Baby Monitor Review: Project Nursery

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We originally had the Motorola 36S Baby Monitor, which we loved, but the cables ended up breaking on us, and since we are expecting our second child in April 2017, we decided it was time for an upgrade to a baby monitor that would support split screen capabilities.  For anyone interested in a basic baby monitor, the Motorola 36S is a great monitor, and we highly recommend it.  You can read my review on it here.

My brother purchased the Project Nursery Baby Monitor for us for Christmas, and also got us the extra camera (which is sold separately).  You can purchase this direct from BuyBuy Baby (and walk out of the store with it), or you can order it online either from Amazon.com or direct from Project Nursery.

The camera has quite the price tag on it, retailing at CAD$379.99, with extra cameras setting you back CAD$129.99.  With this however, you get a 5″ parent unit/screen, as well as the mini monitor which also comes with a watch strap or carabiner so you can either wear it or clip it on you somewhere (such as a belt hoop or something).   The mini monitor is a great addition to the overall baby monitor, as I find it super convenient if you need to do chores around the house (such as laundry, vacuuming, general cleaning), where you can’t be holding on to a 5″ parent unit.  The mini monitor basically allows you to be hands free, while still having your baby/child in sight.  This is a unique feature exclusive to Project Nursery, and is what I would consider the reason for the hefty price tag.  If you can afford it, or if you can request this monitor for a baby shower/gift from a loving relative, I would highly recommend it.

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Unboxing of the Project Nursery 5-inch Baby Monitor 

The overall unit is very easy to set up, you could do it without even reading the instructions, but instructions are always a good idea.  It comes out of the box basically ready to go.  You just have to plug it in and away you go.  The unit runs on its own secured network, meaning it does not run on wifi – which is more secure, and prevents other people/strangers/creeps from tapping in to your baby monitor and doing weird sh*t.  And apparently, there’s actually creeps out there who do this, and even go so far as to communicate with the baby by accessing the microphone on the units.  I legit did not think people did this, but I guess there’s all sorts of crazies out there.

The Parent Unit
The parent unit for this particular model comes with a 5″ screen, but is also available in a 4.3″ screen for CAD$249.99.  There’s pros and cons with the large 5″ screen.  The obvious pro is that its big – so you can see easily, you’re not straining to look at details, etc.  This is especially helpful when using multiple monitors on the split screen option, since you aren’t sharing the small space with multiple cameras.  The major problem that I have with the size of this monitor however, is that because its so big, its very bright.  We use the monitor primarily at night, so when my husband and I are sleeping, we have the monitor on.  When you have such a large screen, it gives off quite a bit of light or glow in a dark bedroom which can totally suck if you like a nice dark room.  Although there is an option to “dim” the brightness on the parent unit, when you do so, the infrared doesn’t seem to work as well and the whole screen almost goes blurry. There is also a button right on the parent unit where you can turn the video feature off, so the screen is black, but that kinda defeated the purpose of a video monitor for us.  You can still hear everything from baby unit though, so if your baby is crying, you’ll still hear that with the video turned off (not the monitor).  The other problem that I have with the parent unit is that it emits a fairly loud sound (probably from transmitting or some sort of interference).  This poses a problem when we are trying to sleep.  Its very annoying, and the only way to make it stop is to turn the sound all the way down.  When you do this however, you compromise the actual sounds coming from your child’s room.  When I contacted Project Nursery about this, their response was that they wanted to have a super sensitive microphone so that the parent unit would basically pick everything up.  I have posted a short video of the sound on YouTube here, so you have an idea what I’m talking about.  Its a 14 second video with our dog as the test subject (instead of our kid), and you can hear almost like a “ticking” sound coming from the monitor.  So, thats the pros and cons of the parent unit in a nutshell.

The parent unit is super easy to maneuver through.  There are buttons on the unit, and they are easy to figure out and use.  The main screen on the parent unit displays signal strength, room temperature, which camera(s) are connected, night time mode, and the time.  I love that it shows the time, as our previous baby monitor (the Motorola 36S) did not.  The battery on the parent unit lasts a long time which is a plus, especially if you’re a lucky parent who has a baby who naps/sleeps for long periods of time.  While we’re on the topic of battery life, the baby monitor comes with cables that are almost like a rope, rather than the usual plasticky cables.  I prefer this, as I find this “rope” material more flexible and more durable.  The parent unit also has alerts that you can set up, such as motion, sound, temperature and battery alerts.  Basically, if the temperature in the room falls below a certain temperature, or rises above a certain temperature, you can have the monitor alert you to this.  This monitor also supports an SD Card so you can record stuff if you need/want to as well.

