Nappy Trial – Tots Bots Minky! – Day One

Well we have been using the latest Minky Tots Bots easy fit for a few weeks now and so here is our official report for all those fluffy mums and fluffy mums to be

After starting to think about nappy testing back with our Bambino Mio tests some months ago I have decided that the only fair way to test nappys is to actually discuss the same points for each nappy type so that it is easy to compare directly if you put my reviews side by side. I will also then follow-up with a users guide video on my last day. As Tots Bots is a new version of an existing nappy and I have the V2 I will do a user guide and a side by side comparative video at the end of the week of the old style Tots Bots, for those that are interested in what Minky has to offer.

There are a lot of points to cover with nappies so I will write a section a day over the course of the next week – so here it is todays topic, How easy are Tots Bots to start using, especially if you have never used cloth before?

Well for the first time I have discovered a nappy that doesn’t need pre-washing. Most nappies need to be pre-washed to increase their absorbance before use but with the Minky Tots Bots you can literally take it straight out of the packet and put it straight onto your baby; EXCELLENT because pre-washing quite frankly makes me nervous, I am not the most experienced cloth bum mum and I always get paranoid that I am going to get it dramatically wrong and have nappies leaking everywhere, so this element I LOVE. Also I love the idea that if I am caught short and need an extra nappy I can pop into a local retailer, if there is one, and buy a reusable nappy to put on Sam rather than having to pay out for a packet of disposable. It was a very surreal experience not pre-washing a nappy and letting Sam wear it but as far as I can tell it has done no harm what-so-ever to the nappy so it is totally fine – saying this he did only last an hour and a half in it until he pooed so how long it would last straight out of the packet I couldn’t comment on.

When you take your new nappy out of the packet it is already set up for you EXCEPT for a liner –

liners basically catch the poo and, in theory, stop all or the majority of it from getting onto the nappy. Liners come in 2 types disposable and fabric, usually fleece. – I will explain about what to do with liners tomorrow when I discuss washing but it’s really up to you which type you prefer. disposable liners arent recommended for newborn poo because it is so runny it pretty much just goes straight through it. They obviously have the disadvantage of being something you have to purchase but a roll of 100 costs around £5. Fleece liners obviously can catch some of the more runny poo and can be purchased or made yourself so after the initial expense are just a case of throwing into the nappy bucket. Some fleece however does become quite scratchy over repeated high temperature washes and also when out and about you obviously are then carrying the most dirty part of your nappy with you. I personally use a mix of the 2, at home we use fleece and if we are going to be out all day I use flushable liners so that I can get rid of as much poo as possible. 

Tots Bots recommend that you use a liner in their nappies so you just pop one of those onto the inside of the nappy to line it and then you just need to adjust the nappy to fit your baby.

AMENDMENT – When we received our Minky nappy it came with a liner but at the time this wasn’t planned to be as standard however just before the release of the Minky was released for general sale Tots Bots decided to include a liner with the nappies! The liner we received was really lovely, it wasnt minky but super soft and hasn’t become scratchy, which some of the other liners I have used have. The liner not only acts as a poo catcher but also as a stay dry layer between the nappy and your baby’s skin – so when you remove your babies nappy their bottom will be lovely and dry!

On the front of the nappy are 3 rows of 2 snaps and these adjust how long your nappy is in the body, all you do is snap the front of your nappy to the level for your babies weight – this is really easy to do with the Tots Bots, the snaps aren’t too stiff and yet once they are done up they stay that way. There is no exact science as to how big to make your nappy you just need to make sure its a good fit for your baby but as a guide Sam is now 20lb, 11 months old tomorrow and still on the second row setting, nowhere near approaching the third and he has been since he would have been about 3-4 months old.

Putting your new nappy on your baby is just as simple as putting on a disposable and if you are using velcro, or aplix as it is often refered to, there really isn’t any difference at all. All you do is exactly the same as thing you do with disposable, you lay your baby on their back, fold up the front and do up the tabs. This ease of putting the nappy on to your baby makes the Tots Bots velcro nappy really easy to leave with non cloth using babysitters and in actual fact my friend, who occasionally babysits for Sam, requests he is in Tots Bots because they don’t worry or confuse her at all, there are no adjustments that may need to be made, no folding etc I just set the nappy up with the liner inside ready and when she comes to change him she just pops it on him with no concerns. The velcro on the Tots Bots nappies is very very good quality, with my older nappies it hasn’t bobbled or begun to look tired and every time I get it out of the machine it still looks like new and I have been using some of my own collection of Tots Bots for some months now.

