Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mom Review: Gro-Via Stay Dry Soakers

by Ivee Higa

Background: For those of you not familiar with GroVia, they make All-In-One (AIO) and All-In-2 (AI2) diapers. AIO diapers are most like disposables - clean diapers are ready to be put on baby and after being worn, the whole thing must be laundered. AI2 diapers consists of two parts: the shell and an absorbant pad. GroVia shells can be used for multiple diaper changes;  wet or soiled pads are replaced with fresh ones.  Their AI2s are also called Hybrid because of the option to use either a disposable pad or a reusable fabric pad. The pad that I am reviewing is one of the 3 pad options to use in the GroVia shell. For more information on GroVia, visit their website: or FB page:

Description: The Stay Dry Soaker Pad is made of one layer of micro fleece (top layer against baby that wicks moisture away so they feel dry), four layers of hemp/cotton blend, and a layer of waterproof backing. The shape of the pad is oblong with the back slightly wider than the front. The underside of the pad has 2 snaps which secure it to the shell. GroVia's cloth pads are uniquely sewn together to allow better washing and faster drying.The pads also have leg gussets to contain mess (vs gussets on the shell). The gussets on the Stay Dry are made of soft micro fleece.

Performance: After prepping the pads the minimum 3 times, I noticed the fleece top was looking a bit wrinkly because the attached hemp/cotton layers had shrunken a little. Other than that, the soakers felt the same - soft and flexible.  

Our first test was during the day. When I snapped the pad into the shell and laid the diaper down, the top layers sat on top of the leg gussets. I arranged the leg gussets around the top layers then put the diaper on my son.  When I picked up my son, the pad stuck out of the shell in the back and when tucked in, the diaper was bunched up. I chuckled at my son's "fluffy butt."

Although a bit poofy in the back, the diaper is trim - all fit within his onezie. My son (7 months old) crawls and also stands up so I liked knowing the Stay Dry wouldn't be too stiff or wide for him to move around in because it's so flexible. About 2 hours later we did a diaper change.  I was surprised to see the front of the pad bunched towards the middle of the diaper and barely covering my son's privates! But his skin was still dry. 
The fleece top didn't even feel wet. Maybe a little warm, but dry. I had to look between the layers to find the front half of both layers wet. Because the soaker got squished downwards, the shell was a little damp. I let it air out and continued to use it in rotation throughout the day. It just wasn't as fresh smelling.

Our second test was at night. I add a booster to my son's nighttime diaper and did the same thing with the Stay Dry. This time however, I didn't worry about the leg gussets. But I did make sure to pull the front of the pad up as far as it would go before closing the diaper around him. I honestly was a bit worried when I put my son to bed - he's a tummy sleeper and I kept thinking about the bunched up pad from earlier that day!  Almost 6 hours later I did a diaper change. The Stay Dry and booster were soaked with pee but didn't leak. My son's skin was a little sticky but he was not red.  (Same as with his usual nighttime diaper.) I had to feel the fleece top several times to determine that it was slightly moist -- it felt more dry than wet. The Stay Dry was not as bunched up as the initial daytime test.  But probably due to my son barely moving around rather than my extra effort of pulling the pad up when diapering.  

Poop: Since those initial testings, we have also changed a couple poop diapers on the Stay Dry. There are no stains on the fleece top or lingering odors on the hemp/cottom layers. My son's poops are solid so I can't speak for how it would contain younger babies' liquid poop. I'd worry that it might be messy if time is not taken to arrange the leg gussets around the top layer. And even at that, the top layer doesn't really lay flat (because of the shrunken hemp/cotton) so accidents might still happen.  

In Comparison to the Original Organic Cotton Soaker Pad: 
My son is primarily diapered in GroVia AI2s with the Original Cotton Soaker Pad. I add a homemade fleece liner (which goes between the pad and his bottom) to help him feel dry. That extra piece of fabric actually intimidates my husband from changing diapers.  So imagine my excitment when I heard GroVia came out with a Stay Dry (all attached) Soaker Pad! When I first opened the Stay Drys (in my car in the parking lot!), I thought they were much wider than the Originals. When measured against each other, they are actually the same size.  After further comparison, I figured out that the top layer of the Originals are narrow, giving the Stay Drys the illusion of being wider.

