Mommy Review Monday: ezpz Happy Mat – One-piece silicone placemat + plate

DISCLOSURE: Due to the recent iPhone update my i’s are now malfunctioning. I️ am NOT going back through to fix. I’m too frustrated. Sorry folks.

It’s borderline Migraine Monday instead of Mommy Review Monday so this will be a sort one today so I can get off to bed. I should apologize to those who get actual migraines because I️ realize my headache isn’t really a migraine since I️ can manage to look at the screen.

I’ll thank the black beans all over the floor and the screaming toddlers for the tension headache. With that said, I’ll move onto our review of the day, the ezpz Happy Mat, without which there would’ve been many more beans on the floor.

Pros:

  • Cost. $24.99 may seem like a lot but if you use I️t every meal, I️t pays for itself pretty quickly.
  • Hardiness. It’s made of silicone so you know it’s tough. And unlike your friends’ fake boobs, these don’t have to be hand-washed. You can stick them in the lower rack of your dishwasher time after time.
  • Dividers. Since so many kids are funny about not mixing foods, this is a great feature.
  • Protection. The full placemats give your table the armor it needs against banging silverware and/or sippy cups.
  • Stay-put-ness. I️ realize that’s a made up word but you get the point. No pates thrown across the room. As I️ said earlier, had we served black beans on a regular plate, they would’ve been everywhere. This plate-mat stayed in place throughout Clara’s mid-dinner temper tantrum.

Cons

  • Fit on High Chair Trays. They don’t fit on high chair trays. I️ know that’s not really what they’re made for so I️ really have a hard time declaring that a con but I️ do want to make sure no one assumes they’ll work that way. They do make a smaller version, the Mini Mat but it still may or may not work on your high chair tray.
  • Only Stick on Hard, Level Surfaces. Again, this seems common sense but they don’t stick or suction themselves down to fabric tablecloths or very unlevel surface. They’re still nice to use to protect your nice fabric tablecloth but there is the chance they could still move. We used a nylon table cloth at Halloween though and it still worked pretty well.

All together, these Happy Mats are what the brand name explains, ezpz. They’re a great gift idea, especially paired with these bibs. I’d buy another. In fact, I may buy another set for when one set is dirty. I’m not sure if that’s lazy or smart.

Happy Monday!!!

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Mommy Review Monday: Happy Healthy Parent Waterproof Silicone Bib

With my first two kids, I used Bumkins bibs and they’re great but I decided to try some the Happy Healthy Parent waterproof silicone bibs for the twins. 

Here’s what I like about them:

  • They come in a 2- pack with free shipping through Amazon Prime. 
  • The colors are cute: Clara’s is purple and Kate’s is pink. The other colors offered are red/blue and green/turquoise. 
  • They are thin enough to be very flexible and appear to be comfortable for the girls. 
  • They have adjustable closure that stays on, even when they yank on it. 
  • Cleaning them is a breeze. We actually stick ours in the dishwasher. The manufacturer’s description doesn’t say they are dishwasher safe but they’ve held up to being washed in the top rack of ours almost every night for the past few months without any signs of wear. 
  • They don’t take up much space if you travel with them. 
  • Catching stray food is made easier with the silicone pocket.
  • The price seems reasonable, at $18.97, since they’re so easy to use over and over again. 
  • They are free of BPA, Phthalate (not sure what this is but it was listed in the product description so it must be bad), Latex, and Lead. 
  • Happy Healthy baby is so confident in these that they offer a lifetime money back guarantee. I like that in a company. 

What could be improved:

  • The pink has stained a bit around the neck. I’m not worried about it enough to exchange them for that. In their defense, we eat a lot of carrots and sweet potatoes (and Kate is a messy eater) so it isn’t surprising that this would happen. Plus, we sometimes may not get them washed as fast as others may. 
  • This is really picky but if they could make one more adjustment to make them any smaller it would be nice. Clara is petite so she could’ve gone a notch smaller at first but it really wasn’t a huge issue and they’re perfect now. 

Garen and I both really like these. Enough that I’m about to buy a second set, just for the convenience of having some ready in the diaper bag. I’ll still buy the pink and purple, even if the pink stains a bit. 

Mommy Review Monday: Ciao! Baby Portable High Chair 

My cousin, who also has twins, introduced us to these Ciao! Baby portable high chairs. I’ll be honest, at first I was skeptical because they’re about $60 and I just didn’t think it was worth that much times two. But we had two BBQs this weekend and we knew it was going to be a challenge feeding Clara and Kate without a huge hassle. With another BBQ this coming weekend and a road trip to Branson at the end of the month, we saw that we would quickly put them to good use. 

The girls loved them and everyone at the parties wanted one for their own kiddos. Here’s the review.

