Moms + Babes is a quarterly subscription service that caters to both moms and their young kids. This subscription previously offered dedicated boxes for moms and infants, moms and toddlers, and just for moms, but last year they combined the boxes—now only one box is offered. Each box is promised to contain $150+ in retail value.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About this Box for Moms
The Subscription Box: Moms + Babes
The Cost: $59 per quarter. Past boxes are available for a one-time purchase at a discounted cost.
The Products: At least six full-size, premium products for moms and their babies 4x a year. Every box is promised to contain $150+ in product.
Ships to: The U.S. (free shipping) & international (for a $20 flat-rate)
Moms + Babes Fall 2020 Review
The Moms + Babes Fall box is here! As per usual it is completely bursting with tons of products to explore. To be frank, I am realizing I find the sheer volume of items in this quarterly box to be overwhelming. Moms + Babes promises 6+ items in each box, and for Fall we are sent 16. Last quarter's box included 14 products, and the previous quarter's box included 13 products. When I look back at the past boxes listed on their site, it seems it's always been this way. There are always some gems amid the chaos, but I'm finding myself wondering what type of experience the M+B box would be were it reeled in a bit...
Come take a look at what I received this quarter, and then I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Well, this is a good start to the Babes side of things! My 2-year-old daughter loves chocolate milk, and we serve it to her freely, made with almond milk and chocolate protein powder. (Or sometimes we'll give her chocolate Ripple.) This protein drink seems right in line with what she tends to enjoy, with the added bonus of an organic kale, broccoli, and spinach blend hidden in there. I poured this into her cup and she chugged about half of it, then put it down and refused to have any more. I think it may have been the Stevia flavor that put her off—I know many people really like Stevia, but to me it tastes artificial despite being naturally derived. Ah well, it was worth the try.
Beb Organics Vital Touch Sample Set - Retail Value $18
Next up is a drawstring pouch filled with organic skincare products including a small tube of nurturing oil, three diaper balm samples, three moisturizer samples, and three body wash samples. Each has the appropriate icon on the back to show that they're cruelty-free and vegan, non-GMO, made in the USA, and "allergy tested" (actually not sure what this means but I assume "hypoallergenic"), and tested for delicate newborn skin. And while my initial thinking as I was looking through this spread was that it might be something I'd pass onto one of my two cousins who recently had babies, I realized that they would be great to throw in my toiletry bag. We aren't traveling really at all these days, but who knows when we might do a quick overnight with our daughter's grandparents—these little samples will save us from having to pack her full-size lotions and washes.
In addition to the sample products, there is a $20 gift card for Beb Organics included. The hook is that you have to spend $100 to redeem the $20 credit, which felt like trickery to me. Nobody likes a subscription box perk with a catch, right? But after poking around the Beb Organics site and seeing that they have some beautiful full-size skincare gift sets for $100 or more, I realized it's not like you have to buy a lifetime supply of $14 baby body wash just to get the benefits.
Note: This item was listed incorrectly on the info card as Vital Beginnings Gift Set ($24).
The above products also came with this Beb Organics booklet telling of the benefits of gua sha massage for babies and moms, walking you through how to perform the massage, and giving some info about the products the company sells. Among their gift sets are massage sets that include a rose quartz gua sha tool, so perhaps the idea behind the gift card is to give a discount on one of those.
Blue Lizard Baby Sunscreen, 5 oz - Retail Value $19.49 (sold in a bottle, as opposed to the pictured tube)
Blue Lizard Active Sunscreen, 5 oz - Retail Value $19.49 (sold in a bottle, as opposed to the pictured tube)
This sunscreen is one of two products this quarter that were included in both babe and mom versions, so I figured I'd show them together. It's also the product that made me realize the founders of Moms + Babes must live somewhere warm. Because, let me tell you, even on the fall days that are sunny and mild in Pennsylvania, my daughter and I are still wearing sweaters—or at least long sleeves! So while a great, pediatrician-approved sunscreen is never a bad thing to be stocked up on, I found myself circling back to the info sheet included in my box to figure out what the heck the thinking was behind including two tubes for fall (especially because there was a tube in the Summer box). No help there—there's reference to this sunscreen protecting your babe "while they're splashing around." Ouch. There won't be any swimming 'round these parts for a good 8 months, so I'll just tuck these tubes away for safekeeping!
Note: Blue Lizard must have updated their packaging recently because I couldn't find 5 oz. tubes anywhere online, just 5 oz. bottles.
Paw Patrol Watch - Retail Value $8.99
My daughter Lorelai is kind of obsessed with watches, so we got her one just a couple of months ago for her 2nd birthday. She spotted this watch inside our M+B box and went right for it, then immediately got really confused as to why it didn't have hands and wasn't ticking. It was one of those "oh shoot" parenting moments where we didn't have an answer for her! She quickly moved on from it and asked where her other watch was. She's also never seen Paw Patrol so I don't think the characters pictured on the face of the watch did much for her. Perhaps something we'll pass along to a cousin.
