Friday, March 22, 2013

Displaying Childrens' Art: A Super-Simple Approach

Now that our daughter's well into her twos, she's blossoming into quite the little artist! She regularly brings home masterpieces from daycare and we've recently been particularly crafty at home as well. When it came to showcasing her creations, our fridge wasn't cutting it with its single item capacity, so I consulted Pinterest for inspiration on creating a multi-item display. As expected, my pal came through and we adopted the following variant in our own living room, situated suitably above our daughter's art table.

Simple DIY Childrens' Art Wall

A string, two hooks, several clothes pins and less than 10 minutes was all it took to put together this super-practical, rustic yet whimsical display. Our line is about 5 feet across and can display 7-8 pieces. When it's time to display a new one, we simply pop open a clothes pin and either remove an older piece or place the new one in front.

Our wall spans two hutches so we were able to adhere the hooks to these. But the hooks are tiny so securing them directly into the wall would certainly be viable too.

How/where do you display your children's art? How many creations can you display at a time?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Giggle Life Ultra Soft Cloth Diaper: Review & Giveaway! (Closed)

Over a year ago, I reviewed the wonderful one size bamboo cloth diaper & inserts from Giggle Life Baby Products (a cloth diapering company based in my hometown of Kitchener, Ontario). This time around, I'll be providing the lowdown on their one size Ultra Soft cloth diaper. This is the first diaper I've had the chance to "officially" review on both my children (including a year and a half's worth of wear on my daughter!), so I'll be providing thoughts on performance, fit, etc. from infant through toddler perspectives.

Company Information:

Here at Giggle Life we are firm believers that cloth diapers are the best way to go for diapering because they are better for the environment, better for the baby's health, and they will save you money! The quality of our cloth diapers are among the best and we are also one of the most affordable brands because we use a direct to consumer approach. Our goal is to build awareness and make cloth diapers affordable enough that they become the primary choice for diapering. 

You can read more background info in my previous review post.

Product Information (abridged):

These reusable diapers are one size fits all (8-33lbs).

The Diaper Consists of 2 Parts: A Waterproof Outer Cover & 2 Large Microfiber Inserts/Liners.

Outer Cover: Soft and durable TPU laminated fabric. Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is a composition specifically adapted to produce non-porous membranes which creates a waterproof seal but is still water vapor transmissible. 

Inner Layer: Improved Ultra Soft Micro Fleece. Moisture will be absorbed very quickly by the inserts, keep baby's bottom dry and comfortable.

Inserts: Made from 100% unbleached Microfiber, an environmentally friendly material with many tiny strands. It has a 40 times more absorbent surface area over cotton, very absorbent, less bulky, easy to wash and dry.

The intelligent snap buttons allows this diaper to have three different rise options and multiple tummy settings for a custom fit from birth to potty training.

Available in:

My Review:

I received a Giggle Life Ultra Soft cloth diaper in the Safari print and two microfiber inserts to review.


I love this print. The animals are super cute and it's gender neutral, so my kiddos can share!:)

Here you can see the diaper on the the smallest and largest settings, as well as fully unbuttoned. Notice there are 12 waist snaps sewn in close together and a crossover option on the smallest setting. This allows for some nice sizing flexibility.

The Ultra Soft includes a single row of waist snaps and two snaps on each wing. This is different than the bamboo which includes a double row and three snaps on each wing. So there's a tradeoff - the bamboo stays in place a bit better but the Ultra Soft is quicker to put on. 

Brand new Ultra Soft diapers are certainly true to their name. The microfleece inner looks and feels very lush, the outer is silky smooth and the inserts are thick and plush.


The softness does degrade over time (more on this shortly) but from what I can tell this is inevitable with microfleece & microfiber materials.

The pocket opening is roomy, allowing for easy stuffing.

Finally, the back of the waist and the legs are elasticized. The front of the waist isn't.

OK, let's get our little models to work!

First, our DD S (27 months and 26 pounds). She's a slender gal so currently wears the rise on the largest setting but the waist on a medium setting. The diaper fits snugly and stays put as she does all her fun toddler stuff.

Second, our little man CJ (2 months and 10-11 lbs in these photos). He's certainly happy to be sportin' a Giggle Life!

