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Boon Bath Fun – Review and Giveaway

Scrubble your bubble and catch water bugs.  Bath time fun just got more creative while remaining safe for little ones.

boonlogo_color

My favorite company for safe and innovative creations for kids has just released some fun new bath toys.  Like everything Boon makes, they’re PVC-free, phthalate-free, and BPA-free.  So, if one of those whimsical and brightly colored pieces of plastic ends up in your kids mouth, you won’t have to worry about any of the associated health risks that have been linked to other not-so-safe plastic baby toys on the market.

scrubbleScrubble is a fun way to introduce bath time hygiene.  These squishy, squirty, and texturized toys squirt water.  My son loves it when I squeeze out water on him.  He’s learning to squeeze the scrubbles which helps with  his developing motor control.  They unscrew to mix and match the interconnecting pieces and allow for easy cleaning.

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feedingob_saucerfood01The Saucer Stay-put divided plate is my son’s favorite mealtime plate.  Read my recent Saucer review and why I prefer it over many other options on the market.  Saucer is available in white with orange accent or pink accent.

waterbugsWater Bugs glide across the water.  The included mesh net makes it fun to catch them or any other floating bath toys.  This is another great bath time toy that encourages motor coordination.  This toy is recommended for ages 9+ months.

splatSplat is another fun and colorful bath game from Boon.  A floating post beckons little ones to toss the rings around it.  This one is definitely more advanced hand-eye coordination, but even babies as young as 9+ months can enjoy this innovative bath toy.

*WIN IT*

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

As part of the festivities at the Ultimate Blog Party 2009, Boon has teamed up with Traveling with Baby to give away four of their latest products.  Four randomly drawn winners will each take home their choice of a Saucer (retail value $5.99), Scrubble (retail value $9.99), Water Bugs (retail value $7.99), or Splat ($7.99).  (retail value $50) from Boon.  You can earn up to six entries to win your favorite item from Boon!

Please follow directions.  Ineligible entries will be removed.

1. To enter, visit Boon’s site for innovations for modern parents.  Come back here and leave a comment about which Boon giveaway item you’d love to win and for whom.

2. Earn a second entry by blogging about the giveaway and linking to Traveling with Baby using “Boon Bath Fun Giveaway” as the title in your blog’s post.  Then, leave a comment with a link to your post.  Non-bloggers can participate by e-mailing a link to this contest to 5 friends, and carbon copy me (drgarnecki at gmail dot com).

3. Earn a third entry by subscribing to Traveling with Baby.  Leave a comment saying “subscribed” with the e-mail address you used.

4. Follow me on twitter (drdolly) and tweet about this contest.  Leave a comment saying you tweeted and follow me.

5. Earn a fourth entry by subscribing to Boon’s e-mail list.  Leave a comment with the e-mail address you used.

6. Enter my other Ultimate Blog Party 2009 giveaway for See Kai Run/Smaller toddler and baby shoes.  Leave a comment “entered See Kai Run giveaway.”

Leave a valid e-mail address, so I can contact you to claim your prize, or it’ll go to another amazing person.  This contest is open to U.S. and Canada shipping addresses only.  Sorry to those of you who live across the pond.

This contest runs until 11:59PM (EST) on March 31, 2009.

One winner will be randomly selected (via random.org) and announced on this post and e-mailed sometime shortly after March 31st. If a winner doesn’t respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.

UPDATE

Winners have been drawn and e-mailed.

Giving Thanks – Giveaways

Yay! It’s Thanksgiving week.  This is my favorite holiday–a time for family fellowship, delicious food, and a time to be thankful for our blessings.  Even amidst tough recessional times, we always have things to be thankful for, and usually it’s the things that matter most.

I’m thankful for my wonderful husband and adorable son.  They keep me laughing, and they keep my feet grounded when times are rough.  Let’s face it, the road of parenthood is anything but smooth, but at least it’s adventurous and enriching.  My life is so much fuller because of my amazing family.

I’m also thankful for my blessed Savior, Christ Jesus.  In spite of the wretched and sinful wreck that I am, He called me His own and accepted me into his flock.