The only thing you need to make sure of when putting your nappy on your baby is that there isn’t any gaping around the legs, that they fit snugly but obviously not tightly, that the white from the inside of the nappy isn’t showing – because this can cause what is known as wicking – and the same goes for liners, make sure they are nicely tucked into the nappy and not sticking out.

wicking is the term used for when the urine travels from the inside of the nappy up to the exposed areas of the nappy, like the liner or the exposed insides of the nappy that are hanging out of it. The urine then travels onto the baby’s clothes etc in the same way a flame travels down the wick of a candle. This is the case with all reusable nappies not just Tots Bots and it is very easy and only takes a second to prevent.

For the first time the NEW Tots Bots are available to purchase in a snaps option. When we were asked to test the new nappies we were asked which we would prefer, velcro or snaps and I stupidly automatically said velcro. I say stupidly because I was basing this on my experience using other brand cloth nappies that have a snaps option, which has led me to prefer velcro, however this was unfair to Tots Bots because for all I know their snaps option is great. The other reason why I am also now kicking myself is that Sam is, as I say, very nearly 11 months old, and he has discovered that he can open his nappy up if he pulls the velcro and thinks that this is a great game. You may think this isn’t a problem, aside from when you are changing your baby and you are battling to do it up because as quick as you do up one side they have the other side undone and visa versa. However in fluff world the one thing cloth bum mums love to do is show off our babies funky pants and I am no exception to this, so in baby massage class there is Sam in his nappy repeatedly undoing his velcro during the class (he would be doing this if he was in a disposable also) and when it is warm enough for him to mooch around the house in just a nappy and a t-shirt or nappy, babylegs and a t-shirt you can’t really trust him to keep his nappy on. This problem would be solved with a good set of snaps that wouldn’t come undone so easily. I will have a look around for any reviews on the Tots Bots snaps and if I find any I will put the link on the blog.

Now comes to the subject of boosters

Boosters are additional inserts that you can put into your nappy to make it more absorbent – as far as I am aware and please correct me if I am wrong but Tots Bots do not currently sell boosters for their nappies – boosters are not something you have to use but are useful if you have a baby that is a heavy wetter and you find wees through their nappies quickly, any time you may need to go longer between wet changes – long car journeys for example it is always handy to pop in a booster in case you get stuck in traffic etc – The most common use of boosters is to add extra absorbance to a nappy for use overnight.

Tots Bots, in the past with V2 in bamboo, have always been a nappy that experienced cloth nappy users havent recommended for using as a night nappy – for this is the Tots Bots range they strongly recommend the stretchies range – I have never used V2 over night but one of the reasons many mums havent gotten on with them, I believe, it that they were not the easiest nappies to boost as the out PUL layer wasnt the most giving. This week I need to finally test this nappy overnight, something I keep planning and not managing, but my feedback so far is that the new minky has a very stretchy PUL layer and there appears to be plenty of room and give in these nappies to add additional boosters to it. The most effective results for whether this is the case however will be my attempt at night nappying. On first impressions I don’t think you would have any trouble what so ever getting a standard booster into this nappy for day time use.

Cloth nappies have got a reputation for being big and bulky, some people love the cloth bum look but sometimes it can be a bit of a pain getting those large nappies into modern clothing. Sam wears a lot of leggings because they are a lot easier to get over a cloth nappy but if I want to put a pair of jeans on him for example I have had to put him in a size larger than he would normally wear to accommodate the additional bulk. So another great element to these new nappies is that they really aren’t bulky at all – in fact they are very slim fitting and I have found that a lot of my clothing issues have been solved with this nappy.

This is Sam in the minky and a pair of leggings, he does have quite a round bottom naturally so it probably looks bulkier than on another child but this really is an obvious difference to other cloth nappies

So really to use your nappy for the first time that is all you really need to know and in this respect the nappies are VERY user-friendly as you really can just get started straight away.

