves (it saves space, is a great investment, and is super practical!).  There's so many neat features, both big and small, that I feel like I only scratched the surface in this review.  I didn't even mention earlier that it has a Soothing Sounds Station to lull baby to sleep, or that the bassinet actually stays on when folded/unfolded.  Oh! And you know those annoying metal circle-things you have to push to unlock a metal bar from its socket (you know, the ones that poke out to let you know the bar is locked in place)?  You know how hard they can be to push in/unlock?  Yeah, they even have this nifty contraption in the picture above (bottom right of the 7 picture collage) so that's a thing of the past!  You just push that button and wham-o! The bar is unlocked and can be pulled out! Ingenuity has gone all out with this playard.  Each of their new collections keep getting better and better, and I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

BUY IT:  You can find the beautiful new Seneca Collection by Ingenuity at their website.  The Washable Playard with Dream Centre featured in this review is brand new and not yet available for purchase.  It will be soon though, so stay tuned!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

{New Year, New Gear} Let Me Introduce You to the NEW Boba 4G! {Boba Ambassador)

 This review will be an exciting two-parter with the 4G being reviewed first by Kelley at Savy Mommy Moments with her newborn, then by Brittany at Buddy Doo's Adventure-Roos! with her 38lb toddler.  Finally, we'll compare the 4G to the 3G we reviewed back in February of last year! Hope you enjoy :)

First off, let's explore some of the awesome features of the new Boba 4G Baby Carrier with 
Kelley from Savy Mommy Moments!: 

Beautiful design - The Boba I received is the Tweet pattern.  This pattern is really nice! It features a pattern of beautifully colored birds and leaves against a chocolate brown background.  I have received several compliments on how beautiful it is.

Removable sleeping hood - The hood is extremely easy to use, snap on/off, and store away.  I found it useful for providing darkness while the baby sleeps, additional head support when she is awake and also discreet nursing. 

Comfortably fits heights 5'0" - 6'3" - At only 5'2", with other similar carriers I have found they are too tall for my torso.  But, this is not the case with the 4G! It fits me and Savy Daddy (5'10") really well!

Waistband range: 25" - 58" - This waistband is awesome! It not only accommodates a huge range of size, but it is really easy to adjust. I have never had a carrier that is so easy to adjust in the waist.

Additional adjustment for easier fit breastfeeding - This carrier has all the standard adjustment straps you find in most carriers, but there is also one additional set.  These are on the sides and allow you to easily adjust the carrier a slight amount to bring the baby further away or closer to you for nursing.  I personally found these to work well for that purpose and they are fairly easy to operate with one hand. 

Removable foot straps - Since I am using this for a newborn/infant, I didn't get a chance to test out the foot straps, but they definitely look to be very useful for older children.  I did try out how they snap on/off and it was extremely easy and only required one hand to operate!

Elastic bands neatly roll up straps - This is a cool feature. It's not a necessity, but it is nice to not have the straps hanging down all over the place.  You just roll it up with elastic bands and it stays in place while you wear your baby around. 

Shoulder strap holders keep purse in place - Although I'm not big on carrying purses, I did actually try this feature out.  I was in the return line at one of our local stores and I was holding my return merchandise in one hand and needed to find my credit card with the other.  This strap held my purse in place so it didn't fall to the ground while I rustled all around trying to blindly find the card. I was really impressed that they thought of this feature!

Easily adjustable chest strap - This strap goes behind your upper back/shoulder blades to provide maximum support and security when carrying your little one.  It is extremely easy to adjust with just one hand and slides up and down to get the correct fit on your back. 

Uniquely designed to "hug" your child - Baby L. really loves this carrier! Once she is in it, she immediately goes to sleep. During her first few months this was a lifesaver because she wanted to be "hugged" all the time and with two young siblings running around the house, we needed a handsfree way to help them and carry her.  This is definitely the answer and she loves her Boba 4G "hugs"! 

Includes Integrated Infant Insert - One of the frustrating things for me is spending money on a product for my babies but then having to buy an extra piece so that they can actually use it for the first few months.  So, I was thrilled that the 4G now includes the integrated infant insert.  It's such a cool insert as it is adjustable depending on your child's age, height and weight.  There is one adjustment for tiny newborns and another for infants that are a few months+ old or bigger than average. 

Body of carrier rises 2"-3" higher than other brands - This feature is really nice because my kids tend to have taller torsos and really short legs.  With the higher rise, they are provided the right support and I don't have to worry about their safety!

Multiple pockets for on-the-go storage - It's nice that they have included some storage on this carrier.  I found that it's good for putting some cash or my phone in it.  I have a Galaxy S4 and it's a bit of a tight fit (with a case on it), but it still fits and it's easy to reach.  The pockets have zippers so nothing will fall out, which is good too! I use it for short and quick trips to the store so I don't have to lug around a purse. 

Now let's talk about how easy to use this is: 

This is one of my favorite go-to carriers now.  It's so easy to put on, adjust and put the baby in that I wish I had one with my previous two children! Easy adjustable straps and a perfect body fit design provides a seamless experience with getting it on and baby into it.  As for getting baby out, it's even easier! Just loosen a few straps (can be done one handed) and lift baby out for easy removal! It takes just a few seconds which is really important. Especially in parking lots in this extremely cold winter we are having in Chiberia! (Chicago).