As you can see above, I secured it first at the tightest "uncrossed" waist setting. I found this a bit too loose though so tried it at the crossover setting. This resulted in a slightly "pinchy" waist fit, but didn't seem to make him uncomfortable.

Ideally I'd choose a tightness for him at this point between these two settings. Obviously this is a challenge with one size snap closure diapers in general!

Our Mr. Man has ridiculously skinny legs, so there's a bit of a gap between the leg elastic and his thighs, even when secured at the crossover setting.

This is an issue with most OS diapers at this point, however, so I can't really knock the Ultra Softs for this.

As I mentioned earlier, S has actually been wearing these diapers for a year and a half as I received some previously via a giveaway win and my earlier review package. So now that CJ has had a go too, we've been able to thoroughly test the 10-26 pound range. All in all, the Ultra Soft diapers have performed very well throughout! For some reason, we had leakage with one of the earlier diapers I received (S was 9-10 months old and about 15 pounds) but Giggle Life was quick to replace it with another which performed just fine. I'm really perplexed by the leakage in the one diaper as it has no visible flaws and looks just like the others, but I guess some mysteries are meant to go unsolved. In any case, good on the company for their great customer service and for standing behind their products 100%. Also, I ended up converting the "offending" diaper into an all-in-two, using it with another brand of insert laid on top, and this has worked quite well!

All the other Ultra Soft diapers we own have performed very well as designed, both during the day and at night with both inserts on our medium-wetter. The only other (very few) leakage incidents occurred with S either when the diaper was saturated or not secured very well. Despite the leg gap I noted on CJ, the diaper didn't leak either time he wore it. Note that we haven't had a chance to test EBF poop (yet) - will update if/when we do!

Overall, I consider the Ultra Soft a workorse diaper - it's not fancy but it has performed very well overall. It is also quite durable. The stitching, snaps, elastics and TPU outer all remain in excellent condition on the oldest ones. The microfleece inner and the microfibre inserts do lose their plush quality over time, but this seems to be unavoidable with these types of fibres. (All other microfleece/fiber items in my stash have done the same.)

Time for the official eval!


+ Simple but attractive design
+ Available in a nice variety of colours and patterns
+ Despite the single row of waist snaps, no notable wing droop or sagging
+/- The diaper is pretty trim with a single insert, but gets quite bulky with both
Score: 4.5/5

+ Great performance overall (tested 10-26 lb range), including at night (on medium wetter; both inserts used)
+/- Leg gap present on our 2 month old / 10 pound little man with skinny legs, though no leakage so far
- Experienced leakage with one of the four US diapers we own, but company quick to replace with another. Now use "problem" diaper successfully as an AI2.
? Haven't been able to test yet on EBF poop.
Score: 4/5

Comfort & Health:
+ Does not leave notable marks on baby's skin
+ Does not appear to cause/exacerbate diaper rash
+/- In the middle weight range (15-25+ pounds), achieves snug fit without pinching. Numerous waist snaps present to achieve comfy waist fit. Noted leg gap and difficulty finding the perfect setting on our 2 month old, however (currently between the crossover and first non-crossed setting).
+/- Microfleece inner starts out super-soft but loses plushness over time
- Fabrics are synthetic, so not the most breathable of all options out there. (This hasn't been an issue for our little ones but may be for certain babies.) Also prone to getting stinky so need to strip them more often than diapers and inserts made from natural materials.
- Would be nice if the waist material was a little stretchy for ultimate comfort
Score: 3/5

Ease of Use:
+ Easy to stuff via large pocket
+ Easy to launder; no special instructions
+ Pocket diaper + not-too-tight waist snaps = quick & easy changes
- Inserts not designed to come out in the wash on their own 
Score: 4.5/5 

Quality & Durability:
+ Well-made; no loose seams, flawed stitching, etc. on any of the US diapers we own
+ Stitching, snaps, elastics and TPU outer remain in excellent condition after 1.5 years of use
- Microfleece inner and microfibre inserts lose their plushness over time (unavoidable with these types of fibres)
Score: 4.5/5


Total "Diaper Awesomeness" Score: 20.5/25 (Great diaper. Highly recommended.)