The Stay Drys were just as soft and flexible after prepping. I remember being a little disappointed after my Originals finished laundering for the first time - they weren't as pliable as out of the package. (Good thing its stiffness doesn't affect the absorbancy.) The Stay Dry takes about half as long to dry compared to the Original. When put in the dryer for half an hour on medium, they are completely dry and ready to use. (The Originals would either need another round in the dryer or finish drying on the line.) 

I also noticed that the Stay Drys are much lighter when they come out of the washer than the Originals. Does the longer drying time of the Originals and lightness of the Stay Drys say something about their absobancy? Hemp is known to be more absorbant than cotton, but the Stay Dry only has 4 layers of hemp/cotton compared to the Original's 5 layers of cotton. All I know is we haven't had any leaks with the Stay Dry and the rare leaks we've had with the Originals was due to diaperer error.  

Here's a side by side comparison of the pads in shells, ready to be put on baby:

On the left in the airplanes shell is the Stay Dry.  

On the right in the green shell is the Original. (They are both at the medium rise setting.)  Once snapped into the shell, the back of the Original pad meets the back of the shell. As you can see, the back of the Stay Dry lays higher than the back of the shell.  That exposed part needs to be tucked in once the diaper is secured - an additional step. And, as I mentioned, this creates "fluffy butt" which you do not get with the Originals.  Notice also how the pads differ at the front of the shells. The Original looks like it would stick out the top of the diaper, but it actually ends up being just right. As you can see, the Stay Dry starts out low even before going on baby. Maybe not as much of a problem for girls, but not adequate coverage for boys. I even tried pulling up on the Stay Dry as I closed the diaper on my son (rather than just holding the shell). Same result at (daytime) diaper change - exposed privates and a damp shell which would become stinky.  

The top layer of the Originals fall into place between the leg gussets on its own. Arranging the Stay Dry leg gussets around the top layer was something I was only willing to do once. Not doing this extra step has been fine for us but maybe because my son is on solid foods and a tummy sleeper. 

Under clothes, you really can't see a difference between the two pads. But you can instantly feel the difference - the Stay Dry feels much softer/squishy than the Original. Here you can see the slight fluff difference:

Final Say: The Stay Dry Soaker Pads can stay in our cloth diaper stash because they: keep my son's skin dry, launder/dry well, are trim fitting, and haven't leaked.

Conclusion: Despite its great features, the Stay Drys are not my "go-to diaper" because: the shell gets damp (even after making sure the pad is pulled up well in the front) and the extra step to tuck the pad in in the back.

The Stay Drys would be good for: girls (the bunching would be in their wet zone), families who air dry diapers (feels half dry out of the washer), pocket diaperers who want to lessen their laundry (shells can be worn multiple times), and diaper changers intimidated by flapping fleece liners (the fleece is attached).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Baby A Mom Review: bumGenius Freetime Diaper

by Amanda Tutt

I have been waiting anxiously to get my hands on the bumGenius Freetime diaper and am so excited to write a review about it.

The other day while I was perusing Facebook, my favorite cloth diaper retailer Baby Awearness announced the Freetimes had arrived and they were looking for testers to review the product. Within minutes of their post I was on the phone with debit card in hand to secure my spot as a tester. (Then I sent a text to my neighbor and fellow cloth obsessed friend to let her know and within minutes she too was on the phone securing her spot).

Now onto the review, which is divided into the following components: Description, initial thoughts, drying time, nighttime, ease of use, and fit.

Description:  The bumGenius Freetime is an All-In-One (AIO), One-Size (OS) cloth diaper. That means everything you need is in the one item (no adding inserts, or a cover, or anything) and it adjusts in size to fit your baby from approx. 8-35 lbs. The typical AIO is just like a disposable, but made of cloth. The advantage to AIO’s are they are super easy to use, but the downsides are they take longer to dry and you cannot add extra absorbency should you need it (like at night). However, the Freetime is not your ordinary AIO and has been designed to address the downsides to the AIO. Instead of sewing the soaker into the middle of the diaper they have 2 semi-attached inserts; one at the front and one at the back. You can leave them flat so they overlap each other in the middle, or you can fold them to add extra layers of absorbency where needed.