What I like about them:

  • You can order them from Amazon. We got free next day shipping with our Prime membership. 
  • They come in multiple colors. We chose black because they were cheapest and I knew they’d match with whatever they are wearing. (Yes, I’m that mom). Also, we can hand them down or sell them to parents of boys or girls when we are done with them. 
  • They fold up nicely and have a carrying case. They fit easily in the back of my car. 
  • The girls enjoyed playing in them and we didn’t have to worry about them having a place to sit. 
  • The straps to tighten them are in the back, making them easy to use. 
  • The tray wipes down easily and is plenty big. 

What I don’t like about them:

  • They’re pretty pricey. I would say this is definitely a luxury item. We are going to make good use of them to justify the spend. 
  • They are a little hard to get them in and out of the straps. I think this will get easier as they get older. I’m not really sure how they could make it any better so I hesitate complaining. 

I give these a two thumbs up. I’ll probably buy these for shower gifts in the future. 

Mommy Review Monday: Medela Vs. Bonafide Baby Breastmilk Storage Bags

I’ve used both Medela and Bonafide Baby’s Breastmilk storage bags for pumped milk. 

  
Here what I think about both:

What I like about Medela’s Breastmilk Storage Bags:

  • They come with capability to attach to your Medela breastpump accessories 
  • They are nice and thick
  • They have a place to write the date easily
  • When filled, they sit up ok
  • They’re available almost everywhere, including Amazon, which is where I buy whatever I can get with free Prime Shipping. 

What I don’t like about Medela’s Breastmilk Storage Bags:

  • The holes that you use to attach them to the Medela breastpump accessories make it a pain to pour the milk out without making a mess
  • They don’t seal very easily- and breastfeeding mamas do cry over spilled milk. 
  • It is hard to tell exactly how much you pumped because of the way they are made. For example, I would pump what looked like 3 oz of milk and when I poured it into a bottle it would only be about 2.5 oz. This obviously could be user error too. 
  • It only holds 5 oz. There were times that I would make over 5 oz. per breast. 
  • They’re are more expensive. 50 bags are about $15. They’re even more expensive from a store, depending on whether you find a sale. 

What I like about Bonafide Baby’s Breastmilk Storage Bags:

  • They are nice and thick
  • They have a place to write the date easily. These even come with a non-toxic marker. 
  • When filled, they sit up very well
  • They’re available on Amazon Prime. 
  • They hold 6 oz. so there are times I can get away with just using one bag per session although having to use two bags is a good problem to have. 
  • They are a little more accurate when reading how much is in them. 
  • They come safety sealed. You just tear off the seal before you use them. 
  • They are very easy to seal and I’ve only had one leak ever due to me not sealing it well while in a hurry. 
  • They come in a box of 105. 
  • They only cost about $15.00 on Amazon. 

What I don’t like about Bonafide Baby’s Breastmilk Storage Bags:

  • They don’t have a way to hook onto the pump. In all honesty, this isn’t an issue for me. I pump into bottles and then  pour into the milk into the bags. I think it’s easier that way. I just can’t think of another con about these bags. 

You go through a lot of these bags when you’re pumping for two babies three times a day. Because of this you want to use bags that work for you. 

After making it about 5 months of pumping with the twins, I happened upon the Bonafide Baby brand while shopping on Amazon for the best price for the others. I tried them out and won’t ever use the Medela ones again if I have a choice to use Bonafide Baby bags. You could always try them out. They’ve got a 100% guarantee satisfaction so there’s no risk besides your time. 

What about you? What storage bags do you use?

Nursing Twins- Part 3: Nursing Two Solo 

Nursing twins for me by myself was a daunting thought. 

  
I tandem nurse them because I didn’t want to deal with bottles and nursing. I’m an either/or kinda gal. I also didn’t want to spend all my time with a baby attached to me. I’m just not that mother and that’s ok. 

But there came a day when I needed to nurse by myself and still wanted to tandem feed. What did I do? I googled how to do it. I found a great blog post and video by Joanna of the Nesting Story. She had some great tips on how it can work and even how to set up your nursery. 

Here’s my process for solo tandem nursing:

  • Get your nursing pillow and put it by the couch/love seat or by the area on the floor where you’re going to nurse. My gliders don’t work for this. Unfortunately, I already had one I loved in the nursery. If I did it over again, I would consider a love seat if I planned to nurse both. The reason I say consider is because I love my glider and getting to rock babies and I wouldn’t have room for both in the nursery. See my posts on What to Buy for Twins- Part 1: furniture and Nursing Twins- Part -1: The Preparation for more info about this. 
  • Get a boppy or pillow to prop up each baby (if on the couch or love seat) or bouncer (if nursing on the floor) and place them within reach of where you’ll be sitting
  • Put babies in/on either the bouncer or boppy/pillow to prop with
  • Sit down with pillow strapped on (If on the floor, I suggest sitting somewhere where you can lean back)
  • Once positioned, turn and get one baby and position them. (I use the football hold, so this works fairly well for me)
  • Turn and get the other baby and position them. 
  • Reposition them, if necessary. 
  • When they are finished, you can burp one at a time and put them back in the boppy or bouncer. 