I’m very thankful to all of you who continue to read my posts.  You know there are days when I’m all over the place with my writing, or there are times I’ve been silent, but you’ve stuck with me.  Thank you!

Things have been rather chaotic hectic insane stressful busy lately with starting up a practice while Calvin’s been teething and getting over a very nasty cold.  There are only so many hours in a day.  I only have 2 hands, and most of the time I use them to take care of my son instead of do things to get the business side of the practice organized, so, we’re a little behind schedule.

As a result, I need to reorganize my blogging commitments so I can do my best to stay on track with everything.  Here’s where I’d love feedback from YOU!  Help me make Traveling with Baby the exceptional blog you’ve grown to love.

What do you enjoy most about visiting this site? Do you love the Calvin photos?  The posts on natural, wholesome health? Posts on motherhood?  Posts on travel?  Other than the product reviews and giveaways, tell me what you look forward to reading, and I’ll make a point to keep your faves as I streamline this blog.

__________________________________________________________________________

I’m a big fan of babywearing.  If I could sew and design the ultimate baby carrier, I would.  But since that’s not one of my skills, I defer to the creators and distributors of some of the best baby carriers around. Kristen at Along for the Ride is giving away an embroidered Ergo Baby Carrier Hands Free System.

Of course, I want to give thanks by providing a couple of giveaways of my own.

Giveaway #1:

treasury20storybooksScholastic just released Treasury of 20 Storybook Classics on 4 DVDs.  The Scholastic stories you and your youngsters have grown to love are brought to life on the little screen.  This fantastic set includes my personal favorite The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.  There are over 4 hours of story-time fun for ages 2 through 8 in this award-winning treasury (Caldecott Medal, NAPPA Gold Award, and Parents’ Choice Gold Medal among 32 others).  From Karma Wilson’s best-sellers Bear Snores On and Bear Wants More to my personal favorite, Beverly Cleary’s classic The Mouse and the Motorcycle, the entire family is sure to adore these treasures featuring celebrity narration by Sean Hayes, James Naughton, B.D. Wong, and others.  The read-along feature, truly makes this set edu-tainment for young readers.  Make the Treasury of 20 Storybook Classics part of your library today by ordering online. You can also win your own set here at TWB, retail value $29.95.

Giveaway #2:

The December I turned 6-years-old, I visited my grandparents in Washington state (we drove ALL the way from Texas).  My grandmother taught me to memorize T’was the Night Before Christmas.  I loved that poem, and I recited it for the entire family when we gathered to celebrate Christmas.  I love the beautiful imagery that it conjures up.  I hope that reciting T’was the Night Before Christmas along with  reading about the birth of Christ in the book of Luke become part of our household Christmas traditions for years to come.

nightbeforechristmassstdvd-ns1As a 6-year-old, I was able to read the poem, and my grandmother recited it to me numerous times which helped me to learn it as a child.  But, with today’s DVD technology, even pre-schoolers can learn it with Scholastic’s Storybook Treasures: The Night Before Christmas…and More Classic Holiday Tales come to life.  The award-winning DVD features 7 stories plus the Spanish version of Too Many Tamales. Louise August’s In the Month of Kislev, teaches children about true meaning of Hannukkah and a little about yummy potato pancakes.  Alfre Woodard narrates Seven Candles for Kwanzaa.  And, Anthony Edwards narrates the classic poem by Clement Clarke Moore, The Night Before Christmas.  Get all of your holiday tales in this lovely treasure which is perfect for every family’s DVD library.  73 minutes of storytime for ages 3 through 9.  Order yours online, or win your own copy here at TWB, retail value $14.95.

May your family be richly blessed with love, fellowship and thankfulness this Thanksgiving!

____________________________________________________________________________

Fine print:

Two winners will be selected for The Night Before Christmas DVD, and one winner will be selected for the 20 Storybook Treasury (via random.org)  To enter, leave a comment answering the questions above in red telling me what features and posts on TWB you’ve enjoyed reading and that you’d love for me to continue posting as I streamline this blog.  In your comment, please indicate which DVD you’d prefer to win.  Dibs goes to the first randomly drawn name, but hey, there are 3 winners, so you do have increased odds of winning something fun for your family!