For those curious, here's the watch Lorelai wears. The idea is to teach the concept of time without the confusion of numbers and multiplication before the child is developmentally ready for those ideas. She does a great job with, "Papa will be home when the big hand is pointing to the cat!" I just had the thought: it would have been life-changing to have received this watch in this box. The Paw Patrol one is pretty cheap, and this isn't the first time I've found myself wishing the Babes goodies were higher-quality. I would gladly trade in quantity for quality.
Children's Robitussin Naturals Cough Relief & Immune Health, Honey & Elderberry Gummies, 30 count - Retail Value $10.99
Robitussin Naturals Cough Relief & Immune Health, Honey & Elderberry Gummies, 30 count - Retail Value $10.99
Here's the second product that has an adult version and a kids version included. The ingredients are identical, but the serving size and Supplement Facts percentages are different. Any other toddler parents out there avoid gummies at all costs for fear of choking? It's probably for that reason that the kids version is advised for ages 3+. These gummies are sort of gumdrop-consistency, so not hard but not quite as soft as a fruit snack, and they're coated in sugar. I mean, if that's what it takes to get your kid to take medicine when they need it (especially to sleep), I guess the sugar is probably worth it! I'll also note that they're colored using natural dyes.
Aid Through Trade Original Roll-On Bracelet - Retail Value $15
I'm really into these types of bracelets! The roll-on aspect is cool (it expands a little to fit over most hands), but I especially love the close beadwork. These colors aren't totally my jam, but it's subtle enough that it would probably be pleasing to most—or at the very least make a cute gift. This brand's bracelets are ethically handmade in Nepal by women who are fairly and sustainably employed. I noticed on their site that they have a section of matching Mommy & Me bracelets, which sort of feels like a missed opportunity for the M+B box...they carry all sorts of great gender-neutral colors so it could be a cool option for any kid.
With the bracelet came a 25% off coupon code, which I might use to grab a Mommy & Me set!
MOODmatcher Lipstick, Lavender - Retail Value $5.00
Okay, this is the type of product I'm talking about when I voice my wishes for M+B to cut the riffraff and focus on the higher quality stuff they do so well. This lipstick is terribly cheap, it arrived broken, it's a ridiculous color, and it doesn't even really do what it claims... it's not like this fun experiment where you see what color your lips might turn depending on your "mood;" it just immediately goes to the brightest (and in my opinion, juvenile) pink that stained my lips.
Actual conversation that happened in my home:
Husband: "You're gonna have to take that lipstick off if you want me to take you seriously."
Me: "I did!"
Husband: "What did you use?"
Me: "A wet cloth."
Husband: "You're gonna need soap."
The craziest part is he was not wrong. After a few wiping efforts I ended up washing my entire face for a fresh start, and my facial cleanser did wash it most of the way off, though not completely. Similar to the sunscreen situation above, I desperately consulted the M+B item list hoping it would say something like, "Halloween is coming! Have a little fun with this goofy lipstick!" But no, they seem to be taking it seriously like it's an everyday beauty product that an adult would use on a normal day of doing life with young children. It just cheapens the experience... but I recognize that I'm being totally curmudgeonly and I digress.
Color Scents 4 Gallon Small Trash Bags in Lavender, 80 count - Retail Value $4.48
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, these small garbage bags were a really clever, useful item to include! I tend to avoid scented garbage bags because they don't actually hide gross garbage scents, they more just add to it, and it generally leads to a yucky scent combo, but these are super subtle. Plus, the small garbage cans we keep in our bedrooms and office typically just hold tissues and tags and random things like that; they're not what's getting stinky on the reg. With 80 bags in this roll, these will last us a long time!
HOLISTIK Sleep (Melatonin, Chamomile, & CBD), 3 Pack - Retail Value $13.99
HOLISTIK Beauty (Collagen & CBD), 3 pack - Retail Value $13.99
Color me intrigued! These sticks are filled with 10mg of CBD in powder form, teamed up with collagen (in the case of the Beauty variety), and melatonin and chamomile (in the sleep version). I am comfortable with CBD and use it with some regularity, but I was still a little skeptical of this product until doing a bit of my own research. Not to over-argue my point, to feel comfortable trying everything in a subscription box that doesn't shy away from sending supplements every quarter, my trust needs to be earned. And for me, part of how that is done is by expressing care through a cohesive curation that's well-supported by an explanation for inclusion. Anyway, the HOLISTIK website is reasonably informative and transparent, so I ultimately felt good about giving this product a try.
How you use it is by peeling back the long sticker to reveal a bunch of small holes. You dunk that end into your drink (I just have slightly chilled water in my mug) and stir. You can see from the photos that the formula looks a bit grainy coming out, but then it dissolves thoroughly into a cloudy color. It isn't without flavor, though I'm having trouble putting my finger on what exactly I tasted! Maybe it's the collagen? Nothing a squeeze of lemon can't cover up—or maybe next time I'll try it in tea.