Initial thoughts: The diapers looked so beautiful and perfect in their packaging which I immediately ripped off the second I go to the car.  I inspected it and of course it seems to have the high quality that I have come to expect from bumGenius products. I carefully undid the hook and loop and attached them to the laundry tabs. I noticed how soft the interior was and naturally rubbed it on my cheek. I am telling you it is so soft that I want to wear it. After I got over the softness, I inspected the semi-attached inserts (I will call them flaps for the review) of the diaper and I am going to be honest, I held it up, let the flaps fall and thought, “This is the craziest diaper I have ever seen.” I spent a little time playing with the flaps, folding them in different combinations and started to become a little skeptical of how easy this diaper was going to be to use, and although I was excited about the new features having a crazy, flappy diaper allowed, (fast drying time, putting extra layers where needed, and no stuffing.),  I was thinking it might just be a giant pain and not worth it.

Drying time: I washed the diapers and threw them into the dryer (note: according to the care instructions the Freetime should be line dried—I choose to dry my diapers in the dryer on low) for the drying time test. One of the claims/features of this diaper is with the new crazy design it will dry faster. And by faster I mean compared to AIO (all-in-ones) that typically take a little extra time in the dryer (which I find to be extremely annoying—I want everything dry at the same time b/c I hate when I am stuffing diapers and I have random dipes, or diaper pieces that are still wet and I have to go all the way upstairs to put the back into the dryer)! I closed the dyer door, and shook my pointer finger and said, “Good luck little diapers, you can do it, dry fast!” (Elapsed time) Buzz! That’s the dryer, up the stairs I bounded. I opened the dryer and dug around of the free times and sure enough they were dry along with the rest of my stash!  Yay, score 1 for Freetime! (That is just a saying; there are not real points to be obtained in this review).

Nighttime: I got the diapers prepped and ready to go just in time for bed time. I was getting my son’s stuff ready for bed while daddy had them in the bath.  I always get his diaper and pajamas out and on his changing table so I am ready for the wrestling match that is required to get the aforementioned items on him. I have the diaper open and am playing around with the flaps and debating what to do. I had to decide which way I wanted to lay the flaps: Both of them flat or fold the front one for extra upfront protection for my boy. And I had another issue, typically I put him to bed in an older version BG with 2 inserts and they are both (the inserts, not the baby) saturated in the AM. Now the Freetime has 5 layers of microfiber built in, but he usually has 6 layers on, and I was not in the mood to wake up in the middle of the night with a wet baby, so searched around for an insert to add to the diaper. I am picky about the amount of bulk I will put on my child, I do not like to send him to bed with a huge diaper butt. I found a BG newborn insert that came with my 4.0 and it fit perfectly at the bottom of the Freetime diaper, plus it did not add a ton of bulk. I placed it under the crazy fold out flaps and laid the back one over it and folded the front wing in half for the extra upfront protection. Bath time finished, the wrestling match ensued and resulted in bedtime. I closed my sons door, shook my pointer finger and said, “Good luck little diaper, you can do it, keep the sheet dry!” (Elapsed time) Pop! That is the sound of my son’s monitor; I reach up grab it, squint and see his smiling face standing up in his crib, so I bound down the hall the get him. I pick, him up and pat his PJ’s and yes, they are dry! I wrestle him out of his Freetime and into a different diaper and hand him off to daddy so I can inspect the effectiveness of the diaper. I am a weirdo, I know, and this next sentence will prove it. I check out the diaper and was impressed to see that the front wing was soaked, the insert was wet and the back half was damp. I find it exciting that his little hiney was pretty much dry! * I have used the Freetime this same way for several other nights and am happy to report that the results were the same.

Ease of use: Now this one is tricky, because I don’t exactly think it is hard to use, but it is not as simple as other types of diaper either.  I think the tricky part came mostly from deciding the best way to place the flaps in the diaper, but once I decided how I wanted the flaps the actual putting on of the diaper was not any different/more difficult than any other diaper I have used. Okay that might be a lie, there is a potential learning curve to making sure the flaps stay how you want them when you  put the diaper on the baby, but that is affected by many factors like how you have the flaps, and how cooperative your baby is (mine requires wrestling). I have other diapers that have a sewn in or snap in insert that I have to hold into place as I put it on my son and this is the same as those. (I am not sure if that makes any sense at all, it does to me, but I wrote it). One concern I did have was what it was going to be like when I had a poopy Freetime to deal with.  I was not concerned about how well it would hold the BM, but how it would work to get the poops out of the diaper with as little mess as possible. I finally managed to get the opportunity to test my concern.
Now, I do not use liners or have a diaper sprayer, so I have to go at it the old fashioned dunk and swish.  It did take some fancy maneuvering to hold the wings, and dunk the diaper, but I prevailed and managed to get the poopoos off of the diaper and the diaper in the pail with no mess.  It was not the easiest thing I have dealt with, but in no means is a deal breaker.