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Project Nursery 5-inch Baby Monitor in Split Screen

The split screen capability on this monitor is the main reason we were interested in it.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, we are expecting our second child in 4 months, so we wanted to make sure that we had a monitor that would accommodate more than one camera, and not one that you had to scroll through.  This was huge for us, and I hadn’t seen any reviews about the split screen anywhere online, so I wanted to make sure that I posted a picture (above) so you can see what it looks like.  I only have the 2 cameras, but my understanding is that this monitor can display up to 4 cameras all on the one screen, without having to scroll between cameras.

The Mini Monitor 
The mini monitor is a great addition to this monitor, and personally I think is the reason for the extra money that you spend on it.  Put it this way, if you were to purchase a baby monitor and be able to purchase an extra parent unit, then it would probably all work out to around the same price.  The mini monitor is a little bulky to wear as a watch (and it does come with a watch strap), but if you don’t care what it looks like and you’re just into the practicality of it, then its awesome.

The Baby Unit
The baby unit or the main camera has a very good range of motion for the pan/tilt function.  It is much better than the Motorola 36S.  It also has better baby lullabies or white noise options if this is something of interest.  The zoom is about the same as the Motorola, basically showing the regular view, or a 2x zoom feature.  The baby unit also has a very bright blue light that comes off the camera (see picture below), and literally almost lights up the room, but they do provide stickers for you to place over top of this light if you find that it does bother your baby.

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Here is the blue light I mentioned, coming from the Project Nursery Baby Unit

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Project Nursery Parent Unit vs. Motorola 36S Parent unit. This is shown without the infrared, so the baby unit was filming in a well-lit room.  

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Project Nursery vs. Motorola MBPS38-2.  This was taken with the baby units in a completely dark room, with the infrared working.

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View # 2 of the Project Nursery Baby Monitor (behind) vs. Motorola MBPS38-2 (in front)

And that pretty much wraps up my review of the Project Nursery 5-inch Baby Monitor.  If you have any questions, or want more pictures/video, please feel free to contact me and I can provide those to you.  Also, if you have anything to add to this review, please feel free to leave comments below!  Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Baby Monitor Review: Motorola MBP 36S

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I’m on a mission to find the best baby monitor on the market.  We currently own the Motorola 36S baby monitor, and are very happy with it thus far.  It does the job for what you will need, and has some extra features that you wouldn’t think you need, but end up being pretty useful and you’ll be thankful are there.  This first review is going to be a basic review of the 36S, as we have the unit with only one camera, and one parent unit.  I’m hoping to eventually get another camera so that I can review this for parents with multiples, or parents who are expecting baby number 2 or more.

The Motorola 36S baby monitor runs on its on network.  In the beginning, I couldn’t have cared less about this feature.  But as time went on, I saw more and more articles popping up on social media and in the news about people hacking into wifi networks in regards to baby monitors, and watching your baby, and in some instances talking to your baby.  Creepy, I know, and again, at the beginning, I thought “yeah right, who would even care about your baby sleeping?!” but I guess there’s some crazies out there, or people who maybe have mental issues.  So, this feature is really not something to be overlooked, and is something you at least will want to consider when choosing a baby monitor for your baby/family.  The disadvantage to it not working on a wifi network is that you can’t use it with a smart phone or other similar device.

The camera itself was super easy to set up – no fiddling around with wifi networks or anything like that.  You basically take it out of the box, plug it in and its ready to go.  Easy as pie.  The range on the monitor goes up to 800 metres, which is fairly decent.  Our son can be asleep in his room, and I can take our dog out for a pee on the corner of the street and still be able to watch the parent unit without it cutting out.

The infrared on the camera is awesome.  It moves along with the pan/tilt/zoom features in the camera, meaning that when you’re using the camera at night, you’ll get good quality regardless of the position of the camera.  If you need to place the camera somewhere on a shelf for example, and tilt the camera downwards to be able to watch your baby who is positioned lower in a crib, or a toddler bed, the infrared moves with the camera, and the picture quality and lighting is not jeopardized.

