Thursday, February 2, 2012

Zubky Teething/Nursing Necklace Review And Giveaway

As a breastfeeding mom, I know how easy older babies and toddlers can become distracted while nursing. My youngest often gets distracted and will pull away while nursing, which usually leaves me completely exposed. This is OK when we are at home, but not something I would be comfortable with out in public. He also likes to twirl my hair, play with my shirt, or fiddle with a toy while nursing.

I have been searching for that perfect nursing necklace for quite some time, and when I discovered Zubky necklaces, I knew I had to try them. I was thrilled when Natalie, who creates the necklaces with her husband, agreed to do a review and giveaway on my blog.

A Little Bit About the Company: Zubky sells nursing and teething necklaces, as well as teething rings. Some of their designs are nursing necklaces that feature beads the baby can play with. The teething necklaces feature a wooden ring that is safe for the baby to chew on. The outer rings of the teething necklaces are handcrafted out of wood and quality-checked for safety and durability. The inner ring of the teething necklaces are set with colorful beads that are painted with food-based dyes or lead-free paints. The necklaces are eye-catching and give little ones something to fiddle with while nursing or even while babywearing. The necklaces are made by the entire family, as they all join in on creating each new new design.

My Review: I received Stephen's Legos for review, which doubles as a teething toy and nursing necklace. I opened the package to discover the necklace enclosed in a cute little bag. The bag is perfect for storing the necklace in when it is not being used. I immediately loved the bold colors and unique style. The fact that the necklace doubles as a teething toy is beneficial for us, as my little one is teething and sometimes bites me while nursing.

Even before I wore the necklace, my son was fascinated with the it. He immediately tried to grab the necklace off of the counter after I opened the package and run away with it, and he was quite upset when I took it back. (I didn't want it to get lost in the black hole that exists in our play room, so I had to hide it.) When I first put the necklace on, my little one was intrigued. He sat and nursed without pulling my hair or fidgeting, and he simply played with the necklace. 

Two of the beads can be pulled to adjust
the length of the necklace.

I absolutely love that the necklace is adjustable. There are two beads that can be moved to make the necklace any length you want. I like to wear it up higher, and it sits at just the right place for my little one to reach while he is nursing or I am holding him. My little one realized it can also be used for teething, and started chewing on it this evening. He still wants to play with it too, but he mostly associates it with nursing times. Every time he sees me wear it, he gets excited and wants to play with it while nursing.

Overall, this is one of the most unique takes on a nursing necklace that I have ever seen, as it can be used for teething and while nursing as a fidget toy. The beads in the middle are perfect for a baby or toddler to twirl and play with while nursing or being held, which means less pinching and hair pulling for me.

My little one loves to play with the necklace while nursing.

More About Zubky: Prior to posting my review, I wanted to find out more about Zubky, the shop owners, and the inspiration behind their designs. I spoke with Natalie who filled me in on all of the details about her shop. To read more about Zubky and the inspiration behind the designs, please visit this post. Here are a few things that Natalie shared with me about her shop.

How Natalie Started Making Nursing Necklaces

If you have ever had a little one that is constantly fidgeting while nursing or being carried, then you can probably relate to Natalie. Her little one would pull her hair and couldn't stay focused while nursing, so she knew she had to do something to reach her goal of breastfeeding for at least one year. " I was thinking about getting a nursing necklace and when I saw the prices for them, I thought it was a little pricey. Being a crafty mama, I thought I could make much nicer ones for a lot less than companies who outsource to China and mark up the prices. I loaded up my baby and went to our local craft store and I dangled a bunch of the pendants in front of her and found that she LOVED this one (the first baby approved design ), so I bought it and some silver cord and beads and went home to build my necklace. It worked out really well, so I went back to find another one, and then another, and then another... It was a fun thing to get out of the house and do with her so I really enjoyed it."  

Each Necklace is Crafted in Their Home with Love

Both Natalie and her husband create the necklaces in their home. Her husband used to make cornhole boards, but he has since stopped, so they can focus on time together. I was amazed at the amount of love that Natalie expressed for her family and the passion she has for her products. Family is something incredibly important to Natalie and her husband, so every piece is created by them, together in their home. She said,"2011 was a crazy year for us. Chuck got a ton of custom cornhole board orders and I had necklace orders rolling in left and right. This meant that he spent most of his time working in his shop, and I spent most of my time in the house with the kids. We really enjoy the time we spend TOGETHER so he decided to shut down the custom cornhole listings and focus on the necklaces with me."

The Necklaces Are Priced With Every Woman in Mind

One of the first things I noticed about Zubky's necklaces (aside from the unique designs!) is that the prices of the necklaces are affordable, and priced lower than other shops that sell similar products. I discovered that the price point for the necklaces was important to Natalie, as she wanted it to be something that every woman could afford. Natalie said, "I wanted to make sure the nursing necklace pricepoints were fair enough that any mom who wanted/needed one, could afford one. Many of our nursing necklaces cost less than $10, for that specific purpose. We also participate in many charitable organizations by donating our products to La Leche League fundraisers and other non-profit groups promoting natural parenting and breastfeeding awareness."

