Montessori Babies

What is the Montessori Topponcino? with Amber Vick

October 14, 2021 Bianca A. Solorzano, M.Ed. Season 1 Episode 24
Montessori Babies
What is the Montessori Topponcino? with Amber Vick
Show Notes Transcript

In Episode 24 I had an amazing interview with the Topponcino Co. co-owner, Amber Vick to talk all about the Montessori Topponcino! We discussed:

  • What is the Montessori Topponcino?
  • How to use the Topponcino
  • When to start the Topponcino
  • How she got started making the Topponcino
  • Benefits to the Baby
  • Benefits to the Adult
  • And more!

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To grab your very own Montessori Topponcino that was created with the research, safety, and love that Amber Vick and her team brought to their design, check out!

Also check out @topponcinoco on Instagram to discover some beautiful ideas of how to use the Montessori Topponcino!

(I am an affiliate for the Topponcino Co. and will make a small commission from sales when using this link. :) )

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Bianca A. Solorzano, M.Ed.
Baby Development & Montessori Consultant
And Your Baby Tour Guide

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Bianca: [00:00:07] Welcome to Baby Tour Guides, Montessori Babies podcast. I'm your host and baby tour guide Bianca Solorzano And for the last decade, I have dedicated myself to helping parents, educators and Caregivers optimize baby development through a Montessori lens. This podcast is all About evolving our Montessori practice to make our time with our sweet babies easier, relaxed and so much fun. Let's jump into it.

Bianca: [00:00:40] Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 24 of our Montessori Babies podcast. This is a very exciting week. This week we are talking all about the Montessori Topponcino. What is the Montessori Topponcino? How do you use it? When do we start? All of those questions will be answered, so we brought on the amazing Amber Vick to talk all about the Montessori Topponcino. One of my favorite parts about the Montessori VIP experience is that it follows the child and really supports the developmental needs of the child from the womb to the world. So the womb is the child's very first environment, right? 

And in there they're snug and they're safe, and they have a really consistent environment. It's loud in their right and they're hearing a lot of different noises, but it's a consistent, safe space. And so to support the baby on their journey from womb to world and kind of ease that transition. Dr. Montessori discussed a simple, soft item that carries and supports the newborn as they acclimate to their new environment outside of the womb. So we are so honored here on the Montessori Babies podcast to have Amber Vick, who is the owner of the Topponcino company, on our show today to talk all about the Montessori Topponcino. So Amber is the founder and co-owner of the Topponcino company, as well as a full time Montessori inspired mom to her son, Ethan. Early on in Ethan's life, the Topponcino made being a parent so much better that Amber wanted to share it with the world. Amber and her husband combined their passion for helping new parents with their education in the business and legal fields to bring the Old World original top and chino design to a new age market used by parents around the world for generations. The Topponcino is now the number one most recommended Montessori newborn item, so Amber shares her love of the Topponcino and other Montessori infant principles across Instagram and Facebook at Topponcino Co. So I will have all of her information linked below for you. So in case you want to check that out. And yeah, before we go ahead and jump into our interview where we will learn all about the Topponcino, I of course, first want to read our quote for the week. So our quote today is by the wonderful Dr. Montessori. And she said “The greatness of the human personality begins at the hour of birth. From this almost mystic affirmation, there comes what may seem a strange conclusion that education must start from birth.” This, to me, was just perfect for this episode because we are talking all about the Topponcino, which, as you will soon find out, is introduced at birth and can even be incorporated slightly before, as suggested by Amber. So let's go ahead and jump into this interview. I am so excited for you guys to hear it.

Bianca: [00:03:40] Thank you so much for being here today, Amber. I'm so excited to have you on our show.

Amber: [00:03:45] Yeah, I'm super excited to be here and talk about the top chino and the benefits it's given us, so

Bianca: [00:03:51] I would love for our audience to get to know you a little bit how you entered the Montessori world and how did you get into making Topponcinos?

Amber: [00:04:01] Yeah, so it kind of came about. I was pregnant with my son, Ethan, and my husband and I, you know, like every new parent, you're trying to read every book, every blog, just try to absorb as much information as you can because you're so scared, you're so nervous, you don't know what you're getting yourself into. And at one point, a friend gave me a Montessori book, and I remember looking at it and thinking, Isn't that for a school age? You know, maybe a like preschool kindergarten age? And she said, no, it's called like the Montessori from the start. And so, you know, you can begin at infancy. And so I read that book and I absolutely fell in love with the philosophy. And then I started trying to find everything Montessori. I read all the blogs, read all the books, and I noticed they kept coming back to this item called Topponcino. And I looked around, and all I really could find were instructions on how to make my own. But being eight months pregnant, working full time, preparing for a newborn, making one just kind of seemed out of reach for me. And let's be honest, as much as my mom tried to teach me how to sew. So did not really stick. So making one was a bit out of my wheelhouse as well. And I kept looking, kept digging. Eventually, I did find one to purchase online, and it took about four weeks.

