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I felt more than a little sorry for Hero this week when the toy he’s reviewing was pegged as a girl’s toy by his little friend. “Why do you have a girl’s toy?’ he said. Jensen was quick to his brother’s defence as Hero was backfooted a bit being just five years old, but Jens is used to hearing this question now. “We review toys,” he said. “and toys are for everyone.” Cue very proud and beaming me.
GIRLS’ TOYS VS. BOYS’ TOYS
I’m so proud of him for saying this – despite everything in his life outside our home telling him the complete opposite. Even mothers of Jensen’s friends have told me worriedly that their child had seen photos of Jens playing with “girls’ toys” and looking happy, and that their child has asked why and they’ve said he was made to do it. It’s just so sad.
WHY MY BOYS HAVE ALWAYS PLAYED WITH DOLLS
So, Hero plays with dolls. They all loved baby dolls when they were his age. Hero loves baby dolls even more than the others, because he’s the smallest in our family and so he’s the only boy to not have had a baby sibling to fawn over and cuddle. So any baby doll he can hold is like gold to him. All of my boys are hoping at this moment to become Dads one day [I’ve not put them off parenting yet it seems] and seeing them cuddling baby dolls is right up there in my happy tears territory at PMT time.
Luvabella Newborn [whose name is currently Freya according to Hero but up for debate on a nightly basis] is an interactive newborn baby doll. My boys were all much bigger than Luvabella when they were born themselves so I look at her and wonder what it would have been like to have teeny babies.
WHAT’S IN A LUVABELLA NEWBORN BOX? WHY ARE ALL BABIES GIRLS?
So inside the pink, pink box [we only just realised that there were boy Luvabeau dolls available if you’re after a boy, and I do recommend buying a boy doll for any daughter as I had a boy doll when I was little and I had no idea until that time that babies were not all born girls.] here’s what you get.
Your Luvabella Newborn Doll, her clothes – a onesie, headband with bow, and interactive soother [that’s dummy to you and me and pacifier to our US friends] an interactive bottle and an instruction booklet.
THERE’S DAD STUFF IN THE LUVABELLA NEWBORN BOX
Luvabella Newborn is made to be lifelike and the first thing the boys noticed was the fact she has a bottle and dummy. They took this as an amazing signal that boys SHOULD play with Luvabella dolls as naturally they know some babies are fed with bottles by moms – but they also know that Dads don’t have breasts with milk to feed their babies, so they need these things. Dad stuff in the box.
LUVABELLA NEWBORN BIRTH / ADOPTION CERTIFICATE
If you head over to the Luvabella website, you can download an Adoption Certirficate for your Luvabella or Luvabeau on the site. It looks like this:
LUVABELLA NEWBORN INSTRUCTIONS
BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED
Before we go any further, know that Luvabella takes 4 AA batteries, and these aren’t included and so there’s no instant play when she comes out of the box. The battery compartment is in her back and you’ll need a phillips head screwdriver to get it open.
Once the batteries are installed, there’s a volume switch next to the compartment. Switch it to the middle, and you’re at half volume – and all the way across to the right is at full volume.
WAKING UP LUVABELLA NEWBORN
Once Luvabella is on, there are two ways to start playing if the first thing she does is nap. You can stand her upright, or press the button on the middle of her back to get started.
WHAT DOES A LUVABELLA NEWBORN DOLL DO?
Well, she acts like a baby. Luvabella Newborn needs love and cuddles, wants to be feeding with her interactive bottle, burped after the bottle [without the reflux], and all of the normal things you associate with taking care of a baby – you can soothe her, snuggle her, tickle her belly and she laughs [on that note, Hero is STILL telling everyone that he got his own rendition of Move Your Finger Round Your Tummy from his TV hero Nigel Clarke when we were at the Rainforest Café] and she will respond – which Hero LOVES.
FEEDING LUVABELLA NEWBORN
Luvabella is really lifelike and like most babies, is fond of eating. When you want to feed her, bring the bottle close to her lips and wait for her to say “AHHHH!” and open her mouth – then you can feed her and hear all the baby noises she makes.
BURPING AND WINDING
This is done exactly as you would your own baby – over the shoulder and patting the upper back until she burps!
HOW TO GET LUVABELLA NEWBORN TO NAP
Luvabella also gets fractious like babies do. You can soother her by holding her close and rubbing her back, or give her a dummy in the same way as she has a bottle. It’s best to have her lay down to do this, and to hold the dummy in her mouth gently too.
For naptime, whilst the dummy is in her mouth, slowly rock her to sleep in your arms horizontally. Unlike most newborns, Luvabella goes to sleep without wriggling and fighting it. Once Luvabella is asleep, it’s cute to watch her belly rise and fall. The boys had fun feeling her breath and listening to for her heartbeat too – just like the two older ones got the chance to do when their baby brothers were born.
WHAT TO DO IF LUVABELLA STOPS WORKING
After five minutes of not being played with, Luvabella goes to sleep. If this happens, you can press the button in her back to wake her up – and check the volume is up too for good measure.
THE JONES BOYS’ TOYS VERDICT
Hero is head over heels in love with Luvabella. His own baby to look after and all three of them are amazed at how lifelike she is – she’s far and away the best doll we’ve played with for real life imitations and it’s just crazy to watch her movements. We wish there were a few more outfits in the pack – for £60 if would have been great to have some nappies and an extra change of clothing in there to make it feel really special – I think toy manufacturers often forget that children are as excited about the accessories as the toy itself. My only concern is that Luvabella’s face is slightly lifelike feeling which seems to attract little bits of dust and after a few plays she looked a bit grubby. I’d be terrified to wipe her face with all of the technology that’s in her – but the boys don’t seem to mind that she looks like she’s been on a few adventures.
We’d absolutely recommend this to anyone searching for a realistic baby doll and the boys are delighted to have a new baby in the house!