JJ Cole gear and Lamaze toys for new parents on the go

 In Packing, Travel Essentials and Gear

Picture it– you are a new parent. You have been given loads of baby products at showers that you think you need, but might not ever end up using. You take your first trip with many of these products in tow, only to find out you could have left a few at home. Don’t you wish you had known all this before you took that first trip?

We’ve teamed up with the gang at JJ Cole and Lamaze to give a few of their essential baby items a test drive. We want to see what works and what doesn’t during that first trip with your new baby.

Your guinea pigs

  • Two new parents trying to figure out this baby + travel thing
  • One 3 month old, 12 lb baby that has no clue what a palm tree is

The trial course

A week long trip from Chicago to Palm Springs. Airline travel, differential weather conditions, time zone shifts and a whole new climate!

Gear to test drive

  • JJ Cole Agility Carrier
  • JJ Cole Backpack
  • JJ Cole Changing Clutch
  • JJ Cole Bottle Carrier
  • Lamaze Purring Percival
  • Lamaze Toot Toot Toucan

JJ-Cole-Baby-GearThe results

JJ Cole Agility Carrier
The JJ Cole Agility Carrier is AWESOME. I have tried so many different carriers and this one is by far the family favorite – lightweight, it goes on like a pullover, so there’s no question about which way something gets wrapped or layered or pulled – you simply put the logo at your back and over it goes – super important when the primary baby carrier wants a break and someone new to the idea would like to give it a try. Baby tucks in so easily – I was able to get her in and out for TSA within moments, and that’s really important when you’re trying to do so without waking her up.

Parental approval is one thing – baby approval is another. We’ve used this for casual walks around the neighborhood as well as longer excursions, and she’s never fussed her way out of the carrier. Our little girl is too big for the cradle hold and too small for the face-out options, so we only used the face-in position, but that seems to hardly matter as she loved it. We discovered that she really loves being able to pull back and look around to see her surroundings. I love that she has the back support. When my daughter got tired, there was no hindrance – she’d just lays her head against my chest, and she’d be out like a light. The carrier itself feels like a cotton T-shirt. It’s fairly light in texture, so the baby doesn’t overheat, even when we were walking in the heat of a Palm Springs afternoon. Depending on the destination, one might want to consider the grey carrier to manage heat, but even the black one in the desert sun was comfortable.

The best thing about the carrier, in my opinion, is that you can leave it on for those interim times. The crossover looks a little like a vest, or maybe an embellishment on a top. There were a number of times when I had someone complement my shirt, thinking it was some kind of draping detail.



JJ Cole Backpack in Blue Flare
The baby go-bag is such a critical component of baby life. In my perfect world, there would be one item that could do triple duty as my personal bag, the baby bag and a work-acceptable solution. Without question it would have to travel well. The JJ Cole backpack is almost that ideal. It’s roomy enough to carry a good supply of needs – diapers, changing pad, clothes, snacks. The two side pockets are great for bottles of milk for baby and bottles of water for the parents. The internal compartments are distinct, useful and not too hard to reach. My favorite part of the backpack is the flat back pocket – so critical for slipping in airline tickets, rental car receipts and other traveling details.

The boxy shape was a bit off putting at first. I thought it was a bit Dora the Explorer, but the straps are comfortable and the fact that it transitions from messenger bag to backpack is wonderful.

The only drawback to this bag is the fabric pattern options. It is extremely frustrating to have so many details considered, and then zotsed up with florals that one would never wear if they were not also tugging along a little pint size kiddo. The patterns are not very appealing to the dads I ran it by, which would inevitably lead to some parental hesitation in tugging it along. While the Blue Flare is a nice textile design, I would love this bag so much more if it were a solid, perhaps piped or lined in a pattern.

JJ Cole Baby gear

Backpack accessories

JJ Cole Changing Clutch
AWESOME! This little gadget is a great size for airplane changing tables. The JJ Cole Changing Clutch a nice compact piece that you can just keep stocked as needed and pull out of the bag for easy access to the most important components. It comfortably holds a couple diapers and a small pack of wipes. We use cloth diapers when not traveling, and I think we will continue to use this clutch in the big go bag.

And the textile design! Maybe an homage to Orla Kiely? It’s fantastic for a design buff as well as any nature loving parent.

JJ Cole Bottle Carrier
The bottle carrier was very convenient for carrying a number of smaller bottles of breastmilk. It comes with a freeze pack, which we had in the freezer for 14 hours before departure; it stayed frozen for about 4 hours, and the tote remained cool for about 8 hours. We did use this while driving through Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert. I wouldn’t rely on it for keeping milk very cold past 6 hour, but it’s great for short trips and it folds down small when it’s not in use. If I were to change anything about it, I’d size it to tug some post-baby bottles along – maybe a few champagne splits, for example, or a couple of beers, for those parents-only outings.

Lamaze Toys


Infant toys for travel (and home)

Lamaze Purring Percival
PURRING PERCIVAL IS OUR NEW BEST FRIEND. We pulled him out while our daughter was lying in her car seat, starting to fuss and were amazed at how quickly she calmed down and focused on him. The sound of purring is so soothing – such a great departure from the squeaks and honks typical to so many other baby toys; and when she reaches for him, her movements make him purr (unlike other squeak toys that need to be pressed to make a noise). The colors and patterns are visually stimulating, and the ring with beads gives her something to reach and grab. Percy is item number 3 on the list as we’re preparing to walk out – the first being the baby, and the second being the go bag.

Lamaze Toot Toot Toucan
Toot Toot is brightly colored and delightful to look at. He can certainly captures your baby’s attention. His squeaking nose is particularly fascinating. My daughter loved to reach out for the nose and the ribbon tail, tugging him.

Overall the trip was a success. We packed well and had more than enough to entertain our baby girl. We can’t wait to head off on our next adventure, with our new friend Percy in tow of course.

Many thanks to JJ Cole and Lamaze for providing products for review. As always, my opinion is my own; when it’s not you will be the first to know. 

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