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A photo of our 15 month old, asleep at night (this is the view with the infrared, in pitch darkness)

Video quality is far superior to some of the other brands on the market, particularly at night with the night vision or infrared.  The microphone on the baby unit is super sensitive, and you can literally hear a pin drop, which is awesome.  You can obviously turn the volume down if you need to, but you can hear everything from blankets swishing around to your baby sitting up (even if they’re quiet).  There is no audio or visual static interference, so you don’t get any annoying and unwanted sounds through the parent unit, which is a bonus if you’re using the monitor overnight when you’re trying to sleep.  The only noise you will hear from the monitor is your baby.

The camera comes with some additional features, such as temperature, lullabies, ability to speak to your baby from the parent unit, and alarms.  Although I have yet to see a review of this, I believe you can also purchase extra cameras to use with this model.  However, beware that the camera models are very particular, meaning if you have the 36S model, the camera for the 36 will not pair/work with the parent unit.  Also, my understanding of this baby monitor with multiple cameras, is that it does not offer up a split screen option, so you will have to scroll from one camera to the next, which may not be ideal when you’re trying to keep an eye on a newborn.

There are a few set backs that I’ve noticed with this particular unit however.  First of all, the screen on the parent unit only stays on for 60 minutes.  After that, it shuts off, so you’ll have to physically turn the screen back on.  This only happens when its not plugged in, so this isn’t an issue if you’re using the monitor over night and it remains plugged in.  The battery life doesn’t last very long even with a full charge, but so far, it has lasted longer than our 15 month old naps.  The other thing that I would like to have seen on the parent unit is the time.  It shows the temperature in the room, the signal strength, which camera it is looking at (if you have more than one paired), and it shows the battery life.  Lastly, after about 6-7 months of everyday use (overnight plugged in use, and probably a 2 hour/day nap, unplugged) the cable to charge the parent unit is starting to wear.  What I mean by this is, when the parent unit is plugged in, it’ll show that its charging, and maybe 10 minutes later, it will stop charging, and suddenly start charging again.  The best thing I can relate this to is when your iPhone cable is frayed and it keeps getting and losing a charge, even though it is plugged in.  This is a huge problem for us, since, as I mentioned just before, that the battery doesn’t last very long on the parent unit when its unplugged.  So, if the cable shorts out, and the parent unit isn’t being constantly charged overnight, when my husband and I are sleeping, we won’t know if/when the unit battery dies.

Overall, an awesome baby camera, on the top of our list for sure when it comes to baby monitors.  The only reason we are replacing it, is because we are expecting baby number two and we really want to get one that has a split screen option.

 

How To use the Owlet Baby Care Monitor

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I felt like I should write a post about how to properly use the Owlet baby monitor. I was reading and extracting information from various different blogs to try to figure out how to get the most out of our Owlet baby monitor, and thought I would write a “compilation”, if you will as a tutorial for the Owlet Baby Care Monitor.

Opening the Box and and Quick Start

When you first open the box, there’s a Base Station, 3 socks, the socks electronics (white thing that goes in the sock and is the essence of the Owlet), a power USB block, a USB power cable (for the Base Station), and a short micro USB cable, which charges the sock electronic (or sock) from the Base Station.

Once you’ve received your Owlet, head over to the iTunes App Store, and download the Owlet App.  Follow the instructions in the App to set everything up.  Its very easy, and very straight forward.

Charge and place the sock on your baby’s foot and connect through the app.  Your baby is now being monitored.  Its as simple as that.

Operating the Base Station

The Base unit is the “headquarters” of the owlet monitor and is your primary alert station.  The Base is the part that tells the end user (parent) if/when there is a problem – from the sock falling off, to not being able to get a proper read, to an actual problem with your baby’s vital signs.

The Base has both a light and alarm.  The alarm will sound if/when there is a problem.  The alarm can be turned off completely though the Owlet App, or can be customized to sound when certain things happen.  For example, we have configured it to NOT sound its alarm if the sock falls off, but we have it set up to set off the alarm if our baby’s oxygen levels or heart rate levels are not within the norms.  If you want to turn the alerts off without using the app, you can do so by pressing and releasing the Base Station until it beeps and the light turns off.