Amber: [00:05:35] To get to me, which feels like a lifetime when you're waiting for a baby. Those last four weeks of pregnancy are the longest four weeks in life. And so it arrived right in the nick of time right before my son was born. And I remember looking at it and kind of feeling like I had ordered it and someone went, maybe went to their garage and sewed it real quick and then put it in a box and sent it off. And so I was a little disappointed in the quality for such an intimate item and intimate time in my son's life. I really wanted high quality and some love put into it, and it didn't quite feel like that little history about us. My husband has a background in product development. Oh wow. He had a history in making cotton goods for a larger company. And so I brought it to him and I said, Is there any way you know, people or know how to make a higher quality version of this and make it with love this time? And he loves a challenge. So of course, he said yes. And I guess fast forward a couple of months. My son had been born at that point, but we're sitting knee-deep in samples of fabric prototypes. I did not know how much fabric existed in the world, but the the number of samples I was shocked by.

Amber: [00:07:03] And eventually we literally after touching probably hundreds of different fabrics, we came to one that we really loved. We got one made and I loved it. It was so soft, so comforting for my son. I started bringing it everywhere with us, brought it to the park, brought it to doctor's appointments to meet with lactation specialists, to meet with, you know, new moms, support groups. And everyone was asking about it and they were like, What is this thing that you keep bringing with your child? And so I told them, I told him about it. I told them the philosophy behind it, and they didn't quite understand it first. But what they noticed is that Ethan was always calm when he was inside of it. And so they were totally sold after seeing it in action. And they are like, Where do we get one? Where do we find one ourselves? And I said, I told them where I had bought mine, and I explained the process I went through to get one and how frustrated I was. They said, Can Ryan, your husband make one for us? And sure, I went with that and I asked him to start making them for the people closest to us. And eventually, kind of the rest was history. Once we started manufacturing them, we were like, Let's bring this to the world. The world needs to know about this product, right?

Bianca: [00:08:27] That's so amazing. I mean, I love how your own personal journey led you to this, you know, experience with the Topponcino and with bringing it to other people as well. I think one of the most beautiful things about the Topponcino is just how it offers that sense of security for the child. And so I'm so, so grateful that you shared that story. Can you tell us what the Topponcino is? So for those listeners that are in our audience who don't necessarily know what the Montessori Topponcino is?

Amber: [00:08:59] Yes, of course it's it sounds so simple, and I believe in life. Sometimes most simple things are the best things. So it is a soft, matte like baby mat baby pillow. It was originally designed by Dr. Maria Montessori back in the nineteen forties, and it said that she originally got this idea and saw the benefits of the top of Chino after witnessing mothers in India carrying their infants on these small mats. And now, as you know, the Topponcino is one of the first projects you create in the Montessori Assistance to Infancy course. And actually, that was another indicator to us of how important this item was that it was included in that course. So physically, it is a one inch thick oval mat, and it's made of seven layers of cotton. Batting, which is then wrapped in a finely brushed French cotton will cover and to make it as soft as possible on the baby's skin.

Bianca: [00:10:02] It is such a beautiful product. I love your product, too. It's one that I've been recommended as well from people in the Montessori world. You're absolutely right. It's it's it's one that I tried to sew myself and I'm kind of on the same boat as far as I didn't get that beautiful sewing gene. So I'm just, Yeah, so grateful that you know your company exists. So as far as Topponcino itself, one thing that I learned is that there are tons of benefits to having the Topponcino. And I was wondering if you would explain what some of those maybe.

Bianca: [00:10:39] And now for a quick message from our sponsor. One thing I can promise all of you is I will only ever promote products that I have tried and tested within my years of experience within the Montessori world. And that's why I am so excited to announce the Montessori Babies Podcast partnership with EZPZ. So EZPZ provides all the feeding gear you need for babies first bites and sips all the way to feeding independence. Each collection is designed for a different developmental stage. The tiny collection is for infants. Their mini collection is for toddlers, and the happy collection is for preschoolers. EZPZ products are made from one hundred percent food grade silicone, and they come in muted colors such as sage and blush. Other gorgeous colors like lime and coral, and some Montessori colors like blue and grey. Head on over to to check out the developmental benefits and safety features of each product and be sure to use the code Montessoribabies10 for 10 percent off at checkout. Thank you so much to EZPZ for sponsoring our Montessori Babies podcast and now back to our show,

Amber: [00:11:50] There are so many benefits and we still learn about them from parents that we talk to. They'll come to us and tell us a story, and we hadn't even thought to use it in that matter. But the main design is to provide comfort, consistency and support for the baby and those first few delicate months of life. And I guess from a pure Montessori approach, it is your baby's first prepared environment. We know the prepared environment is a really important thing in childhood development, and so you can envision it as that environment for your baby. What that means, though, like on the ground while you're holding the top, what does that actually mean? So the construction of the topponcino with the seven layers of batting, it actually holds warmth and absorb smell really easily. So your baby's going to feel safe and comforted in any environment as we know as parents. Those early days of newborn baby can be a lot of physical movement for the baby that the baby not necessarily wants to have done to them. So whether it's doctor's appointments, you know, people coming and visiting and playing pass the baby around, older siblings trying to help out or being inquisitive, you know, the baby is getting moved a lot and it can be pretty shocking to their environment.