As this is quite a lengthy first post already I will discuss how long you can go between changes with these nappies, what to do with them when they are dirty and how to set them back up to use when they are dry in my post tomorrow.

For now if there are ANY questions at all PLEASE ask as well as feel free to comment on this post, anything relating to Tots Bots nappies themselves or anything you feel I havent covered and that you would like me to.


Sam + Elmo = LOVE

Sam really likes Elmo, in actual fact Sam LOVES Elmo!!! He doesn’t really have a chance to discover the TV in the way Elliott did, by the time Elliott was a year old he loved My Friends Tigger and Pooh, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, The Imagination Movers to name but a few; Sammy however has to watch what Elliott wants to watch so one day I put Elmo on YouTube for Sam and that was it, he was in Love.

For Christmas my mum bought him The Best Of Elmo DVD and a cuddly Elmo toy and I thought he would watch the DVD occasionally and the toy would end up eventually just decorating his room, WRONG! Sam ends up watching his DVD at least 5 days a week and Elmo goes everywhere Sam goes they, were made for each other it seems.

I like that Sammy loves Elmo and Sesame Street, it educates, it’s fun and it has good morals – it hasn’t been going for over 40 years for nothing. Elliott went through an Elmo phase around the time of his second birthday, he would watch Elmo in Grouchland over and over again all day if he could but it didn’t last long but even now that fuzzy little monster can still seem to tap into his imagination – we are seriously considering whether to give the Elmo Potty Time DVD a go to see if it makes even the slightest difference with his training. For now however I am just pleased my two boys have something they can enjoy together and share – although at present Elliott seems to prefer Cookie Monster to Elmo. The thing I also like about Sesame Street is the fact that they have caught onto the idea that if you want the kids to watch it make it tolerable for parents too with things like this ….

So anyway the point of this post….well actually there isn’t one really to be honest other than to share this, Sams latest favorite video from Elmo, the Elmo Slide!

In a few weeks time (eek!) Sam will be having his Naming and Blessing accompanied by, 15 days early, his first birthday party! I think the Elmo Slide is going to be a must for his party – after all the birthday boy himself is now trying to do it all by himself, he can do the arm flap and the jumping and a bit of side to side movement. Hopefully there will be an Elmo theme running through the party with an Elmo cake and balloons and Sesame Street colours – all I have to do is find all the stuff in budget, eek!

Tearless Teethers – Review

When Elliott was a baby everyone in my online baby club was raving about amber teething necklaces and how they were the best thing EVER. In the end I was persuaded and gave one a go and it was the best thing EVER. However after the first one we started to get problems with being sent replacements that were fake and so when Sam became quite desperate for his first necklace  I decided to pick one up at the baby show so I could actually see it before I bought it.

Going around Excel I couldn’t find a single stand selling amber, I think there had been about 3 at Earls Court but it’s always the way when you actually need something. Towards the end of the day we came across a little understated stand tucked away at the back of the hall belonging to Tearless Teething

Tearless Teething are necklaces made of Hazelwood and are based on the discovery by Native Americans that Hazelwood could, amongst other things, soothe the pain caused by teething.

Speaking to the company owner the thing that struck me most was how passionate she was about her product and how she genuinely believed it really did do all the things that they were claiming The other thing I realised was how frustrated she had become as people were stopping, looking and just not believing them enough to make a purchase of these little necklaces.This proved out to me a week later when Sam went to his first baby massage class and one of the mothers began talking about the necklaces as she said that she had seen them at excel but didn’t purchase one as she really wasnt sure about them.

I can understand both angles, as parents we have all bought lemons for our children (silvercross 3d anyone?) and I think as time goes on we all become a bit more wary of things that claim to be miracle products. At the same time if you KNOW in your heart that your product will help people and all they have to do is take a small leap of faith it must be frustrating when no-body will.

With no amber at the baby show, an irritable baby and my willingness to give something unusual a try we agreed that we would try out the tearless teether on Sam.

The teethers come in 2 types one with pretty glass coloured beads in either pink, blue or clear

and another with very tiny amber beads

Now my natural inclination was to go for the amber but t was asked would I PLEASE test out the one with the glass beads because if it worked then I would KNOW it was the Hazelwood and not the amber – fair enough I thought.