Make sure you leave a valid e-mail address, so I can contact you to claim your prize, or it’ll go to another amazing person.  This contest is open to U.S. only.

This contest runs until 11:59PM (EST) on November 30, 2008.

Two winners will be randomly selected (via random.org) and announced on this post and e-mailed sometime shortly after December 1st. If a winner(s) doesn’t respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.

Posted by Dr. Dolly on Traveling with Baby

Stylish, Safe, and Sanitary Shopping

ALTERNATES:

Catherine copeland, on July 12th, 2008 at 5:58 pm Said: “I really love the baby turtle design. so very cute. what a great product.”

______________________________________________________________________

Now that Calvin’s a little too heavy to carry in a sling while I’m at a grocery store, I like having the option to let him ride in the shopping cart.  However, he also wants to chew the handle that’s been touched by who knows how many people’s germ-laden hands. Meanwhile, he still wiggles and bounces, and he could give himself a good bonk in the noggin if he wasn’t properly secured to the cart.

Melissa at Krafty Kreations by Melissa offered to let me sample an in-stock/pre-made KozyPal Shopping Cart Cover.  There were so many fantastic fabric options, but I opted for the one pictured, called Juicy Jungle. I was so excited to receive this handmade item in the mail, and I immediately showed it to my sister-in-law, Vicky, who is a fantastic seamstress.  Vicky remarked at how well it was constructed and that the size was large enough to fit the monster-sized carts at wholesale food clubs.

Since I’m a traveling mom, we sometimes dine at restaurants with Calvin while on the road.  I’m not too fond of those standard high chairs because they’re usually covered with food grime or baby drool from the previous occupant.  The great thing about the KozyPal shopping cart cover is that it also doubles as a high chair cover.  Talk about hitting two birds with one all-encompassing stone!

Now, Calvin can have a little padding under his bottom and behind his back when sitting in a shopping cart or restaurant high chair.  If he does have the inkling to chew, at least it’ll be on his own toys which attach easily to the loops . . . and I don’t have to worry about the germ-infested handles or sides.  I’m all about letting him build up his immune system naturally, but our apartment floor and shopping cart handles are two different things entirely!

The KozyPal is big enough to fit large carts, and yet, it rolls up neatly to the size of a small duffle for storage.  We keep ours in our vehicle so it’s always there when I’m out and about with Calvin.  For the more adventurous shoppers who have a specific fabric in mind that isn’t an option on the Kozypal website, never fear.  You can mail in your chosen fabric or have an online fabric retailer send your fabric directly to Kozypal for a custom order.

KozyPal Cart Cover Features

*Quality hand-made shopping cart covers sewn in a smoke free and pet free home.
*Universal fit for all grocery store shopping carts, wholesale club carts, park swings, public strollers in malls and zoos, and restaurant high chairs or booster seats.
*Leg holes are reinforced with matching bias tape for a clean, sharp, finished look.
*Premium extra-loft one-inch thick batting that is washable, non-allergenic, and flame retardant
*Two toy loops, so you can easily attach toys, pacifiers, or any item that your baby might throw onto the dirty store floor
*A matching, detachable 3-foot nylon safety belt with reinforced button holes. Why use the stores nasty safety belt? It’s just as dirty as the shopping cart itself.
*A handy mommy bag with a Velcro closure positioned at the handle bar so mom can easily carry her keys, checkbook, cell phone, etc. Easy access for mom.
**KozyPal shopping cart covers are created with adjustable elastic to easily expand to fit any shopping cart and even wholesale stores extra wide carts. Simplicity was in mind when creating the KozyPal, so with this type of design, your KozyPal shopping cart cover can be quickly installed ONE HANDED!

Not only is it made for one baby, but you can find designs made for 2 babies.  Krafty Kreations by Melissa features a wide variety of print options for a single kozypal and double kozypal: retro rocketship prints, paisleys, stripes, flowers, and animals.  Additionally, you can select some great options in your personalized kozypal: leg flaps, cup/bottle holder,  detachable 8×8 pillow, 14″x9″ diaper pocket.  Designs for pre-made singles range from $45 (sale items) to $72.95 (reversible items); pre-made doubles start at $70 and range up to $89.95.