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Turning off the alerts without using the App

The Base also has different coloured lights that alert you to different problems when monitoring:
Green – General monitoring, everything looks good
Yellow – The sock fell off your baby’s foot
Blue – Sock is disconnected from the base unit
Red – There’s a problem!

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The light on the Base Station can also be dimmed by pressing and holding down the base station itself.  There is a brighter option for during the day, and a dimmer option for night time use.

If there is ever a problem with your baby’s heart rate or oxygen levels, and the alarm on your Base Station goes off, you can also just press the base station to turn the sound off – rather than unlocking your phone and logging into the app to turn the alert/alarm off.  Pressing it a second time will turn it back on and re-establish the connection.  This prevents you from having to fiddle with your phone and apps when an alarm is going off, potentially waking up your baby (or partner).

Using the sock

The sock is pretty simple to operate.  There’s a white device called “sock electronics” that fits into the sock, and that device is the part that monitors your baby’s vitals.  It is interchangeable from sock to sock as your baby grows.  You need to ensure that the sock fits properly in order to be able to retrieve an accurate reading from your baby.

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The sock should have a snug fit and the sock electronic (white monitoring thing) should be below the toe line

The socks come in 4 sizes – newborn (size 1), 2 standard sizes (size 2 & 3), and an extra large (size 4).  Sizes 1-3 come complete with the monitor, and you can purchase extra socks individually for USD$8, or USD$20 for sizes 1-3 (basically a replacement set), or for sizes 2-4, or for USD$25 you can get the whole set of socks from size 1-4.

The sock takes just over an hour to fully charge.  You will most likely need to charge the sock every day.  7 hours of usage (and monitoring) uses roughly 30% of the sock’s battery.  If the sock is not in use, you can turn the sock off by placing the bottom flat surface of the Sock Electronic (white monitoring thing) against the centre of the Base Station until the red light in the sock electronic turns off.  (See pic below).  To turn it back on, plug the sock electronic back into the base station.

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Turning the sock off when not in use

Hopefully this helps clear things up in regards to how to use the Owlet to its full potential. If you have anything to add, please feel free to add them to the comments below.  I’m assuming that if you’re reading this tutorial, you already have the Owlet monitor, but if not, you can click here to be re-directed to purchase one now.  All Owlet monitors purchased now will be compatible with both iTunes and Android Apps, and if you have neither, the Owlet will still work for you through the Base Station alone.

How to use the Yoomi bottle warmer

I thought I’d write this post because, when I first received our Yoomi feeding set, I was intimidated by all the stuff I had to do with it to get it working.  Then after  a couple of days of everything sitting on the counter, I decided to get started with it, and I regret not doing it sooner.

The instructions took me a while, so I thought I would attempt to simplify the instructions here.

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When the warmer is brand new (i.e. never been used or heated up before), place it in the warming pod, and stick it in the microwave for 60 seconds.  take the warming pod out, and shake it. If it rattles, continue shaking it for 30 seconds.  Then put it back in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Then take it out and shake it for 10 seconds.  Then its done.  Leave it alone for 75 minutes.  Or come back the next day and its ready to use.  DO NOT PRESS THE BUTTON ON THE WARMER – this will damage it, and its f***ed.  If you press the button while its hot, you will need to buy a new one.

I’ve added a 10 second video of me shaking the warming pod so you can hear the sound of the rattle that its supposed to make when you take it out of the microwave after 60 seconds.  (The video is meant for you to hear what the rattling sound is, just so you don’t have super high expectations of an amazing video review).  You will also see in the video, that the button on the warmer is a beige-ish colour.  (See pic below).

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This image shows the button in the beige colour – meaning it is NOT ready (or not charged) yet

When its ready to use, it will be orange/red in colour.  (See pic below)

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The button turns orange/red when its charged and ready to be used

Ok, your warmer is considered “charged” now, and when you’re ready to use it, place it in the top of the bottle (collar/nipple/teat part of the bottle), pour the cold breastmilk or formula in the bottle part, put it together and its ready.  Just press the orange/red button (through the silicone top part of the bottle), wait 60 seconds and its ready to use.  Its seriously, that simple.

