Sunday, January 19, 2014

Boba Carrier 3G Review and Giveaway

We decided way before Ethan arrives that we are going to babywear him. I did lots of research of the many different types of baby carriers and its link to hip dysplasia, as well as the many many benefits that come from babywearing my baby.

We have been wearing Ethan everywhere every time we go out with him. It would have been so difficult to carry an infant car seat (Only my hubby can manage that weight) or struggling with a bulky travel system while maneuvering the shopping trolley while doing our groceries. 

The word 'THRILLED' was an understatement when Boba South Afriac agreed to send me one of their fabulous baby carriers for a review. I have heard great things about Boba carriers, and I was so ready to try it out. The package arrived when I was 8 months pregnant, I even caught my hubby trying it out before baby arrives :-)

PACKAGING

The Boba 3G Carrier arrived in a neat and compact box, with a window by the side showing the chosen design of the carrier.


Below is the size of the box compared to a tin of sardines



This is the carrier and its instruction manual on how to do different carries, all carefully folded in the box.




Upon opening the box, it revealed the vibrant red colour (design Soho) that I chose. 
It looks Oh-Soho-Good!  
I love the fact that the pattern and colour is very gender neutral and stylish, ready to be worn by both mommy as well as daddy. You got to love a Daddy wearing his baby. I must say he is getting  a lot of attention  while he is carrying our little one, and he loves the fact that he doesn't look silly in this Boba carrier! 






FEATURES

This thoughtfully well-designed carrier has so many great features that I haven't been able to use them all yet in this 6 weeks since Ethan was born! One can really tell that it was made by people who have had kids. Some of the features worth mentioning are :

Converts to infant carrier without an insert
This carrier is intended for children between 3.5kg - 20kg. Unlike most other soft structured carriers on the market, you will not need an additional infant insert when using the Boba 3G carrier. To convert this carrier for newborn of 3.5-5kg, you can try the Newborn Hold. The carrier has extra head support compared to other carriers I have tried. We started Ethan when he was around 4kg at 2 weeks old and it feels snug and comfortable without any need for extra support. 
P/S - Always make sure that baby's legs should be in frog position to promote healthy hip positioning. 




Ethan's legs were, and still are  too short to hang out from the carrier, but we make sure that it is always in froggy position - bottom down, knees up! 



Hubby enjoying Ethan in carrier




Removable sleeping hood
The Boba 3G has a hood that snaps into place over baby's head. 
When not in use, you can either store the hood in the top zipper pocket, or unsnap it from the pocket and store in another location.

The hood comes in handy to cover Ethan from the sun instead of having to wear a hat or cloth over his head. I kept the sides loose so that while protecting him, I still allow wind to keep him cool in this warm summer weather. It is also versatile that I can even use it to protect Ethan from Cape Town's infamous wind by tightening the hood on the sides. 


Here I was shading Ethan from the sun at the 2014 Second New Year (Tweede Nuwe Jaar ) Cape Minstrel Street Parade



Protecting from the gusty wind at Tygervalley's parking lot




Removable foot straps
I think this feature deserves a mention although I wasn't able to test it yet with baby still being so small. This feature is really unique as I do not know of any other soft structured carriers with this ability. It allows tired little legs to be rested in a frog-like position, aligning the spine. These straps are also adjustable as it fits your child as he grows.
Below a photo of how it looks like, sourced from the internet.




Multiple pockets for storage
The 3 zippered pockets come in handy to keep car keys, license or credit cards when I quickly want to pop into a store. I also always keep a handkerchief in one of its pockets. It is very, very handy to have instead of rumaging through your purse / diaper bag.

Elastic bands to neatly roll up straps and Adjustments to ease breastfeeding and easier fit
For a small sized person like me, I always hate to find the excess straps after tightening to fit me hanging or dangling on me. Boba 3G ;s design is so well thought that it has elastic bands to store the extra slack of the waistband, chest and shoulder straps. I just need to neatly roll the excess strap and loop the elastic around it.  