Check out some of these gorgeous designs among 250 designer fabrics:

Traveling with Baby readers have access to a rad coupon on Kozypal: 10% off all regularly-priced cart covers with code TWB10 (Expires 9/1/08) which means big savings on a fantastic product.

**WIN IT**

One reader will win a $50 gift certificate toward KozyPal Shopping Cart Covers.  To enter, visit Kozypal’s website and check out all the cool fabric designs.  Then, comment on this post on which design you’d spend your $50 (other than a design mentioned on this post).  The contest for the gift certificate ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Thursday, July 17th. The winner will be announced on Friday, July 18th.

Only one entry per person. Multiple entries will be deleted. The winner and 2 alternates will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post and on Prizey. If you provide your e-mail address, I will contact you. The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to the first alternate to contact me with a shipping address.

Bring Your Baby to Hawaii

Through rhythmic sounds from the islands, of course!  Putumayo World Music doesn’t just create cool, eclectic java house sounds for adults, but their Putumayo Kids division has compiled a number of international themed albums perfect to expand your child’s musical appreciation of other cultures and to challenge his rhythmic awareness.

I recently reviewed Hawaiian Playground and I was transported to tropical beaches with turquoise-blue waters and swaying palms–complete with ukeleles, slack keys, and hula dancers.  It was obvious that the 50’s rock ‘n roll made a huge impression on the local artists who contributed to this fun and contagious album.  Rock, reggae, and folk masterfully weave their way into a lively island jam experience.  You’ll find yourself daydreaming along with Joe McDermott’s “Come to Hawaii”.

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself shaking your hips and dancing with your baby as only moms can unabashedly do.  I found Calvin was actually more playful and alert during his awake/play times while this album was on.  That alertness has nothing to do with the fact that I was dancing the hula while he was smiling at me.  Absolutely nothing.

**WIN IT**

Putumayo Kids is offering a copy of Hawaiian Playground to one reader of Traveling with Baby.  To enter, visit Putumayo World Music’s Putumayo Kids site and browse their collection of world music albums for little ears.  Then, come back to this post and leave a comment relevant to this post.  Tell me which Putumayo Kids album you’d like to try and why.  Or, tell me about your trip to Hawaii.  Whatever you like.  Just make it relevant.  There are definite brownie points for creativity.

Contest entries are open until 11:59PM on Thursday, 3 July.  A winner and two alternates will be selected via random.org and announced on Independence Day on this post and on PrizeyFetch.  If you choose to provide your e-mail address, I will contact you via e-mail.  If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, then the first alternate to e-mail me with shipping information will be selected.

**UPDATE**

Happy Independence Day!  Congratulations to the winner:

JenO, on June 30th, 2008 at 1:24 pm Said: “I’d love the African Dreamland (altho any of the dreamland ones would be cool!) Ru doesn’t sleep well without some sort of noise, so it might as well be something I enjoy, too! (and if the lyrics are in english, I have a hard time sleeping)”

Alternates:

Denise, on July 2nd, 2008 at 10:09 am Said: “Aloha! The Hawaiian Playground would be a lot of fun for my daughter.”

katie, on June 28th, 2008 at 9:56 am Said: “I WOULD LOVE THE ANIMAL PLAYGROUND. WE LOVE LISTENING TO MUSIC TOGETHER!”

Sock It to Ya!

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to Aubrey!

· Aubrey, on June 22nd, 2008 at 5:36 pm Said: Edit Comment

I’d have to go with the sneakers in 0-12 months for my son – he never wears shoes anyway!

Alternates:

· jenni, on June 22nd, 2008 at 5:48 pm Said: Edit Comment

These are so cute. I would get the variety pack for boys size 12-24 month. So so adorable!!

· Shannon B., on June 22nd, 2008 at 7:20 pm Said: Edit Comment

I would love the sneakers (boy) in size 0 – 12. So cute!

Calvin won a set of really cool Jazzy Toes.  These are socks with punch and pizzaz without any annoying trademarked cartoon characters or cutesy tootsy designs.  In the variety pack, my two faves are the high top sneaker socks and the european leather sandals with socks socks.