Finally, we just really love this carrier: 

It's the first one Savy Daddy was able to put on and have it fit him really nicely and it's my favorite as well! It's provides us both with a comfortable and safe place to carry around our sweet baby while tending to things that we need to get done.  It only takes a few minutes and she is usually fast asleep in it!  Thank you Boba for using your ingenuity to come up with a carrier that truly meets all our needs. I highly recommend this for anyone that has babies/toddlers or is expecting! It's a purchase you are unlikely to regret.

Now, let's see what Brittany at Buddy Doo's Adventure-Roos! had to say about the new Boba 4G with her toddler!:

We already pledged our babywearing hearts to Boba after falling in love with the 3G during our review last February (you can find the review here), so we were excited to try out the new and improved 4G!

Looks similar to the 3G, right? So, what's new with the 4G?  The 4G's upgrades are tailored more-so towards newborns with the integrated infant insert that snaps in and out as well as adjusting for newborns as they grow, but we've found its other features have improved babywearing with our toddler as well.  

The first thing I noticed, other than the insert, was that they added an extra snap!  I'm thrilled to see this!  I've told myself over and over again that I was going to add my own snaps to the hood but never got around to it.  Looks like Boba beat me to it!

With an extra snap, Buddy Doo would've been covered!

Believe it or not, the extra arm space intended to improve breastfeeding accessibility has been wonderful with a squirmy toddler as well.  He's always wanting to see absolutely everything, so he moves a ton.  Sometimes he'll work himself into quite an uncomfortable position for mommy to carry his weight, but with the extra room I can now readjust him quite easily.  He's also in this 'I'm a newborn not a heavy toddler so you must hold me all the time!' stage, so its nice having that extra room for him to snack from his snack catcher or sippy in comfortably.  This has saved many a grocery trips! I can't wait to try it out with breastfeeding our next.

We love our 3G.  We love our 4G.  We own around 12 different style carriers, wraps, and slings and Boba still wins over for every age and weight range.  The versatility, comfort, and freedom it provides has opened so many doors for us to explore as a family, as well as given me a helping hand as a stay-at-home-mom when I'm home alone with our son or needing to run around town.  Instead of a carrier that is better suited for one end of the age spectrum or weight range, the Boba 4G captures it all in the only carrier you will ever need uniting quality with affordability.  
Boba brings freedom together.

Here are some fantastic videos to help familiarize yourself with babywearing in a 4G and all the different holds and front/back carry!


Buy it: Start carrying your baby or toddler with the new Boba 4G for $125.  Afraid you won't be able to enjoy babywearing with all this cold weather we're experiencing?  Add the Boba Vest ($55) or Boba Hoodie ($70) in your shopping cart!

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Keep Warm and Babywear On with the new Boba Vest! #BobaAmbassador

Spring is here, but its cold in most of the US, and when its not cold, its only a week away from being chilly again.  Even near New Orleans, LA we've been feeling mixed temperatures of sunny and warm one week and chilly, jacket-weather the next.  So, we were excited for the opportunity to review the Boba Vest and continue babywearing without the bulky jackets!

At first I wanted the hoodie because it was made of cotton, but I tend to get hotter faster than Buddy Doo so I found the vest was more in our favor.  While we experience our fair share of extreme temperatures (it was colder in Baton Rouge than Anchorage, Alaska this winter after all), we normally don't experience too much of it.  Something versatile like the Boba vest where I can wear a short sleeve if the weather is just cold enough for Buddy Doo, or a long sleeve shirt when its really cold, was exactly what I was looking for.

Description from website:

  • May be worn on the front or back
  • Made of 100% Polyester Fleece
  • Two zippered pockets
  • Side openings allow you to access your baby to breastfeed and tend to your child's needs
  • Works great under a coat for cold temperatures
  • Side zipper for easy on and off without scratching your baby
Shopping in warmth with our Boba Vest!
(I apologize for the annoying 'mirror picture'; hubs had to work long shifts all month and Buddy Doo was usually asleep when he came home or left for work)

What I like: I love how warm it is.  Its a lot warmer than I expected!  Buddy Doo enjoys how bundled up and 'snoogly' it makes him, and we both are excited that it doesn't limit the option to forward or back carry.  We don't breastfeed anymore so I can't give a verdict on how friendly it is for breastfeeding, but I can see how its definitely possible and accessible.  One of my favorite features is how they made sure to have it go the length of the toddler's feet.  I mean seriously! How awesome is that?  Even in the foot stirrups, Buddy Doo's legs and piggies were nice and warm in the vest.

What I dislike: The zipper was soooo awkward for me.  I'm almost 100% positive its completely 'user error' though.  I have psoriasis on my fingers that tend to get really bad in winter leaving these big gashes in my finger tips.  This makes grabbing things like zippers (or buttoning, or anything really) difficult and extremely painful.  So, yes, the zipper was difficult to access for me with a toddler in front since its on my side.  I couldn't exactly zip straight down at the time, but again that's something that is most likely completely my fault and due to my condition.  I feel like I should mention it though, in case this is an issue any of you experience as well.  The other down side I found was that you couldn't really use the pockets when back-carrying.

Verdict: We're impressed at how handy the vest has been for us!  Its ease of use and comfort has done wonders for our warmth....especially on those days where waiting to finagle a jacket on both of you after getting out of the car seat (and into your Boba!) will freeze you into a human popsicle in minutes.  Even without sleeves, the vest keeps you at a nice temperature so you can both enjoy freedom together...even in the winter months!

BUY IT: You can purchase the Boba Vest or the Boba Hoodie at their website for $55 and $70!

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