When you are ready to use the bottle, and press the button, I find myself always questioning whether it is working, but rest assured it is.  Wait the 60 seconds, and then test it on your wrist, and you seriously won’t even feel the drop of milk/formula, the temperature is that perfect.

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This is the 8oz feeding system.  Complete with an 8oz bottle, the warmer (with the orange button on it), and the warming pod (microwave safe)

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The nipple/teat on the Yoomi bottle.  Shown without the warmer in it

IMG_4029Hope this helps.  I’ve also added a picture of the instruction sheet that comes with the Yoomi bottles in case you threw it out or lost it – something I do frequently.  If you want any other pics/videos/instructions, please post them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to try to answer them as best I can.

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The instruction sheet for the Yoomi 8oz feeding system

Lastly, if you’re interested in purchasing a set of these, I highly recommend it.  Plus, you can get 15% off by using this code BEINGAMUMMY at the Yoomi checkout.  Also, if you can’t decide which set or what to buy, I would highly recommend getting a set that has 2 warmers in it, since it takes a while for the warmers to cool down before you can actually use them.  This way, you’ll always have one ready to go, even if the other one is charging/cooling down.  In my honest opinion though, one or two bottles is more than enough, depending on how frequently you bottle-feed.  We usually bring it when we go out, so usually one feed is all we need, so one bottle is enough.

Product Review: Yoomi (self-warming) Bottles

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Yoomi bottles are revolutionary.  When we received the package, I’ll be honest – I was intimidated by the complexity of the pieces involved, and everything that we had to do to set it up before we could actually start using it.  Keep in mind, we’re pretty simple people – we like to be able to just pour expressed breastmilk into a bottle and away we go.  So, when I opened the package I wasn’t overly keen to start using them.

Then, I decided to just do it.  The instructions were fairly straight forward, but in case you are lost with them, I’ll make sure to add a small tutorial after this review, and hopefully get a YouTube video up on it as well.

The feeding system comes complete with everything you need to get going – a bottle, a charging pod (a plastic thing to heat the warmer up in the microwave), and the warmer (kinda looks like a bee hive).  First of all, I looked at the charging pod, and my first thought was, “that can’t go in the microwave, there’s metal in it”.  But I just followed the instructions, put the warmer mechanism thingie into the charging pod, put that into the microwave and prepared for the worst, but sure enough, everything went smooth!  You basically have to heat it up for 60 seconds, take it out of the microwave and shake it, and if it rattles, shake it for 30 seconds, then put it in the microwave for another 30 seconds, and voila, its done!  Then you leave it for 75 minutes to cool down, and you can use it anytime after that.  So, we took our son swimming, and when we got home, went to feed him.

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The metal piece in the charging pod that I didn’t think was microwave safe, but it totally was

The warmer has to be recharged after every use, but its pretty simple – basically you stick the warmer in the pod, microwave it, take it out and shake it and microwave it again.  Then you leave it to cool down.  Once its been charged, you can leave it until you’re ready to use it, push the orange button on it, and its ready to go within 60 seconds.  I found its best to recharge it before bed (it literally takes 2 minutes, if that), and then its ready to go the next day.  When my husband pressed the button on the warmer and it was ready to go, he was in disbelief.  He thought there’s no way it could warm up cold breastmilk (the breastmilk was in the fridge overnight) within 60 seconds.  We poured the cold/refrigerated breastmilk into the bottle, and took the bottle and baby upstairs for his feed.

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You will know the warmer is recharged when the button turns orange

I tested the milk on my wrist before we gave it to our 6 month old son, and I was amazed. My thought on it was that the idea of this hassle-free, one touch (practically instant) breastmilk/formula warmer was too good to be true.  But sure enough, it was the temperature of fresh breastmilk – all in 60 seconds.  My husband didn’t believe me so I squirted a couple drops on his wrist.  He was shocked.  His first thought was “how the heck have we been using a bottle warmer for so long”, not knowing about the Yoomi bottles.  Since my husband is usually the one who bottle feeds our son (when I’m at work, otherwise I would just breast feed him), he is the one who usually struggles with getting the perfect temperature for the milk.  We have a Dr Brown’s bottle warmer, but in our experience, it usually over heats the milk, so my husband just recently started warming up breastmilk the old-school way – by placing the bottle in hot water and waiting.  And I’m sure anyone who’s done this, knows that trying to warm up cold breastmilk (or formula) while listening to a hungry, screaming baby isn’t much fun.  Especially when you end up overheating the milk and you have to wait for it to cool down. So, the fact that it actually warms cold breastmilk in 60 seconds, is truly amazing.  It also lasts for about an hour, in case you press the button and your baby decides he/she doesn’t want to eat right away.  Yoomi Bottle 1, Regular Bottle 0.