Great grip on the bottoms will help him when he starts walking on his own.  And the elastic band on top actually keeps the socks up.  I’ve had nothing but trouble from all other types of socks.  So, I was totally stoked to see how well these Jazzy Toes stay up!

Jazzy Toes come in 2 sizes: 0-12m and 12-24m.  Since Calvin was wearing 6m sized socks since birth, I went with the 12-24m.  They’re just slightly big on him, but his feet are only getting bigger, not smaller.

These fab socks are designed by industrial designer Raymond Hwang and Winnie Liu, CEO and Pres of Jazzy Toes and mom to 2 boys.  The Jazzy Toes collection includes 12 designs: 6 for boys and 6 for girls.  Boys designs include sandals, wing tips, sneakers, cowboy boots, loafers, and deck shoes.  Girls designs include sandals, spectators, sneakers, cowgirl boots, loafers, and mary janes.

If you don’t need socks for your little one, but you’re looking for a unique shower gift, Jazzy Toes makes gift giving convenient with a ready-to-mail gift box that only requires a stamp and an address.  Save on gift wrap, tissue paper, and save some trees!

Product features:

  • 6 pairs/colors in a gift box set
  • elasticized ankle
  • non-skid grip on the bottom
  • ready to mail gift box
  • sizes: 0-12m, 12-24m
  • materials: 75% cotton, 20% nylon, 5% spandex
  • made in Taiwan

I *heart* Taiwan.  My mama’s from there, so I’m especially fond of great products made from a very cool little island.  Also, there’s an especially cute baby boy featured on the Jazzy Toes photo gallery.

A gift box of 6 pairs of socks retails for $25 to $29 depending on the size and style.  We ordered the variety pack because there are just too many cute styles and I wanted Calvin to try them all.  You can order yours here.

**WIN IT**

Jazzy Toes is offering one Traveling with Baby reader a set of 6 pairs of socks.  Winner chooses size and style.  To enter, visit the Jazzy Toes site, then comment on this post on the size and style you’d love to win and who you’d love to win them for.

The contest for Jazzy Toes socks ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Monday, June 30th. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, July 1st.

Only one entry per person. Multiple entries will be deleted. The winner and 2 alternates will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post and on Prizey. If you provide your e-mail address, I will contact you. The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to the first alternate to contact me with a shipping address.

Boon to Eat!

According to Wikipedia, Boon is an archaic English word meaning a prayer or a request, most commonly preserved in the phrase to grant a boon. Boon is also a common Chinese name derived from the Chinese Character ‘Wen’, meaning honest and kind.

Boon is definitely an answer to a parent’s prayer when it comes to feeding baby. Their fun and easy-to-use feeding line hits the mark for great design and safety for baby. All items are dishwasher safe, BPA-free, and phthalate-free.

Squirt – Baby Food Dispensing Spoon

The Squirt baby food dispensing spoon allows for convenient feeding, one bite at a time. The easy-to-fill bulb holds up to 3 ounces of baby food and attaches firmly to the spoon end. Simply squeeze the bulb to dispense just the right amount of food. Squirt comes with a protective cover to seal food in and keep the spoon clean between feedings. By combining the spoon and food container into one product, Squirt makes one-handed feeding a snap.

This was so much fun to use. It reminded me of a baby’s version of a whipped cream dispenser. I could just picture a group of pre-teens at a slumber party having loads of fun with this.

I realized after the first use that I needed to blend up homemade baby food more smoothly or a lump could trap the tiny opening and cause further squirting to make quite a mess. Once I corrected the issue on my end with food preparation consistency, the squirt was very easy and clean to use. If you freeze homemade baby food, you can just plop in a few cubes, and once they’re thawed, shake it up and you’re ready to go. Voila! Fast food for baby. Food from a jar works just as well, if not better. And, squirt is a great place to store jarred food if you need a non-breakable container that works for feedings outside the home.

This product is great for parents on-the-go. Road trips, plane trips, picnics …anywhere you’ve gotta feed baby and you’re not at home, squirt’s got you covered, but not literally. (Retail value $7.99)

Fluid – No-spill Toddler Cup

This streamlined no-spill toddler cup has an ergonomic, two-handed grip that is perfect for small hands. The angled spout requires less head tipping, making it more comfortable to use.