Now I would love to be able to comment on this necklace’s abilities in all the areas the distributors claim, improvement in nappy rash, excema etc however luckily for Sam he has never been a sufferer of any such problems – however if you go along to the blog written by Summer Mama – she has kept a week-long diary on how effective it has been for combating her 18 month old son’s problems with some of these problems.

So where Sam hasnt suffered with anything other than teething pain and feeling unwell he has REALLY suffered with these, worse than Elliott ever was x3, he was having problems with it on and off long before he had anything even reach the surface of his gums and when his first 2 teeth came through he spent more than a couple of days extremely unwell with it, bad nappies, cold like symptoms, high temperatures and SCREAMING; he was that bad that I did consider getting him looked at by a doctor in case it wasnt teeth related.

I put the necklace on Sam as soon as he woke from his nap in the buggy and didn’t think anything else of it and since then he has lived in it, wearing it night and day – the one irritating thing about it is that although a lovely length the extremely lightweight nature of the necklace means that the clasp is heavier than the necklace or the beading and so gravity takes effect and it constantly works its way towards the front of the necklace leaving it on show and where it can get under his chin.

However something I do really like about the necklace is that you can leave it on all the time, even bathtime, which you can’t with amber – in fact with amber you can’t even get it wet but when it is caked in yogurt etc you don’t really have a huge amount of choice in the mater but this affects how well it works, you also have to regularly put it in sunlight to “charge” it and this isn’t  easy in winter or even knowing when your child isnt teething and its “safe” to remove for a few hours.The only time you have to take the Tearless Teething necklace off is when you go swimming, because of the chlorine in the pool, and this factor played into why I finally got to see the full effect of the necklace.

Last Sunday we took the boys swimming and so before leaving I took the necklace off Sam and popped it on the mantlepiece. When we returned I forgot all about it and we went to bed. Sam woke that night about 4-5 times, crying, seeming to be uncomfortable somewhere but it was unclear where, then he started to reject his dummy, rip it out his mouth and throw it as if it was hurting him to have it in his mouth. I started to think it may be his teeth. The next morning he was crying constantly, really unwell, extremely clingy,, extremely agitated and, for the first time in his life, off his food with the only thing he would take being breatmilk.I couldnt find his necklace for a good couple of hours because I had forgotten where I had put it and was very relieved when I did because I was starting to despair and consider breaking into the painkillers to relieve his symptoms.

I decided to put it on, give it an hour and see if there was any improvement in him and if there wasnt any to start with the whole Calpol and Ambesol routine. Within half an hour he was perking up and had stopped crying, within an hour he was obviously feeling better and had finally decided to get off my lap and go and play with his brother and by the evening you would never have realised that there had been anything wrong with him in the first place and he ate all his dinner to boot. In actual fact the picture of him above wearing the necklace was taken Monday afternoon eating a piece of cookie and the only evidence of him being unwell is the state of his hair and the little rash patch on his face that always comes out when he is sick.

In the days since he has been totally fine, no symptoms of teething or pain apart from a slight increase in his desire to chew and bite, I was just starting to wonder whether his problems on Monday had been down to teething or not and whether it was all my imagination but tonight I put my finger in his mouth to check his gums and low and behold his top two teeth are beginning to make an appearance and one is even breaking through the skin!

To me this proves to me that Tearless Teething necklaces actually work for Sam and I am thrilled with the results because, as I have said, he does seem to really suffer quite badly with his teeth. The only draw back with these necklaces are that they begin to lose their effectiveness after 2-3 months and need replacing; at a cost of £15.99 for one or £29.99 for 2  I’m not sure whether it will be affordable for us in the long-term but if we can Tearless Teething are going to be a product that are worth investment for our family and I would recommend trying them highly

Tearless Teething are on Facebook but they currently have very few followers so please pop along and say hi, tell them we sent you!

Making Crayons!

Things never quite go according to plan in our house – you may have noticed – and in a bid to solve Sam’s sleep issues I was supposed to be starting a baby massage course, unfortunately they had to postpone so the boys and I were stuck in for the afternoon with no forward planning for what I could do with them – well more to the point a stir crazy Elliott..