Fit:  I love the fit of this diaper, it fits my 27lb 1 ½ year old great and he still has room to grow.  I want to point out how trim the diaper is—remember it has 5 layers of absorbency; which for most diapers means and extra insert and we all know what extra inserts mean—lots of bulk.  Not with this diaper, it has the extra absorbency without the extra bulk.  I will be recommending this diaper to anyone who complains of a heavy wetter child that is leaking through other diapers.  I would like to see how this diaper fits on a small baby.  I think with the crazy flap design it will allow for a trimmer fit on smaller babies.  When I used the BG pocket on my son when he was little the insert drove me crazy.  It snaps down so it will fit in the diaper on the smallest setting, but then has this weird extra bulk and it drove me crazy.  I really wish I had the free times when he was little. One of the features of BG diapers is there unique butterfly closure with stretchy tabs.  The Freetimes have this feature as well and they allow for a great fit every time.

To sum it up I think it is pretty evident that I really like this diaper. It does everything it says it will do, it is made of great quality and add new features and options to the modern cloth diaper. It may look a little crazy, but in this case, crazy makes for an absorbent, trim, and fast drying diaper!

To read the additional Baby A mom review, check out Savannah Cooper-Hughes' of Eight Days A Week's thoughts on this diaper!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Bit About Breastfeeding: Manual Pumping vs. The Breastpump

In my years of practice, both as a midwife and as a Lactation Consultant, I have always advised mothers to learn to hand express their breast milk. One of the reasons for this is that doing so aids latching-on by newborns and increases milk production and flow.

A very recent research article has confirmed this practice.  A small study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood showed that expressing breast milk by hand in the first days after birth is better for boosting breastfeeding rates among poorly feeding newborns than the use of a breast pump.

The results are based on the findings from 68 mothers whose newborns were latching on to the nipple or sucking poorly 12 to 36 hours after birth. The women were randomly assigned to either 15 minutes of using a breast pump or 15 minutes of manual breast milk expression in a bid to encourage their babies to breastfeed.

Afterwards, the amount of milk produced and suckled, pain levels, and confidence in breastfeeding were assessed. Breastfeeding rates were then monitored when the babies were one week, one month and two months old.  By the age of two months, breastfeeding rates were higher among those babies whose mothers first expressed their breast milk by hand than those who first used a breast pump; almost all the mothers (97%) assigned to manual expression were breastfeeding compared with just under 73% of those assigned to the breast pump.

Most who used a breast pump at two months said they did so to store milk for occasions when they would be unable to feed their child in person.  Just 15% said they did so to boost their milk supply.  But mothers who expressed manually said they were more comfortable being seen to do so than mothers who used a breast pump.

The authors point out that breast pumping is a fast, efficient method of milk expression, once the milk supply is established. They strongly suggested, "Providers should consider teaching hand expression instead of pumping to mothers of healthy term newborns feeding poorly after birth, in cases where either method of expression might be appropriate."

A Lactation Consultant can advise on manual hand expression of breast milk and it is important to get this education as early as possible after giving birth, before any breast feeding issues arise.

(To make an appointment with our boobie guru, and hear more sage words from this wise woman, call Lani at 226-9063)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Keeping it Simple


I am big believer in keeping things simple. You'll never see me doing one leg squats, balancing on a Bosu board, doing a bicep curl with one hand and a shoulder raise with the other. That's more trouble than it's worth. I try to apply the same uncomplicated philosophy to what I eat and the dietary recommendations I make to my clients. Truthfully, any type of diet can work in the short term; how short that term is really depends on how restrictive the diet, how much effort it takes to stick with it, and how well it integrates into your life and the life of the other people you have to feed. However, yo-yo dieting takes a toll on your metabolism, and makes you feel terrible both physically and emotionally.