Brilliant. Genius, actually. Finally, someone invented a cup for babies and toddlers that’s designed for the way THEY drink from cups–with both hands. The spout is lined with a foam-type material that keeps water in when turned upside-down but it doesn’t have a valve that requires a lot of suction pressure to dispense the liquid–a great way to avoid ear infections. There are no valves or straws to clean–yet another plus. The angled spout is another ingenuity. Instead of making baby crank his head back 90 degrees to get the contents of the cup, make the cup spout angled instead.

his is actually the first sippy cup Calvin’s been able to drink from. The others end up as chew toys or the valves require so much pressure he can’t get the liquid out of them. Boon’s Fluid WORKS. I can actually see the bubbles from the water he’s able to drink. My husband loves this product so much, he wishes there was one available in a size suitable for adults. (Retail value $5.99)

Benders – Adaptable Utensils

When first-time eaters start using utensils, their motor skills are not fully developed. Benders adaptable utensils were designed to help make the transition to regular utensils a little easier. Parents can position the adjustable end to the perfect angle to accommodate the child’s grip. As motor skills develop, adjust little by little, until straightened.

Not only are benders great for babies learning to feed themselves, it’s also helpful for adults feeding babies. We have several varieties of baby spoons for Calvin, but we find ourselves continuously re-using the Boon Bender at every meal because it’s comfortable to hold and I can easily transition from helping Calvin eat to allowing him to handle the utensil himself for a few spoonfuls.

Note to Boon designers, the spoon is a little too deep for a baby’s mouth. The shape of the squirt spoon is better suited for a baby. The benders are more suitable for older babies (9 months+) to toddlers. I often have to tip or bend the spoon up to help Calvin get all the contents. The beautiful white plastic does stain over time. I’ve tried scrubbing, boiling, and dishwashing but there’s still a mild yellow stain at the joint of the spoon and the handle from all the sweet potatoes that have been mixed up with the spoon. (Retail value $5.99)

Snack Ball – Snack Container

Kids and parents will love this fun, sphere-shaped snack container. The rigid form protects snacks from crushing, making the Snack Ball great for travel. Two halves unscrew for easy cleaning and the lid snaps in place to keep snacks inside.

Calvin isn’t yet at the stage where he eats non slurpy items. Once he’s at that stage, he’ll have fun with the snack ball not only at snack time but also playing catch with us. Snacks and playtime all rolled into a single ball of fun. I may snag it to stash my almond and raisin mix to snack on the run. (Retail value $6.49)

ModWare – Toddler Utensils

ModWare is perfect for toddlers who are ready to graduate from Benders, but who are not quite ready for adult tableware. The ergonomic design has no sharp edges and the handles are designed with a soft, comfortable grip.

This fun fork and spoon set looks good and feels good to grasp. They’re slightly deeper than the Benders set and just as great for little hands. Plus, they come in a zippy orange design. (Retail value $4.99)

Groovy – Interlocking Plate and Bowl Set
Engaging kids at mealtime can be a challenge. What better way to keep their interest than to give them their own special plate? Groovy offers a fun way to serve meals in a customizable configuration. This interlocking plate and bowl set includes a toddler-sized plate with two separate compartments plus two small bowls that attach to the edge of the plate in a variety of positions. The small bowls are perfect for dipping—always an engaging activity at mealtime—or for serving small portions.

What a fun plate with a rubbery bottom to keep the plate from becoming a hockey puck at dinner time. The dipper cups have a notch on the bottom which attaches them to the plates in any configuration you or your little one desires. The four separate compartments prevent food from becoming a self-made casserole when those fine-motor skills are still developing. Dishwasher-safe materials make for easy clean-up. Scratch-resistant materials ensure lasting quality. (Retail value $12.99)

**WIN IT**

One winner will receive an entire Boon Feeding Line: Groovy, Squirt, Mod Ware, Catch Bowl, Snack Ball, Benders, and Fluid to meet your baby’s needs from when he first begins solids to toddlerhood. (Retail value $45.44)

To enter, leave a thoughtful comment here about something pertaining to this post. The contest for Boon Feeding Line ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Sunday, June 29th. The winner will be announced on Monday, June 30th.