The next thing we noticed, is that our son had to have a good latch on the bottle because the warmer is in the silicone nipple area of the bottle, so he can’t just suck on the teat part of it.  (See photo below).  This is one of the most important things for myself (as the person breastfeeding), because you don’t want to deal with nipple confusion – it hurts.  So, this bottle, to my surprise was actually just as good in preventing nipple confusion as the bottles we used before, the Munchkin Latch.  Ok, I’ll give both bottles a point here:  Yoomi Bottle 2, Regular Bottle 1.

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You can see my son’s latch on the bottle – he’s not physically able to just suck on the teat part because of the size of the warmer and where it sits in the bottle

Another issue we have with our regular bottles (the Munchkin Latch), was that the nipple/teat on the Latch bottles sometimes collapse inwards.  We noticed that this doesn’t happen with the Yoomi bottles.  My husband usually has to open the lid of the bottle to release some air in order to invert the nipple or pop it back out.  So its nice that he doesn’t have to take the bottle away from the baby to do that with the Yoomi bottles.  Yoomi clearly stands out in this category:  Yoomi Bottle 3, Regular Bottle 1.

The system itself is also very easy to clean – warm, soapy water does the trick for the bottles as well as the warmer.  The nipple actually detaches from the rim of the lid as well so you can ensure you get it really clean.  Its just as easy to put it all back together again as well.

If anyone is wondering, the warmer itself is not hot to the touch (at least not through the bottle), so its perfectly safe for your baby to handle or hold the bottle themselves.  The only thing you may want to keep in mind, is that the bottle is top heavy because of the warmer – which may be a little inconvenient for younger or smaller babies who are just learning or figuring out how to hold their own bottle.  Or, if you get these bottles from the get-go, getting your baby to learn how to hold their own bottle may take a little longer as they will need more strength to hold it.  Our son just turned 6 months old, and he had no difficulties at all holding the bottle (see pics), but I just wanted to point that out.

Overall, in all honesty, I would give this bottle a 5 star rating.  It does what it sets out to do and more.  Ultimately, it is a self-warming bottle (which it does perfectly), but it really hits on all the things that you would want out of a bottle – anti-colic vents to prevent bubbles thus causing gas, creates a proper latch removing possible nipple confusion, and the nipple doesn’t collapse into the bottle like some other bottles do.  We don’t typically take milk with us when we go out, but we have started to since we received this system.  The bottom line is, it is so easy to use, even men can operate and feed the baby.  I like to refer to it as “husband-approved”.  It is completely worth its money – if you’re going to spend money on a bottle warming device, save your money and just get this instead – it seriously saves you the hassle and the headache.  And if you are looking to purchase one, you can use the discount code BEINGAMUMMY at the checkout at Yoomi U.S. (And Canada), or www.yoomi.com, which entitles you to 15% off since you took the time to read this review!

If you have experience with this bottle, or others, please feel free to leave comments below.

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You can see the milk passing through the warmer which is how the milk is heated to the proper temperature before it gets to your baby’s mouth

*Disclaimer:  I was offered this product at little or no cost, in exchange for a review.  All reviews are based 100% on our personal experiences and I am in no way obligated to give a positive review.  

Peel iPhone Case Discount

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I don’t normally post about this kinda stuff, but I’ve come across a product that I really like, so I feel like I have to promote it.  Peel HQ is a company that has come out with probably the thinnest, lightest, most naked-est (that’s not a word, but I’m into making up words), iPhone case.  This company has come out with an iPhone case that literally makes your phone feel like its full on naked.

Its a great product, both my husband and I absolutely love it, and I’m sure you will too.  So, if you want, here’s a 20% discount: PEEL Naked iPhone Case