I reached for the craft box and discovered a whole bunch of old broken crayons so I decided that instead of trying to draw with them we would make new ones instead! I was going to take pictures of all the stages but I couldn’t find my phone and Elliott’s couldn’t wait for me to find it before we started.

Here’s what you need –

Old wax crayons,

paper cases OR a silicone cupcake “tin”

If you’re not using silicone then a regular cup cake tin

First of all you need to heat your oven at around gas mark 5, it doesnt need to be exact just nice and hot,

Line your cupcake tin with the paper cases

remove all the paper wrappers from your old broken crayons

Then set about dividing the wax crayons into the cake cases – you can really fill them but make sure they don’t over hang the cases as they will drip onto your tin. – I decided to keep Elliott’s crayons in colour groups to help Elliott with identifying his colours, so every crayon he had to say what colour it was and then put it in the correct cup cake case; only when he had finish did we mix some of the colours together that had fewer crayons.

Pop your crayons into the oven for around 5 minutes – or untill all the crayons have melted….this is when I found my camera…when they come out they will look like this –

Then you just leave them to set in the tin, when they have you take them out of their cases and voila new crayons! (you don’t need a hand blender unless you are also trying to cook dinner at the same time!)

And they actually work too

“I can’t get no sleep”

It was pointed out to me, in not such a subtle way, that I havent been keeping up with my blog too well lately. I have “work” coming out of my ears, lots of lovely companies patiently waiting for reviews and the most amazing competition to run and not a huge amount actually making it live.

Well my problem is in a nutshell Sam! We are having a lot of trouble getting him to bed at night, he generally goes to sleep FINALLY at 2am every night, has a disturbed nights sleep waking me up 3-4 times untill Elliott wakes up at 7.30am and as you can imagine I am a zombie most of the time with constant headaches. I’m not feeling sorry for myself it’s just something I have to try to get through and solve.

During the day things don’t ease up particularly, he is the clingiest baby I have ever known, he would be attached to me 24/7 if he could. He does spend time playing with Elliott but not for long and then he is back to moaning at me to be picked up again; he wont even sleep in his own bed – I’m DRAINED!

Yesterday we did our first baby massage class in the hope that this will wind him down at night and get him to bed at a normal time and at the moment I am trying to turn the light off at 10am regardless of whether he thinks its time to sleep or not to try to get him to get the hint – it’s not working so well but I am at least trying to be pro-active and not just get bogged down by it.

I remember when Elliott was Sam’s age, we would have all day together, if he wasnt out in the buggy he would have two 20 minute naps a day and when he was in bed by 8pm I would miss him so much I would have to fight to stop myself from going in to his room and waking him up for a cuddle – I am yet to experience this with Sam, he is always there.

My husband is amazing, I don’t tell him often but he really should get a medal – he goes to work, comes home cleans the house, baths the kids – to give me 5 minutes where Sam will happily be in a different room to me – and we get absolutely no time together and yet last night when I was at the end of my tether with exhaustion he walked into the house from a 8am – 4pm shift and 4 hours traveling – took the kids from me and sent me away to rest!

I know in a year, 2 years Sam wont be a baby and wont be a total mummy’s boy and I will look on these days and miss all the cuddles and my baby sleeping all night in my arms but for the time being its just putting an enormous strain on everybody. He’s a baby, a gorgeous one at that, it wont be forever and as a wise friend once said to me, before Elliott was born, children go through phases and as soon as you are wondering if one will ever end a new one has already started.

So for now at least I will continue blogging and trying to work with amazing companies but it just means that things are a little slower than on other blogs and I really don’t want to be publishing sloppy work for the sake of getting things out when I know I can do better and the brands I work with deserve better….you will know when I have had sleep because there will be reviews flying out like nobody’s business and my goodness the Kiddimoto prize will be amazing for someone now that the weather is getting warmer.

Tomorrow I am taking the boys over to Barnet to see Saraya Cortiville again, we all love Saraya and Elliott has been saying all day “I want go Raya pwease pwease”. The boys are having their pictures taken for a whole new blog look – so keep your eye out as that’s going to be hitting very soon also.

Please stick with me – I will be worth it in the end 😉