Only one entry per person. Multiple entries will be deleted. The winner and 2 alternates will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post and on Prizey. If you provide your e-mail address, I will contact you. The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to the first alternate to contact me with a shipping address.

**UPDATE**

Congratulations to the winner!  Suzanne B. (Crunchy Green Mom)

Desperately Seeking the Perfect Diaper Bag

I’ve been a fan of Pottery Barn Kids since before I was ever pregnant. Inspirational catalog full of colorful and whimsical fun for fantastic nurseries and kids rooms with enough style and function to keep parents thrilled. Aside from looking great, they produce great quality items. I regularly receive the PBK catalog, and I always flip through it, drool, and dream.

So, PBK was the first company that came to mind when I thought about what would comprise the perfect diaper bag. Let’s face it, folks, there are a LOT of options out there with a price range to meet every budget need. However, regardless of price and options, how many diaper bags can really carry their weight for a parent on the go?

So, before I launch into a review of PBK’s Ultimate Diaper Bag (appropriately named, I might add), first I want to describe what I imagine the perfect diaper bag to be. In case you haven’t already figured it out, I’m extremely practical and frugal.

Sure, I like pretty things, too, but I won’t sacrifice comfort for style . . . because life is just way to short to suffer on PURPOSE.

When I consider design for anything (from women’s shoes to bags) I completely consider how it affects the user in the area of comfort and whether the item is helpful or hurtful to the spine and the user’s posture. [Chiropractic segue] Because guess what, you only get one spine . . . it can NEVER be replaced. Posture? You can sit up straight and all that jazz, but if your posture sucks, it’s probably because you’ve done a lot of things over time that cause your spine and muscles to compensate (think: falls, car accidents, childbirth, carrying heavy things around, wearing high heels, constantly typing on a computer, etc.)

Dr. Dolly’s Ideal Diaper Bag Considerations:

1. Comfort: shoulder strap padding with adjustable strap length

2. The ability to be worn as a backpack (because always wearing the diaper bag on one shoulder really will screw up your posture and make your low back sore): again, padded straps with adjustable strap length

3. Enough room for cloth diapers as well as all your on-the-go baby needs: most diaper bags on the market are geared for disposables, which is utterly frustrating for those of us who use cloth. You either need a duffle bag built for Hockey gear or a reasonably wide and deep enough diaper bag. I challenge diaper bag designers to make something functional and pretty for users of big, bulky, cloth diapers.

4. Insulated pockets for bottles or sippy cups: self-explanatory. More specifically, those pockets need to be big enough for a nursing mom’s quart-sized water bottle, and not just a little baby bottle.

5. Enough pockets and organizational compartments to help keep everything in it’s respective place: You’ve got minimal time to whip out all the essentials for changing a soiled diaper when baby’s on one of those diaper changing stations in the women’s room. You know what I mean. Baby wants to roll over, do gymnastics, pee . . . and you’ve got to whip off a dirty diaper, wipe ’em down, and attach a clean one in less than 30 seconds. When you’re trying to find what’s where in the diaper bag . . . you’re up a creek. So, more pockets = more better.

6. Padded changing pad that’s long enough for a baby that grows, oh let’s say, larger than a newborn. Sometimes I just don’t have another clean pre-fold or anything else that’s comfy and padded for baby’s head. The changing pad that came with my first diaper bag, well, if my son’s head was on it, his butt didn’t fit, and vice versa. And, I didn’t want to leave one inch of his precious baby skin exposed on those public changing tables. So, provide a generously-sized changing pad, please.

7. Easy to clean surface. Public bathrooms aren’t the cleanest places, and sometimes there isn’t a door hook to hang up your bag. Sometimes, when you open the car door, it accidentally falls out of the car into the mud/snow/salt on the side of the street (oh okay, maybe that’s JUST ME!). So, you need a bag that’s easy to wipe down, and doesn’t require dry cleaning.