There is also an adjustment to tighten or loosen the shoulder straps which is perfect for breastfeeding moms. Unlike other carriers, the Boba 3G puts adjusters on the waist belt so that you can tighten from the left or the right or both.  This results in a waist belt buckle that is centered on your waist rather than off to one side.  There are similar options when adjusting the arms and the chest buckle. They are very, very convenient to self-adjust.

Strap holders to keep purse in place 

This may be my favourite feature of the carrier. The strap holders are located on both sides of the carrier. It allows me to attach my diaper bag directly to the carrier, so I can truly be hands-free! I absolutely love this feature as it takes the load off my shoulders from having to lift my shoulder  to accomodate the heavy weight of my diaper bag. You can basically fit anything with a strap to keep it in place. Let your imagination go wild! Purse , keys, pacifier, toys, to name a few! 

Etc
The only downside is that I find it quite difficult to store the carrier compactly to fit nicely into my diaper bag. I am currently using hubby's old sling bag to fit the carrier in whenever we go out, but it's ugly old and does not look nice being carrier around :-(

However I did see from Boba's website that there is a Stuff Sack for sale to hold and protect your carrier when not in use. I have yet to see or try it but I am sure it will certainly look better than what I am using currently and should be a better fit. 

The other accessory that would also complements the carrier well is the Teething Pads as I already noticed Ethan wetting the straps of the carrier already.

The downside I wasn't too happy about is that the black material attracts a lot of lint. I had to wipe it with a wet cloth frequently so it looks like new again. Although, it might be the clothes I wear as my sister who also had a Boba 3G does not seem to have not problem :-( If you are afraid it would happen, maybe choosing another colour like grey also helps!

Overall, I would certainly recommend the Boba carrier to anyone considering a comfortable, soft structured carrier

TO PURCHASE / WIN  
You can get your own Boba Carrier at http://www.bobafamily.co.za , or better still, try your luck and win a Boba Carrier 3G worth R1350 here!

How to enter
  1. 'Like' Boba South Africa on Facebook
  2. 'Like' Blissfully Perfect Blog on Facebook / Twitter
  3. Share the lovely giveaway on your Facebook / Twitter, with friends, or anyone you know that would appreciate the carrier.
  4. Leave a comment in this blog post and let me know what you did! (You will be disqualified if not meeting the comment).  Please don't forget your email address!

Giveaway ends on 14 February 2014, 12:00am South African time.
Open to South Africa residents only. 
The winner will be chosen randomly (www.random.org) and will be posted in this post and will be contacted via email. If no reply from the winner within 48 hours, a new winner will be announced.

** Please note that I received no form of monetary compensation for this post. I did receive the product to try in order to write a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and was not required to provide a positive review of the carrier.

Updated 14 Feb 2014
WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT
Thank you to all who participated in this giveaway. The winner of the Boba Carrier 3G is Michelle Austin!
Congratulations! You should have received an email from me on how to collect the prize.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Conversation with Ethan @ 6 Weeks Old

Ethan is now starting to communicate by responding when we speak to him. He loves a chat best in the mornings :-)



Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ethan @ 4 Weeks Old

How time flies. I have been MIA for almost a month, trying to get into the schedule of having to be responsible for another little person in our lives. Whenever we have the chance to have a break, it's always then either grocery time or social commitments, especially at this busy time of the year.

Ethan had had his first Christmas, first New Year, a lot of firsts in this one month. I am still really amazed how much he had grown and how his face changes almost every day.
I would like to use this blog to track his growth and milestones, so I can remember the many details of this journey.


Height / Weight

Ethan has been steadily increasing in weight since he was out from hospital.
His birth weight was 3.815kg, and had his newborn weight loss to 3.414 when discharged.
At his one week measurement, his weight stands at 3.770kg, and steadily increased to 4.01kg at week two.
He is now 4.74kg at four weeks old. That's a whole 730g in two weeks. The nurses said they would already be happy if it was anything more than 300g in two weeks, and he just doubled that!

Ethan is now 55.5cm long, a whole 5cm longer from birth.



Jaundice
On his discharge day on the 9th, he had a bit of jaundice at 220 but fortunately it wasn't too high to need to be under the UV light. I made sure to breastfeed him more to flush the jaundice out and also exposed him to more indirect sunlight. We tok him for a blood test again on the 11th just to make sure, and his jaundice went down to 180. Nurses there told us that jaundice usually will go down steadily once the numbers decline and we only need to keep an eye on it. They were right, Ethan was completely back to normal within the week.