I believe that if you eat a well-balanced, properly portioned diet of whole grains, healthy fats, lean proteins, and tons fresh fruits and vegetables you'll have little difficulty reaching and maintaining your health goals. Buy local when possible; the food is actually more nutritious when it's fresh! Avoid things packaged things and products with ingredients you can't pronounce. Don't buy in to the supplement scheme; unless you have a specific deficiency or issue synthesizing a certain nutrient your generally wasting your money. You absorb nutrients much better in food form than from a pill, and food tastes much better anyway. If you want some specific action steps:

Don't drink your calories. The average American consumes around 450 calories 
in beverages a day, and liquid calories don't really contribute to satiety. Cut out soda, 
desserts masquerading as coffee, smoothies, and juice drinks. Even 100% juice contains 
calories and a ton of sugar. Reach for water instead, and try to drink at least 2 liters a day.

Watch your portion sizes. It doesn't take a Harvard research study to conclude that 
portion sizes are huge and so are our waistlines. Familiarize yourself with what a 
standard portion size really is. Even things that are healthy can become a problem if you 
overeat them. Brown rice is great, but if you have 3 cups of it with your stir fry, that's 
about 650 calories in rice alone. An occasional glass of wine may be beneficial for heart health; three glasses every evening with dinner caps you r day off with about 375 non-nutritional calories.

Eat some protein at every meal or snack. Protein slows down your digestive process 
so that you can feel fuller longer on the same number of calories than if you were only 
eating carbohydrates. Think about this: which seems more satisfying, 4oz of chicken 
breast or a slice of white bread? Meat and fish aren't the only good sources of 
protein: cottage cheese, eggs, edamame, tofu, beans, nuts, seeds, plain Greek yogurt 
are all packed with protein.

Include at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in your day. Juice doesn't count 
here! Think of fruits and vegetables as low calorie plate-fillers that will fill you up 
without filling you out. Try to dedicate about half of your plate space to vegetables 
at every meal (can you even sneak some in at breakfast?). As an extra bonus, fresh 
foods like these contain numerous antioxidants and vitamins that help you look
youthful both inside and out. 

Avoid the white stuff. White rice, white flour, and white sugar (and alcohol!) all break down very 
quickly in your body, leading to spikes in blood sugar that cause insulin (a fat storing 
hormone) to be released. Spiking blood sugar can also later cause fatigue, sugar cravings,
inflammation in the body, and eventually even diabetes. Stick to fiber-rich whole 
grain products like whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, and rolled oats to help you 
stay slim and stabilize your blood sugar.

Amy Forsyth is a personal trainer specializing in women's fitness and weight loss. She is currently running ladies-only morning boot camp programs across Oahu in Manoa Valley, Aina Haina, and Mililani. For more information and class schedules visit Mention Baby Awearness and receive a $15 discount off any August session. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

World Breastfeeding Week at Baby A

Join us to support moms who breastfeed the world over! All are welcome to learn about the power and beauty of how nature designed us to feed our babies. This is a great time for moms to feel renewed and encouraged in their decisions to include breastfeeding into their parenting and family lifestyle as well as for expecting moms to get questions answered or learn where they can go to for local communities that support breastfeeding. All discussion groups are free and held at the Baby Awearness store. For more information, call 988-0010.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Help Baby A Support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu!

The staff at Baby A is participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters' upcoming fundraiser event Bowl For Kids' Sake in August. Through our bowling team, we are collecting donations to help support the awesome mentoring programs that benefit Hawaii's youth and families.

If you would like to help us reach our goal of raising $600, please make an online donation on our Baby Awearness page, or stop by the store and drop some love into our collection jar.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Join us for story time

Monday July 11 at 10:30 a.m.

In launching a new line of board books for kids, we are offering a free 20-minute story time by the staff at Baby Awearness. 

Published by local publisher BeachHouse Publishing (an imprint of Mutual), all of these stories are written and illustrated by local talent. From learning your 1-2-3-s to surfing the high waves, these stories capture  the magic of growing up in Hawaii. Perfect for children ages 0 to 5 years.

A fun series teaching all the shapes, colors, numbers, opposites, and textures found in Hawaii's waters
Only in Hawaii do you find geckos jumping on the bed! A cute story to lure any child to sleep
A young boy learns the power of imagination along with his desire to surf the high waves.