Overall Comments: A solid "workhorse" diaper - basic but attractive design, performs well, easy to use and durable. Biggest gripe is that the microfleece and microfibre materials lose plushness over time, are prone to getting funky and aren't as breathable as natural fibres - but this is an issue with all diapers containing these fibres.

Estimated Stash Cost: $334.99
Calculation details: 24 Ultra Soft diapers (bought in bulk) cost 159.99. Diapers fit from 8-33 lbs so the OS premium is $175.00 for a total estimated "stash cost" of $334.99.


Buy It:

Visit Giggle Life Baby Products to purchase your own stash of Ultra Soft diapers! Individual diapers sell for $16.99 CAD, however you save a HUGE amount by ordering in bulk so this is definitely the way to go if you think these diapers are right for your babe(s). Free ground shipping is available to Canada and continental USA via UPS and Canada Post.

Bonus: When you purchase 10 or more diapers, include the promo code "BLPRM" in the comment box during checkout with your child's age and gender for a free mystery gift valued $7.99 to $34.99! This cannot be combined with any other promo codes or offers

Win It:

Giggle Life has offered to give away a one size Ultra Soft cloth diaper + two inserts to one lucky Manager to Mom reader! Winner chooses colour from among available colours/patterns. Open to CAN/US.

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Please follow all instructions within each entry option to ensure your entries are valid.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by Giggle Life Baby Products.  I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive a sample item free of charge.  This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

CJ at 3 months: Mr. Moo!

In my post on CJ's first month, I commented that time was going nice and slow. Can I take that back now?? It feels like I wrote his 2 month post yesterday! Our little guy's growing toooooo faaast!

If I hadn't used Mr. Happy as the title of my last post, I'd choose it now. Because we really are blessed with the smiliest, happiest little man! When he's not freaking out wanting to nurse for 2-3 hours straight, that is - something he's prone to do in the evenings. Which led me to the current title (and oft-used recent nickname)!

Official 3 Month Photo:

(Compare with his 1 Month and 2 Month photos.)

Physical Development:  

Weight: 12 lb (25th percentile)
Height: 25" (between 50th and 75th percentile)

So yup, long and skinny like his mom!

He's meeting his strength and agility milestones nicely. He can now hold his head up almost perfectly and will press down with his legs when held upright. He also likes to work those leg and neck muscles in his bouncer and car seat, lifting both up together into a baby "boat pose". (His sister used to do this too!)

Near the end of the month, he gained the ability to hold and mouth objects - a whole new world of discovery and stimulation!

He has also taken to grabbing and playing with my shirt while nursing. {Heart!}

The other day, I went to grab a diaper cover and some clothes and found him on the playmat like this.

Half way there, Buds! Nice work!

He continues to give us a run for our money during changes. His latest move is to lift his bum up in the air and simultaneously kick back off the diaper (grinning the whole time, of course!).

His hair is getting thicker, longer and a little coarser. It's still brown (and appears to be darkening) but S' was the same until about 5-6 months when she went light blonde, so no conclusions to be drawn just yet. Though his eyes are definitely darker than hers were at this point. We'll see!!

One less awesome thing - his spitups have increased during Month 3. Mostly standard milky ones but sometimes nastier, smelly puke ones. Looks like we're dealing with some reflux (which may explain the crazy night nursing too), but seems it's in the realm of normal so not too worried at this point. We give him lots of upright time to help ease any discomfort. My Moby Wrap's certainly getting a lot of usage!

Cognitive, Social & Emotional Development:

Really, same theme as month 2. Smiles, coos and giggles galore! The patented "Kisses are coming!" move in particular rarely fails to elicit a chuckle. I've noticed that he smiles like his Dad - he uses his whole face and his forehead even raises up. Now that his vision is better, he loooooves looking at himself in the mirror!

He is also captivated by books with bright, bold illustrations.

People-wise, he continues to prefer looking at me. No real mystery here - I'm kinda pertinent to his survival & all. :)

His crying continues to be easily "diagnosable" for the most part. Hungry, tired, wet bum, bored/lonely, yucky tummy - that generally sums up the possibilities.

He has started making some interesting sounds when he's grumpy and in the pre-crying stage. Waaaah-o waaah-o waaa-o wooooo type noises. I'll have to catch a video of this as it's pretty amusing! (Yeah I know - I'm a mean mommy!)