Speaker4: [00:13:16] And they're so fresh in this world. You want to protect that. And so we kind of think of the Topponcino as this point of reference for your newborn. It's familiarity. The texture is going to be familiar. The warmth, the scent. It creates familiarity for them as they get moved around for the parents. Its design makes it super easy to hold the baby and cuddle them, and it comes in really handy with those siblings or people less experienced and holding babies as we know their heads kind of flop around or a little squirmy, you don't quite know how to hold them right away. I remember when I was a new parent, I was so scared to hold my infant. I thought it was going to be this natural thing that came to me, and I was just scared and I was even more scared, handing my baby off to someone else and trusting them to hold my baby the correct way and not hurt them. And so the topponcino can relieve a lot of that anxiety for people in those early stages of that newborn life.

Bianca: [00:14:24] It's so wonderful, and I think, you know, within all of those benefits, one of the things that I love is it's all very observation based, you know, and we get to kind of experience this with our child by providing this topponcino, by providing this stable comfort that goes with them from person to person and experience to experience. So yeah, there's just so many benefits, guys.

Amber: [00:14:48] There are so many. I could talk about the benefits forever, too, because again, they they keep coming to us even after years of studying the benefits. It's it is ever moving, ever like changing product as well for your family?

Bianca: [00:15:04] Absolutely. So can you explain a little bit? When should we start using the Topponcino?

Amber: [00:15:11] So we joke at our company that the Topponcino's it's one of the only baby items you start using before the baby is even here, which you don't really do that. We recommend that the parent sleeps with the Topponcino before the baby's born, so it starts absorbing that family smell. We recommend you wash the cover, not the insert, but the cover. With your laundry detergent so that it you know, it has that family consistency. Mm hmm. We also recommend it comes in the hospital bag if you're having hospital birth so that you can use it straight from birth, straight from when the newborn arrives. It's really handy in the hospital. The baby gets moved a lot again. And so if medical professionals holding it, if somebody you're not very comfortable with having them, if they have to leave the room, they can bring the top tuna with them and have that consistent smell. That's not to say, though, that you have to have it that early. I get a lot of people saying, Oh, my baby's already been born. It's too late. There's no value of the top chino for me anymore. And I always say, Wait, look at this, look at what you can do with it of right after newborn stage or, you know, even a few months into life. My son still uses his cappuccino as kind of a security blanket. He's an he's three years old, so I think you can start as early as possible, but you don't necessarily have to.

Bianca: [00:16:45] Yeah, that's super beautiful. As far as you know, the extended amount of time that children can use this Topponcino because essentially it's a pillow, right? It's a flat long pillow that they can say, Hey, I've had this since birth or three months or, you know, so that's just so lovely. Do you by chance? We love stories here. Do you, by chance, have a story as far as when your toppings, you know, came in handy with your child or, you know, a story of the sort?

Amber: [00:17:19] Absolutely. I mean, how long do you have? Let's see the the story that always pops into my mind when I'm telling new parents about the benefit of the cappuccino. Is this story I love? It's about my husband's grandfather. So he's in his mid 80s and he was so excited to meet his great grandchild when our son was born. And he came, met him, but we saw that he was really timid and kind of insecure and was kind of asking a lot of questions about like, Well, how safe is it to hold him? And we noticed he was shying away from even like physical contact. He didn't want to hurt him, which totally makes sense. Once we started talking to him, we realized he hadn't held an infant since my husband was an infant over 30 years ago. And if you haven't done something in 30 years, of course it's terrifying. So we finally realized what was going on. And my husband went to the bedroom, grabbed the topponcino, explained how to use it. We call my husband's grandfather pops. And so we said, Pops, this is what you do. This is how you hold it. This is how you cradle Ethan in it. And he was just the look on his face. It just gave him that sense of relief and that confidence in holding Ethan. And he held him for so long, and it was just hours over that weekend that we saw him. He gave them a bottle in it, and it just felt like such a release of any anxiety that he had, and it gave him that special moment of holding his great grandson. It was really special for us as an entire family, and I absolutely love that story.

SpeakBiancaer2: [00:19:14] That's so beautiful. Really, that's so beautiful. And actually, that really highlights some of the benefits to the adult that the topponcino has.

