While toting around a growing and increasingly squirmy almost-1-year-old for most of the day, Mama's body takes quite the beating! While (of course) it's a good idea to follow ergonomic wisdom such as lifting from the legs rather than the back and using one's hips to bend over, proper form often goes out the window when you have 4 1/2 minutes to change baby, pack the diaper bag and hit the road!
As such, it's great to see new baby items come out on the market which not only have appreciable utility but also support the health and wellbeing of Mom and other caregivers. The Juppy Baby Walker is one such item, and thanks to the generous PR folks behind this product, I've had the opportunity to review it and share my experiences here at Manager to Mom!
So what exactly is The Juppy and how does it work? Well first of all, it is a baby walker so it's geared toward that 8-12+ month range when baby is beginning to find his/her feet. As walkers go, this one stands out for a few key reasons:
- According to the product website, it is "the only baby walker that fits in a purse!" And indeed it does - made of 100% cotton and weighing just 14.1 oz, you can fit this li'l guy just about anywhere.
- It is adult-assisted which means Mom, Dad or Grandpa has control over the process, keeping baby safe from potential hazards.
- It is one size fits most! As soon as baby begins to stand up and/or pull along furniture, he/she is ready to try The Juppy! The maximum recommended weight is 30 pounds so it should accommodate the vast majority of babies in the learning-to-walk stage.
- It is recommended by doctors, and can safely assist medically-fragile children, for example those contending with gross motor delays or recovering from surgery.
- Finally, it causes no back strain for the assisting adult, as the adjustable straps allow the adult to stand up straight rather than bending over which is inevitably required when assisting baby via the standard "hand holding" method.
Here is the official product video showing The Juppy in action!
You can view user photos and read more specs, FAQs, testimonials and other information about this new baby item on the Juppy's website.
For review purposes, I was sent a Juppy Baby Walker in blue, a drawstring carrying bag, a product information sheet and a list of instructions and warnings. The packaging was minimal, which I appreciated.
Here's a close-up of the Juppy from the front. Notice the adjustable straps which help accommodate each particular pairing of baby and assisting adult.
And a close-up from the back. The zippered closure makes it easy to "slide Juppy on like a pair of pants!"
When we first received our Juppy, our daughter S was 10 1/2 months old and not a fan of assisted walking. She was standing up, cruising around and leaning on just about everything, but when we'd try to get her to walk with us, she'd generally pull the limp spaghetti move and crumple back down to the floor. It was her way or the highway!
Needless to say, we were quite curious how she would react to the Juppy. On the one hand, she would still be receiving assistance, but on the other, she'd have more control over the process.
True to description, the Juppy was easy to slip on and adjust, taking about 30 seconds total. I did have to double check the product sheet to confirm it was on right, as most pants have the zipper in the front (and, in fact, my husband put her in it backwards one night - oops!) The correct direction is, indeed, logo at the front and zipper at the back.
At first, S wasn't quite sure what to do. She continued to go limp a bit, and then straightened and grabbed onto the straps. After several jaunts around the kitchen, though, she appeared to be figuring things out and enjoying herself! In terms of ergonomics, this approach was definitely easier on the back (little to no strain) than leaning over and holding baby's hands. And I think S appreciated the additional freedom allowing her to lead the way, change directions, control speed, etc. She looks pretty pleased, dont'cha think?
A few nights later, Grandma came over to babysit and reported that S kept pointing to the Juppy and wanting to go back in for a few more laps! At the end of it all, Grandma said her back felt just fine.
Although we have used the Juppy regularly around the house, I found it particularly fun & helpful last week when we were on vacation. We stayed at a resort with a long hall separating our room from the restaurant and front desk, so this was perfect for some extended Juppy-ing not to mention a couple thrilling, high-speed Daddy chase scenes! :) For comparison purposes, I tried hand-walking my daughter down the same hall and my back started feeling the strain less than halfway down. I also walked her outside the restaurant where she happily scurried over to some flowers and started touching them. At that moment, I really appreciated the hands-free nature of the Juppy; this, along with the ability to "lead the way" must really instill confidence and a sense of adventure in baby!
Using the Juppy on holidays got a lot of attention from onlookers as well. We received numerous comments about how creative it was, how it looks wonderful for building leg strength, how baby gear has come a long way, etc. Here's a video we took of S enjoying the Juppy at the Hard Rock Cafe! You can hear one such observer's comment near the beginning of the video.
Throughout our testing, I did have some questions about positioning while using the Juppy, so I got in touch with my PR contact who was very helpful. Here are some of the points we went over:
- Although the product video shows assisting adults walking normally, it is OK to walk with a wider stance (as long as your back is still straight) so that baby "fits" better in the middle. I suspect this approach is the easiest when baby is still unstable, whereas more sure-footed babies would probably tend to zoom out in front creating some space and allowing Mom or Dad to walk regularly again.
- It is also OK for baby to lean forward in the Juppy, at least early on. My contact mentioned that some babies like to look at the floor as they're learning to walk. However as babies become steadier, they should move about in a more upright position. I was glad to hear this as we were initially trying to "choke up" on the straps to keep our daughter straight up, but turns out this wasn't necessary.
- The optimal position for the adult's arms is straight down, but some people who have tried the Juppy prefer elbows bent and forearms parallel to the floor. This appears to be a personal preference.
- To ensure safety and balance, baby's arms should remain between the side straps and not come out front. S tended to bring her arms out this way at times, but mostly when she was getting squirmy and it was time to do something else anyway.
In terms of constructive feedback, I do have the thoughts below. I shared a few of these with my PR contact who was very appreciative. The staff are obviously passionate about their product and committed to continuous improvement, which is great!
- The straps have about 3-4 inches of adjustment room, which seems fairly short. I might recommend another inch or two to best accommodate all pairings of baby and assisting adult.
- The printed material included with the product could use some enhancements. For example, adding visuals to the instructions would remove uncertainty around how to put baby in, proper positioning, etc. Also, adding laundry/care instructions here would be helpful.
- I personally found the carrying bag (attractive as it is) to be extraneous. I'm very practical and efficiency-motivated, so I am happy to just throw the juppy in my diaper bag or purse directly. As such, I proposed offering the Juppy alone at a slightly reduced price and selling the carrying bag as an add-on for those who do want it.
Another small downside to note is that the Juppy only supports babies up to 30 pounds. This accommodates the vast majority of pre-walkers, but might not be suitable for a small percentage of little ones at the top of the weight curve.
All in all, the Juppy is definitely a helpful baby item at this stage of the game, especially for caregivers with lower back issues and/or babies who are taking awhile to feel confident on their feet. It is inconclusive whether the Juppy actually shortens the time it takes for a baby to walk, but it certainly makes the journey more comfortable and fun!
You can purchase your own Juppy Baby Walker directly from the Juppy website. You can purchase the original model (without lining) in black for $19.95, or a fully-lined model in pink, blue or black for $29.95 USD. You can also personalize the Juppy with your baby's name, if desired, for an additional cost. Note the shipping charges and timeframes on the right side of the page.
How would you like to win a Juppy Baby Walker of your own? Well, you have a chance right here at Manager to Mom! The winner will receive a lined Juppy (like I reviewed) in either pink or blue - winner's choice!
To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Comments do not count as entries, however feel free to add a comment to remind yourself that you entered!
Disclosure: The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by The Juppy Baby Walker. I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive the sample item free of charge. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.