Things have gone from good to great in the night sleeping department! For the last few weeks, CJ has slept for about 10 hours straight every night (approx. 11-12 pm to 9 AM). If I'm aloud to complain a li'l, though, things could be peachier in the nap department. He's starting to settle into a 3-nap routine (late morning, mid-afternoon and mid-evening), but recently they tend toward being cat naps - a mere 20-25 minutes each. This can make it challenging to get stuff done, and my back is beginning to feel the effect of one-hand blogging at the kitchen table while he nurses! (Like we're doing right now. :) He also doesn't go down nor remain down easily. Generally he needs to be nursing, carried/wrapped or in motion to fall asleep and remain that way for longer than a few minutes. S was like this too early on; it wasn't until we switched her to a single nap per day at about 11 months that she slept more independently and for much longer stretches. We're also trying to move his bedtime earlier as it'll be nice to claim back some child-free time.
We moved CJ to his crib just before 3 months - a tad later than we moved S. He only had an inch or two of room left so it was definitely time!

He took to his new big bed like a champ, continuing to sleep just as well as he did in the bassinet.

Adjusting as a Family:

Definitely still finding our rhythm here, but I'm also working on being more gentle with myself and more accepting in general. Simple fact - some days are going to be easier than others. Sometimes the house will be clean and sometimes it'll look like a bomb exploded and I won't have the time or energy to get things in order. Some days I give myself mad creds for my parenting skillz and other days fear CPS may come a knockin'. :) Such is life with a spirited toddler and a non-napping infant! But overall, it's all good - we have two beautiful, healthy children, financial stability, a wonderfully supportive family network and many other blessings. It's so easy to focus on the negatives, so I try to take a moment here and there to appreciate all the good stuff too!

What were your children like at 3 months old? What did you find the most rewarding and/or challenging? Do you practice affirmations, meditate, or use any other techniques to keep a mental and emotional check when life gets chaotic?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Out Cold!

Sometimes our 27-month-old refuses to nap. We know she still needs the rest; she just often fights it until she has nothing left in the tank! This was one of those days. Regular (1:00) nap time fail, but then she conked out 2 hours later while out on a walk! We didn't have the heart to wake her so lifted her (wagon and all) into the front hallway and let her sleep in her snow pants! :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

S at 27 months: "She's So Two"

I took some flak following my 24-month S development post for saying I wasn't a fan of "The Terrible Twos" (the phrase, not the stage). The most common response? "You haven't gone through it yet."

Y'all were right. :)

Months 24 to 27 have certainly brought its share of meltdowns, overt stubbornness and (at times) a seeming inability to listen and comply at all, and indeed this can certainly get frustrating and exhausting!

But - I still don't like the aforementioned label, alliterative as it may be. :) Instead, Chris and I have grown fond of glancing at each other during one of S' episodes and proclaiming "She's So Two!"

Let's catch up on some official monthly pics!

25 months:

S at 25 months

26 months:

S at 26 months

27 months:

(Apparently she's auditioning for Canada's Next Top Toddler Model in this one!)

S at 27 months

I also love this shot of her taken close to 27 months. She's all Chris in so many ways, but definitely has my own "gummy" smile!

S gummy smile

Stats-wise, she's just under 34" tall (one more inch 'til she can hit up the kiddy slides at Great Wolf Lodge - woot!) and weighs 26 lbs. [Insert standard comment about her continued residence on the lowest quarter of both growth spectrums here.]