Amber: [00:19:26] We we didn't realize we are a very baby centric family, so we went in getting the topponcino because it was what was best for the baby. But we realized that benefit for the parents is just as big a benefit for extended caregivers or those older siblings and giving them that confidence.

Bianca: [00:19:48] I love how you were mentioning your journey, selecting the fabrics and all of that. Can you explain a little bit of what is in your topponcino?

Amber: [00:20:01] Yes, it's very simple. It is cotton and cotton. We did a lot of research on products, baby products, fabric research, and we noticed there was a lot of polyester in the world and actually in baby products in general. And it would be significantly cheaper to make this product out of a polyester material. But the more I researched, the more I did not like the idea of polyester being next to a product that I was going. Put my baby on or put other babies on or offer to other parents for them to use with their babies. I absolutely did not want that and I was adamant that I wanted our topponcino to be as natural as possible. So everything in it is cotton from the batting to the cover, the thread. It's all cotton. And we actually just came out with 100 percent organic version that is organic inside and out as well for parents that are really adamant about having organic products next to their babies.

Bianca: [00:21:08] That's wonderful. You know, you hear so much about, you know, babies have sensitive skin and they have sensitive systems. And so I think it's so beautiful that you put so much care and attention into that piece of your product as well shows how much love was put into it.

Amber: [00:21:23] You know, we're trying to figure out a, I guess, a keypad as well. And yeah, because one of the main things is like not washing the insert because it is that cotton batting and you got to clean it. There are ways to clean it, but that's been one of the hardest thing is baby spit up babies have accidents and so picking up he had now. And everything that's being advertised to us is made out of polyester or some type of plastic. So we are making sure to figure out the highest quality cotton. It may not be 100 percent waterproof, but I am so adamant on keeping it natural. No polyester and cotton wool only so amazing.

Bianca: [00:22:10] So, so amazing. So for everyone out there, her products are so, so beautifully made with love. You can tell from the way she's talking about it. And so on that topic, what do you love the most about the monastery topponcino?

Amber: [00:22:27] It's it just makes life easier. Everybody in the whole family, the parents, the children, extended caregivers, siblings. It's going to make your baby's life a lot easier because they're going to be comforted. They're going to feel safe. Most parents end up saying it's the product they didn't know they needed until they've seen it and used it, and now they're absolutely 100 percent on board telling everyone that will listen. You have to get this product, and we really hope to change kind of that narrative. Like, I didn't know I needed this. We want to bring this to the modern world. We've seen children using this literally from birth up to four or five, six years old and reading nooks as sitting mats, as, you know, little pillows that they carry with them. And I just love like the comfort it brings. Being a new parent and being a new baby can be tough. And I think any ounce of relief that we can provide for that stage of life we want to bring. Yes. Yes, yes. Yes.

Bianca: [00:23:35] Thank you so, so, so much for coming on and talking all about your product. For everyone in our audience, I will have all of her information linked below the links to her Topponcino Company and all of her products. So one last question for you. Do you have any final tips for the parents and caregivers who are in our audience?

Amber: [00:23:55] Yeah. First of all, I want to thank you for having us on as well. This any chance I get to talk about our product in the Topponcino and the benefits I love and I just love that you're focusing on the Montessori baby area because it is like not fully saturated with information. And I I just love that you're trying to bring that to the modern world as well. I think a tip. It's not really specific to Topponcino. It's probably me more talking as a parent. But trust yourself, trust your baby. We're all kind of scrambling through this parenthood together, but I know we've got this. Yeah, and we're all here to help each other.

Bianca: [00:24:36] Absolutely. We're all in this together. Well, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much, Amber, for coming on our show. I would love to have you back on someday

Amber: [00:24:47] And would love it.

Bianca: [00:24:49] And that was our interview with the amazing Amber Vick. So I will have all of her information linked below for you guys. So you can find her on social media. And of course, I will have her beautiful top on Chino linked below as well, so anyone can check that out. I want to give a huge, huge thank you to everyone who's been listening to our show and showing all the love. We're so grateful and also welcome to everybody who is newly discovering our show. We are so happy to have you and our baby tour guide community. So thanks again for taking a listen to Episode Twenty Four of Our Monastery Babies podcast and we will get you in the next episode.

Bianca: [00:25:27] Bye! Hey, it's Bianca, your baby tour guide here, hopping back in to say thank. You again, for listening to this episode of Montessori Babies, if you found this episode helpful and would like more information. Hop on over to Baby Tour Guide and download my free Montessori guide to join our community and receive the latest on optimizing development through a Montessori lens. You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook @ Baby Tour Guide. Also, if you found this episode helpful to your Montessori practice, I would absolutely love it if you would leave a review to help other parents and educators find our show. Thanks again for listening, and I will catch you in the next episode bye.