The Birth of the Original Zubky Teething Necklace

Picture of Stephen's Legos
The first Zubky teething necklace is called Stephens Legos, which was named after the Lego's Natalie's son plays with. "Then, when my daughter hit the teething stage, Chuck, my husband, made her some wood rings to chew on and she LOVED them, but soon learned how fun it was to throw them on the floor and then go up and down as I would pick them up when I was wearing her. (I personally think it was because I was wearing her in my Moby wrap and she liked the ride up and down to the floor - haha - She's a smart cookie!) It just made sense to tie the ring on a necklace cord like my nursing necklaces, but it seemed too plain with just a wooden ring. I spent a week working on designing a way to add beads and knot them onto a single strand that could attach to the ring in a safe way that wouldn't easily break. Finally, my rainbow bead knot creation worked and looked good."

After creating the first necklace, Natalie wanted to make one that was also girly and feminine. She added different colored beads and created McKenna's Marbles, which is named after her daughter. Since then, Natalie and her husband have designed numerous other teething necklaces that are unique and eye-catching.

The Inspiration Behind The Designs

I love the choices when it comes to Zubky's necklaces, there are ones that are fun and colorful and others that are more subtle and stylish. Natalie shared with me how they find inspiration for all of the new designs. "We like to create two different styles. There are fun, playful designs with vivid rainbow of colors that babies just love; and there are more subtle designs that are stylish enough for moms to pair with an outfit. Believe it or not, my husband designed one of the most popular designs, "Autumn Leaves." He's a very stylish guy and has really shown that he has an eye for designing, and he impresses me every time he comes up with something new. He tends to put the more subdued, natural colors together and I usually am behind the bright color combinations. It's funny how that works out because his personality is mellow and calm, and I'm the crazy one... you can definitely see the difference in our design work! He looks to nature for his designs, and I am inspired by the playful side of things. We get the kids involved in the design process too. The boys love to sit at the table with us and put together different color combinations."

Each Design Is Tested in Their Home

Natalie's daughter tests each new design in their home before it becomes available to buy. Her little one loves to chew on the rings and shake the necklaces like a rattle. Natalie says,"Before we list a new design, I always test it out on McKenna, our daughter, to make sure it's interesting enough to catch her eye and hold her attention."

Each Necklace is Made With Safe Materials

As a mom, I understand the importance of having products that are safe for our children to use. I discovered that Zubky also highly values having safe products for children, so they carefully select each material they use for each necklace. "We have always tried to use natural things with the kids... wood toys over plastic... organic fruits and veggies over conventional... cloth diapers over disposable... etc. When it came to the teething necklaces, I wanted to make them as natural as possible. We started using organic olive oil to polish the finished rings, and then eventually came up with a natural beeswax polish recipe. We source our beeswax from a local lady who doesn't use pesticides, antibiotics, or chemicals in or around her hives. I always try to source locally"  

The sensory beads on the teething necklaces are also created to be safe for children. Natalie first searched for a distributor with verified lead-free painted beads, and then she and her husband found another way to ensure the paint was as safe as possible. She said, "We use 100% safe, food-grade ingredients to dye some of the beads and rings and love the way the colors come out through that process."

The Meaning Behind the Name

I know many people probably wonder where the name Zubky came from. I know I was interested to find out! Natalie shared the story of the Zubky name with me. She said, "It's a tribute to my heritage. Zúbky means "teething" in Slovak and my paternal great grandmother was an immigrant to the US from Slovakia. Every now and then, I will use a Slovak word to name a new design too. I think that adds some fun to it."

Buy It: If you are interested in buying a teething necklace or nursing necklace from Zubky, you can visit the website or the Etsy shop.There are plenty of different styles to choose from, and each one is priced fairly. If you don't see something you like, contact Zubky through their website and they will help you create a custom necklace! Zubky is also offering my followers a coupon code for 20% off their entire purchase. Use the code BUTTERFLIES when you checkout.

Win It: Zubky has generously offered several necklaces for a giveaway, so there will be four winners. The necklaces pictured for the giveaway are all Zubky teething necklaces, you can view the entire collection of teething necklaces and the collection of nursing necklaces on Etsy.

For the giveaway, you will be able to vote on your favorite necklace and then leave a comment letting me know which one you like best. (You may leave the comment in the Rafflecopter form.) The necklace with the most votes is the one that will be given away.

Before entering, please view the following pictures. (You can also visit the links below each picture to learn more about each necklace.) Mention your favorite one in the Rafflecopter form. Good luck!

Wish You Were Here

McKenna's Marbles

Eternal Love

Autumn Leaves

Rainbow Abacus

Disclosure: I received a free item to complete this review, but all of the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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