In addition to being "so two", a lot of awesomeness has emerged during the 24-27 month window. Here's a laundry list of notables:
    • She has taken to describing and narrating everything in great detail! Some examples:
      • [Pointing at a picture on the wall with foam stickers on it.] There's an orange elephant and a purple elephant and a blue elephant and a brown horsey and a red giraffe with black spots on it!
      • [Describing how she called my bluff when she wanted to go back to daycare on the way home one day.] I got out of the wagon and started running then I fell down and got my boots and pants wet and dirty!
      • [Recalling a conversation she had with Daddy earlier that day.] I was playing with a green ball and Daddy said "Do you want to go to Great Gramma and Grampa's?" and I said "No no no no no!" 
    • She uses sound effects and hand actions to augment her stories. For example: We go pffffff to cool down the oatmeal!
    • She states her preferences clearly and often provides reasoning. E.g., I don't like brown bananas. They have dirty spots.
    • She's becoming more conversational, often asking people questions. E.g., Have you been to the Great Wolf Lodge, Nana? She often asks me what I'm doing when it isn't obvious to her.
    • She has started using a lot more adjectives. For example: 
      • Can I have some more delicious oatmeal?
      • These are really beautiful flowers on my shirt!
    • She wants to be part of all conversations, and will voice her displeasure when she feels left out. When adults are talking to each other around her, she'll often ask What are you talking about? or demand that everyone Stop talking!
    • She knows the difference between real crying and fake crying and will usually admit when she's doing the latter. :)
    • She is starting to play much more interactively with her peers. For example, she talks about how she plays trains and hide & seek with the kids at daycare, and she'll engage her friends in make believe play. (I'm a rabbit! Sammy, you be a frog!)
    • She's really beginning to understand emotions. One of her current favourite toys is a bear dress-up puzzle which has six faces all with different expressions - happy, sad, angry, sleepy, sick and surprised. We often refer to the bears when we're discussing emotions - for example, I'll say "What kind of bear is Mommy right now?" and make a face, and she'll name the emotion. Then she'll do this back to me!
    • She now jumps, skips or runs pretty much everywhere she goes. She loves to count to 10 and then jump onto stuff - a pile of pillows, her little couch, Mommy, etc. Thankfully she hasn't tried this with her little brother! (Yet.)
    • Speaking of CJ, S has generally become gentler with him (despite the aforementioned "two-ness"). She most often wants to give him kisses, cover him with her "pink little blanket" (her favourite comfort object) and tell him "It's OK!" when he's crying. We mainly need to watch that she doesn't crush or smother him when she's feelin' the love!
    • Some of her current favourite things to do include sensory crafts/activities (our 30-Day Creative Kid Challenge has been wonderful for this!), playing on Daddy's Kobo or Granda's iPad, finding hidden pictures, I Spy, colouring/stickers and matching games. We often hear her talk to herself about things that match and don't match, and the other night she built the following two towers that were exactly the same!
    Matching block towers

    • She also likes making her dolls and animals talk to each other, and she'll give personalities to objects like pom poms and balls.
    • Potty learning-wise, we've definitely had our ups and downs! This probably warrants another post, but for now let's just say we're not quite there yet. :)

    I searched for some good videos to embed within this update and there wasn't a heck of a lot. (Not surprisingly, li'l brother appears to have stolen the show recently!) I did find the following cute one of S singing with her Papa. All together now - awwwwwwww!

    What were your kids up to at 27 months old?

    Tuesday, March 5, 2013

    Wordless Wednesday: The Next Pope?

    My "Big Bang" Daily To Do List

    As a parent of a toddler and infant, there are a zillion things on my ideal To Do list every day and little time to get everything done! As such, I'm working on accepting that there will always be unchecked tasks and, instead, focusing my mind and body on those that will yield the biggest bang for the buck and doing these tasks efficiently.

    In addition to table stakes items such as eating well, household chores, personal hygiene, etc., I've put together the following list of personal "big bang" daily To Dos. Many of these items take up very little time and/or can be combined with other activities. All of them, I feel, provide significant benefits on a short and/or long term basis.
    • Drink at least 6 glasses of water
    • Wear my mouth guard overnight
    • Take my supplements (multivitamin, iron, probiotic, fish oil) along with a protein shake
    • Give my (infant) son a vitamin D drop
    • Do my pelvic floor exercises (more on this in an upcoming post!)
    • Drink a tea to increase my milk supply
    • Get outside, at least for a little while (even on the coldest days!)
    • Get my heart rate up for at least 10-15 minutes
    • Spend one-on-one time with my daughter doing something creative
    • Engage in quality conversation with my husband

    And a couple "don't do" items as well!
    • Eat heavy carbs after 8 PM (especially those containing gluten)
    • Waste time snoozing with my alarm clock

    Do you follow a personal daily To Do (or "To Don't") list? What are some of the items on your own list?