This works very well for me. I’ve been doing it periodically since the girls were a couple months old and they are now about 7.5 months old. Once they become more mobile, I’m not sure how well it will work. Who knows what the future will hold. 

I also want to note that I had the experience of nursing two babies before the twins, so I had an advantage. This takes some practice and patience. Please don’t put pressure on yourself if this doesn’t work for you. There are times that I’m in a position that it just doesn’t work for me. When this is the case, I either nurse them separately or do bottles. I really enjoy giving them their bottles. Their faces light up and they reach up adorably to help grab their bottles in the same way they reach for me when they nurse. 

For more info about my experiences nursing twins, check out Nursing Twins- Part 1: The Preparation and Nursing Twins- Part 2: Surviving the Early Days.

I’d love to hear how you handle nursing twins by yourself or tips on how to do it better!

Mommy Review Monday: Dr. Browns Bottles

William was a colicky baby. For four months he cried. I hadn’t been around a lot of babies before having him. I didn’t know babies came like that. He’s lucky my siblings are my best friends or he would be an only child. I guess Anna, Clara, and Kate are lucky too,for that matter. 

Back to the colic. We were willing to try anything that might help. I nursed him but he had to occasionally have a bottle too. I had multiple friends that swore by Dr. Browns bottles. So, we bought them. I used them for Anna too since I already had them. 

When we started gearing up for the girls, the thought of another colicky baby, let alone two, made me nervous. I knew I planned to nurse as much as I could but that they’d also need more bottles since they’d be going to a daycare where the bottles have to be prepared for the whole day.  So, I decided to go with the Dr.Brown bottles again. 

  What I like about them:

  • They are BPA free. Of course, virtually every bottle is now days but they were when the BPA hype all started so they deserve props for that.  
  • They’re dishwasher safe. We run them and the accessories through the dishwasher to sanitize them every night. 
  • They screw onto my Medela pump accessories, which is helpful to eliminate the need for bags, depending on your pumping process. I only do this at home because I have to use bags to pump at work for storage reasons. 
  • They come in 2 oz bottles, which was really nice when we were supplementing the girls at first. 
  • It may reduce gas. It’s really hard to tell but if you have a colicky baby, it is probably worth the try. 

What I don’t like about them:

  • Sooooooo many parts to wash. This is NOT optimal with two sets of bottles. We put them into bottle accessory containers in the dishwasher and it takes three of them. 
  • They sometimes leak when you warm them in water. It is a pain in the rear and makes for an unhappy daycare staff. The wide mouth ones were so bad they asked us to stop using them. 
  • They leak if turned over very quickly. When you have to pack 6 at a time, occasionally one turns over and, let me tell you, I cry over spilled milk when that happens. Not only is it a mess but it’s my hard-earned pumped milk mixed in there with very expensive formula. 
  • They aren’t as “cute” as the other bottles. There are so many fun looking bottles out there. Dr. Browns bottles design has stayed the same. I can respect that- if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But they could use a little more flair. 

Additional Notes:

  • The girls liked the wide mouth version better so we use them here but not at daycare since they leak a bit when you warm them in water. See above. 
  • We tried Tommy Tippee’s version but it leaked even worse and neither girl liked them. 
  • I don’t think they really need this type of bottle anymore but haven’t invested in a whole new set yet. 

What are your favorite bottles? I’d love to see your experiences. 

What to Buy for Twins – Part 2: Infant Gear

I did a lot of research and talking to other mothers of multiples to find out what gear we needed for twins. There are a lot of articles out there but here’s my opinions:

What you Need 2 of:

What is Nice to have 2 of:

  • Cribs (our girls have always slept separately)
  • Bouncer/vibrator chairs (try two get two different types so you can switch; we used these do feed them their bottles in)   
  • Swing/MamaRoo (try two get two different types so you can switch out when they get tired of them; we had one MamaRoo and one swing)
  • Bumbo seat 
  • Baby carriers or sling (baby bjorn or whatever is given to you because chances are you wont use these too much if you’re like me because what do you do about the other baby)
  • Exersaucers (try two get two different types so you can switch out when they get tired of the one they’re in; we have one that’s more of a bouncer and one is an exersaucer)
  • An extra set of car seat/baby carrier bases (we have a see for each vehicle and it makes it a LOT easier than moving them back and forth)

What you only need 1 of:

  • Playmat/gym (we have two because we had one and got another that has an awesome keyboard but you could totally only use one)

 

  • Pac N Play (if you can get the twin one with dividing bassinets it works great for the early days)
  • Diaper bag (we have an extra on hand in case we need to divide and conquer)
  • Baby monitor (unless you’re using video and then you’ll probably only need one monitor but two cameras)
  • Bath chair or bathing equipment (we only bathe them one at a time so this may change but I think you probably only need one to begin with)

Also, check out my post on What to Buy for Twins- Part 1: Furniture for more tips. 

I’d love to hear your comments and recommendations!