8. Pretty design and color options. Yes, I’m practical, but I like design, too. I don’t want something with polka dots, flowers, or stripes that I’m going to grow tired of. Give me a classic and clean design that works for boy or girl, mom or dad, 2008 or 2012.

While considering all of those things, I looked at numerous diaper bags online and in catalogs to see if anything measured up. My options were extremely few. PBK had the Ultimate Diaper bag which, at first glance, appeared to meet most of my standards. So, I contacted Pottery Barn Kids, and they were more than happy to participate in a review.

The Pottery Barn Ultimate Diaper bag met or exceeded my expectations in almost every area. When it arrived, the tag noted that the design inspiration was due to input from a focus group of real moms–and it definitely showed!

Check out the design details and compare it to what I consider ideal/essential in a diaper bag:

  • comfort strap (check)
  • converts to backpack (check)
  • insulated bottle bag (check, times 2!)
  • removable changing pad (extra-credit check–not only is it long and wider than most, it also folds up neatly with a magnetic closure)
  • inside zipper pocket (for Mommy’s things)
  • inside clip for keys (not on my wishlist, but after using it, I think I’ll update my wishlist . . . how NICE to not have to fish for my keys!)
  • wipe-clean fabric (check)
  • magnetic closure
  • reinforced, footed bottom

The insulated bottle compartments (one on each end) have a brilliant “V”-shaped pocket that allow for easy access. I can fit a quart-sized water bottle in it.

There are more pockets in this bag than I had in my military flight suit or battle dress uniform. Seriously made for serious parents.

The enclosed changing pad is long enough for my tall son, and it folds up compactly into the size of a clutch.

What does it feel like and look like when you wear it? That’s what every potential diaper bag carrying mama (and papa) really wants to know. Is it comfortable? Does it look chic?

It’s comfortable, but there is room for improvement when worn as a backpack. The straps are padded, just like the awesome shoulder strap, however, the straps are short, so if your shoulders have a circumference for women who wear medium to large sized shirts, then the padded shoulder straps may not hit in the right place. On me, the padding felt great, but it ended abruptly above the armpit area, so I had only canvas straps digging into my skin. It needed more padding length to fit comfortably if it was to be worn in such a manner for longer than 2 minutes. I actually hiked up some fairly steep hills with the bag converted to the backpack straps (set up takes seconds, literally) and it definitely caused some armpit chafing. Ouch!

However, when worn with the shoulder strap, either across the body or on the same side, the wide, rubber-padded strap just oozes with comfort for all day wear for all your diapering tote-along needs. Just how many cloth diapers can it hold? I was able to easily fit in 7 stuffed All-In-One cloth diapers, as well as 2 changes of clothes, wipes, 2 toys, wet bag, and burp rags in the main compartment. There’s definitely room for a cloth diapering mom’s essentials.

This all-encompassing diaper bag retails for a reasonable $59. Monogrammed personalization is available for $6.50 more. Color options are chocolate, black, khaki, navy, and red. The khaki and red are currently on sale for $39.99.

**WIN IT**

Pottery Barn Kids is offering 5 chances for you to win an Ultimate Diaper Bag in chocolate here at Traveling with Baby. There will be 5 opportunities to win this bag over the next 5 weeks. If you don’t win during week one, come back and visit again on the subsequent weeks.  The Ultimate Diaper Bag contests will be open for comments on Mondays.

To enter, leave a comment about what feature(s) are most appealing in a diaper bag. What totes your fancy? The contest for Diaper Bag 1 ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, June 20th. There are a few extra days in this week’s contest. The winner will be announced on Saturday, June 21st.

Only one entry per person each contest week. Multiple entries will be deleted. The winner and 2 alternates will be selected on Random.org and announced on this post and on Prizey. If you provide your e-mail address, I will contact you. The winner has 72 hours to claim the prize, otherwise, the prize goes to the first alternate to contact me with a shipping address.

**UPDATE**

Congratulations!!  The winner of the Ultimate Diaper bag is

Brooke who said:”The most important features are size, weight, stainproofness, style, and ability to attach to the back of a stroller.”

But, if you weren’t selected, don’t fret, you have 4 more chances to win an Ultimate Diaper Bag in chocolate starting Monday, June 23rd.