    Saturday, March 2, 2013

    Udder Covers Nursing Gift Set: Review & Giveaway! (Closed)

    When it comes to nursing, I believe in demand feeding and there are, of course, many times my little guy gets hungry when out in public or hosting guests. I love the convenience and bonding that breastfeeding offers, so I prefer to do this whenever possible vs. pumping and bottle feeding. However, I do respect that not everyone is comfortable being around openly breastfeeding women, so it's my preference to cover up in these situations. When nursing S (our first), I simply latched very discretely or used receiving blankets, but often felt a bit exposed using these two methods. Therefore with CJ I wanted to try a dedicated nursing cover to see if this would provide a more comfortable experience.

    Enter Udder Covers, an amusingly-named brand of nursing cover created by Jenny Pierce, mother of 5 and designer of multiple other mother & baby product lines (including the Milk Bands nursing bracelet and Seven Everyday Sling). I got the opportunity to review their 3-piece gift set including a cover, two pairs of breast pads and a MilkBands nursing bracelet. I chose the "Porter" style for the set.

    Product Info - Nursing Cover:

    We at Udder Covers are committed to making the most dependable nursing cover on the market. It's simple. We want you to have a product that will cover you where you need it and yet still allow you to have eye contact with your baby - all while wearing something chic and stylish.

    Our rigid neckline gives you direct eye contact with baby. Our fabrics are made of 100% breathable cotton. Stainless steel d-rings allow fully adjustable neckline.

    Our covers allow mothers everywhere to breastfeed their babies in comfort, style and confidence anytime - anyplace!

    Udder Covers come in 15 different styles - for example the Caleb, Natalie and Porter.

    My Review - Nursing Cover:

    When I first opened my cover, I was surprised how fine and light-weight the material was - similar to a delicate blouse. I was expecting something closer to the thickness of a receiving blanket. As I began using it, however, I discovered that this is a Very Good Thing! Covering up creates extra heat, and I can imagine how uncomfortable this could get with a thicker, non-breathable barrier - especially during the warm summer months. The compact size is also nice for tossing into a diaper bag, purse, etc. I was initially concerned that the thin material would be see-through during nursing, but this turned out not to be an issue. The cover requires direct light on one side for there to be transparency on the other side, which obviously doesn't happen during nursing since mom's body blocks out the light.

    The cover measures 32" x 23" which I feel is an appropriate size. There's plenty of material on each size to achieve effective coverage without feeling like you're drowning in fabric.

    The neckline is pretty easy to adjust using the rings - simply thread the "tail" down through both rings and then back up over the bottom one and under the top one.

    Given the rings are a D-shape, however, they are prone to switching position when manipulating the cover, thus causing the tail to pull loose. This is kind of annoying, so I'm wondering why the designer opted against using circular rings (similar to those used on ring slings) which would stay in proper position. Perhaps a suggestion for a "new and improved" model!

    The rigidness of the neckline helps provide a hands-free window to see your nursing baby.

    I find I do need to fiddle around to get a good view, however. Here are a few tips I've learned:
    • The tail needs to be fastened quite tight allowing the neckline to push out in a U-shape 
    • Shifting the center of the cover toward the current nursing side helps line up the viewing window.
    • It's important to sit up straight. When in a reclining position, the material underneath the neckline tends to droop back down over baby's face
    • Sometimes the rigid neckline needs to be popped inside out to help it stick out better.
    • If the above techniques don't get the job done, I use my free hand either on the outside to pull the collar out straighter, or on the inside to push up on the material.

    As for care & maintenance, I've had no issues. The cover washes and dries well in a low heat cycle; so far no shrinking, fading, etc. The stitching around the edge also appears very solid - no loose threads or other imperfections - so I see the cover lasting a long time.

    Overall, I've gotten a lot of use out of my Udder Covers nursing cover and it serves its purpose well. It's light, compact, well-made, pretty easy to use and launders nicely. If the rigid neckline didn't require as much tweaking and the issue with the d-rings could be resolved, it would be perfect in my book!

    Product Info - Washable Breast Pads:

    Udder Covers™ Reusable Nursing Pads will protect your skin from irritation by absorbing all moisture. You will LOVE them!