Don Francisco's Caramel Cream Coffee Pods, 12 count - Retail Value $7.99, currently on sale for $5.99
I'm on an emotional rollercoaster. These K-Cups are another "huh?" item for me. I just find it very odd that M+B assumes all their subscribers have access to a Keurig or single-cup coffee maker. I personally don't love this method of brewing coffee for environmental reasons (it's just so easy to make a single cup using a pour-over cone and you can compost all the waste you create), and I don't have any friends who use a Keurig, so I was completely at a loss over what to do with this pack. My husband thought about it for a while, then recalled he has a work client with a single-cup coffee maker, so he set this box aside for the next time he'd see that client. I'm all about regifting subscription box items that aren't right for me, but this one seemed like a stretch.
Ziri Skincare Organic Argan Oil, 1 fl oz - Retail Value $30
Now here's an example of Moms + Babes being amazing! This organic Argan oil is high-value and highly versatile! It's maybe the only beauty product I have always kept on hand since early in my college days, and it's just such a reliable one. It can be used on your skin or hair and has so many smoothing properties. Sometimes argan oil can have a faint scent to it, but this bottle is more or less scentless. I recently discovered the concept of adding a drop of oil to your moisturizer before applying it to your face and it changed the game for me, so the scentless quality of this argan oil lends itself well to that.
Note: While this bottle didn't come with a special card, there is a discount code in the M+B info booklet!
Zand Naturals Immune Fast Elderberry Chews, 30 count - Retail Value $15.99
These immunity support chews are gluten-free, corn-free, and non-GMO. The main active ingredients are fermented yeast, vitamin C, zinc, and elderberry, so I think the idea is that you take three tablets when you start to feel a cold coming on, and these ingredients will support your body and help fight it off. Something that's great to have on hand, because when you feel those early tinglings of a cold, you want to have a solution readily available. I'll stow this bottle away for the inevitable winter cold that my family passes around. I will say, though, that this isn't an FDA-approved product, so definitely read the packaging to decide if you're comfortable taking it.
Kocostar Lip Mask, Cherry Blossom - Retail Value $8.00
I'm not big on full-face sheet masks, but I'm always game to give a smaller mask a try! My lips have been particularly chapped in these past few weeks of fall weather, so I was looking forward to some hydration. When I pulled it out of the packaging, though, it was bone dry. I was so confused—it seems like there's no possible way a mask could dry out sealed in plastic like it is. I spent a good amount of time squinting my eyes at images of this mask on other websites, trying to figure out exactly how much essence it was supposed to be soaking in. Surely, at least some, right? I stuck it to my lips anyway and unfortunately, it curled right off unless I held it on. There was only so long I had the patience for that, especially since I couldn't be sure that it was actually doing anything. When I gave up after 5 minutes or so, my lips were slightly softer, but I still feel like something was missing from this experience.
Verdict: Sigh. I had a lot of ups and downs with this quarter's Moms + Babes box, and I wish I could say it was a first. The main pro of this subscription is that when they focus on high-quality products, they do so really well, and there is always at least one really nice skincare item in there that makes the box cost feel worth it. On the other hand, I am craving a commitment to that quality over quantity in a big way—the cheaper and less-thought-out items sent in this box make me hesitate to trust the supplements. The item descriptions sort of feel like an afterthought in that they often don't actually explain the thinking behind why that item was included, and also often have typos or incorrect info. Finally, I feel the "Babe" category lacks focus—it's almost like a bonus category, and because there's no way to indicate what age your baby or child is (there used to be but they did away with it this year), some of the Babe items automatically get placed in a pass-along pile in my house. Value-wise, I received 16 items, which added up to a total retail value of $202.89, calculated using an estimate for the protein drink and the sale price for the coffee pods. For $59 (with free shipping), the value is there, but in my opinion, it's cheapened by the less thoughtful items that are included. I want to say this as my final thought: Just because I have a number of hang-ups about this box doesn't mean it wouldn't be awesome for someone else. Part of being a subscription box lover is realizing when a box just isn't a great fit for you. Maybe it's time for me to find a mom subscription that's better aligned with my personal values and interests.
To Wrap Up
Can you still get this box if you subscribe today? Yes, as of publication, you'll receive their Fall box.
Value Breakdown: With a $202.89 value and a cost of $59/quarter, here's approximately what you're paying per item:
- Kids Protein Drink: $0.73
- Beb Organics Gift Set: $5.23
- Blue Lizard Baby Sunscreen: $5.67
- Blue Lizard Active Sunscreen: $5.67
- Paw Patrol Watch: $2.61
- Robitussin Children's Chews: $3.20
- Robitussin Adult Chews: $3.20
- Beaded Bracelet: $4.36
- Mood Lipstick: $1.45
- Scented Trash Bags: $1.30
- CBD Sleep Sticks: $4.07
- CBD Beauty Sticks: $4.07
- Coffee Pods: $3.49
- Argan Oil: $8.72
- Immunity Chew Tablets: $4.65
- Lip Mask: $2.33
Alternatively, each of the 16 items has an average cost of $3.69.
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What do you think of this quarter's Moms + Babes box?