Ethan after bath time - 27 Dec 2013


Breastfeeding

As I mentioned in Ethan's birth story, he latched on immediately after birth. He was then suckling very often in the hospital when I still had my colostrum.

I love the fact that Panorama Mediclinic allows Ethan to be in the room with me 24/7. I always had Ethan on the bed with me, even at night. I kangaroo-ed him or let him sleep in my arms. This special bonding time was priceless and I believe helped a lot in breastfeeding as I let him suckle whenever he wants to. ( Contrary to the old ways of babies being kept in the hospital nursery, at which I assumed nurses would only bring babies to the mummies every 4 hours to breastfeed ).

On my first 3 days in hospital I did have a nipple cut on both of my breasts from breastfeeding but received laser sessions from the hospital physiotherapist to help with healing before I leave the hospital. After that, breastfeeding has been smooth sailing.

I am still feeding him on demand or every 3-4 hours.
He even knows how to spit out the nipple once he is full, clever baby :)

I started expressing milk on the 4th week, but only twice or three times a day. Started off with only 50ml per session, but now I can see it slowly increasing to around 100ml :)  I do still get my off days at 50ml though! I am starting to pump so that I can introduce baby to the bottle as well as stocking them for when I get back to work. Ian tried feeding him twice now using Medela Calma and has been good but not perfect. We will still need to practice that but was told by lactation nurse to only do that once or twice a week.



Sleep

Since returning from hospital, Ethan has been regularly sleeping from 8-9pm until 8-9am in the morning. For the first 4 weeks I have been waking him up every 4 hours to feed, but since he is gaining weight well above his birth weight, nurses gave the green light to feed only on demand at night. He still wakes up by himself to feed, but will still immediately after his feeds and diaper changes at night.

He is swaddled every night with Love to Dream's Love to Swaddle Up Lite , lent to me by my sister Shu-Yin. I love it so so much, I will definitely get it for my next baby. I love that I do not need to worry about blankets suffocating, etc.

Ethan in swaddle - 15 Dec 2013


Umbilical Cord

I must admit I do not feel 100% comfortable sterilizing his umbilical cord (I know it is not painful for him, but still! ) that I leave Ian to do that. We mainly just make sure it's dry instead of fiddling with it. We only managed to sterilize it twice before it fell off neatly by itself on the fourth day after birth (10 Dec).

Ethan's umbilical cord falling out on 10 Dec 2013


Milestones

  • Ethan from Day 1 already shows signs of recognizing and following voices. He especially loves his grandma Pho-Pho voice and follows it every time he hears it. 
  • Also from Day 1 he has very strong neck muscle. It must be from the hours of trying to get out from the birth canal during delivery.
  • I know that book says babies start to smile from Week 6, but Ethan is already smiling from responding to us on the fourth week. He loves us speaking to him and touching his chin! 
  • Ethan is starting to coo and making noises as his form of communicating eg when his musical toy stops, etc.
  • He is interested in watching lights, toys, movements, very busy learning.

Ethan on his play gym

Misc
  • Ethan was showing signs of looking for ways to soothe himself to sleep at week 3. He started sucking the back of his hands and gets frustrated when he could not hold it to his mouth. I was reluctant to introduce the dummy yet as most articles I read cautioned not to give a dummy on early days. At week 4, I realised that since his breastfeeding has already been established and I would rather want a calm and soothed baby than a angry frustrated one, I decided to take out the Natursutten pacifier for him. He took it amazingly well and spits it out when he is contented. (Review on the pacifier coming soon!)
  • Ethan knows how to use his back of his hand when they are close to his face to avoid his fingernails scratching himself. Clever boy! He had his first manicure session on 30 Dec 2013. I used a mini emery board instead of a nail clipper.
  • Ethan shows a love for music. He loves the musical toy above his cot.
Ethan enjoying his musical toy

Overall, Ethan has been such a blessing to us. He really changed our lives. A lot to learn, but it has been a wonderful journey thus far.



Happy Full Moon Ethan!

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