    Product Benefits:
    • Leaking milk and moisture is drawn away from skin by 5 layers of absorbent cotton fabric
    • Machine-washable and reusable
    • Soft layers conform to breast shape for a natural look under clothing
    Product Features:
    • 100% Cotton
    • 5 Ply

    My Review - Washable Breast Pads:

    I'm fortunate in that I leak very little milk, and therefore don't really need to wear breast pads. Of course that makes it a little challenging to review them! ;) That said, I can tell you the following about the Udder Covers pads:
    • Based on a water test, they're definitely absorbent. They pull liquid in immediately and hold a good 2-3 tablespoons each. However liquid does travel through from one side to the other fairly quickly (after about 1 tablespoon is absorbed) so those who leak heavily may find this to be an issue.
    • They're quite comfortable to wear.
    • They are a bit noticeable when worn under a non-padded bra, but not when worn under a padded bra.
    • They start at about 4 1/2" in diameter and shrink about 1 cm upon washing. Shrinkage is quite even, however so they remain pretty smooth.

    Overall, they seem pretty solid but again - you'd probably want to take my opinion with a grain of salt on this one! :)

    Product Info - MilkBands:

    Give your nursing journal a rest! Throw away your safety pins and stickers! Quit juggling objects from wrist to wrist! Stop relying on imperfect memory! 

    Milk Bands™ are a uniquely designed nursing bracelet that enables the mother to quickly and conveniently identify which breast she last used to feed her baby by simply turning the bracelet inside-out! 

    Milk Bands™ breastfeeding bracelets have time measuring sliders that can be used for multiple purposes such as tracking how long your baby fed or what time!

     Milk Bands™ work regardless of which wrist they are worn on and are so easy to use it only takes one hand! Our breastfeeding bracelet works in the dark and can be worn during any and all activities! 

    When the time comes, Milk Bands™ can be used to help you wean your baby!
    Let Milk Bands™ keep track of the basics so you can worry about more important things!

    My Review - MilkBands:

    First of all, I like that the MilkBands bracelet can remain on the same wrist. Flipping it inside out is definitely more convenient than switching wrists to indicate last nursing side! If you're wondering how the proper side can be identified when feeding in the dark, the company has thought of this too - the word Right is raised up and the word Left is lowered (mnemonically helpful as well - nice job guys!) so this can be determined by touch.

    The bracelet displays two sets of numbers and comes with attachable sliders for tracking additional information. Three sliders are included, however only two are used, so presumably the third is an extra in case one gets lost (though this is unlikely since sliders snap on very snugly). Last nursing time can be tracked by setting the hour via the slider on the right and minute via the slider on the left; total nursing minutes can be tracked by starting with the left minute scale and then incrementing the right hour scale if/as applicable.

    The mechanism works well; sliders are pretty easy to move when desired but then stay in place nicely between nursing sessions. They can be a bit tough to move while nursing, however (and especially so while nursing in the dark!), so they're best adjusted either before or after a session.

    I can definitely see scenarios where these bracelets would be helpful - for example to ensure a particularly sleepy newborn is eating enough, to assist with combo feeding, etc. I can also see them being used for non-nursing-related purposes - for example tracking wet or soiled diapers, counting glasses of water, recording exercise minutes, etc. The key benefit of the bracelet is that it provides a tracking tool that's with you at all times vs. another mechanism (piece of paper, phone, etc.) which may not be.

    The bracelet is comfortable to wear both during the day and at night. The instructions mentioned that some women may experience mild irritation but I haven't noticed this myself.

    My guess is that the main complaint some women may have about these bands is that they're aesthetically basic. Solid-coloured and made of fairly thick silicone, they're not going to win any fashion awards. Fine with me as I'm a jeans 'n' t-shirt kinda gal, but trendsetting mamas may wish they had a little more pizzazz.

    Buy It:

    You can purchase an Udder Covers nursing cover or gift set of your own directly from their website or use their store locator to find a retailer in your area. Use the special discount code ManagerToMom when purchasing from the website to receive a $35 discount on any item! This allows you to obtain a free cover (or super-inexpensive gift set); you just need to pay shipping! (Good until May 31, 2013.)

    If you're interested in a MilkBand alone, these can be purchased here.

    Win It: 

    One lucky Manager to Mom reader will win an Udder Covers Gift Set of their own! Winner chooses from among available styles. Open to CAN/US.

    To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Please follow all instructions within each entry option to ensure your entries are valid.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Disclosure:  The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by Udder Covers.  I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive the sample items free of charge.  This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.