Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stainless Steel Baby Bottles??? I've never seen that before

Everyone's heard of Dr. Brown's and Avent baby bottles, and till recently the only choices of materials for bottles have been plastic or glass.  Glass bottles tend to be more difficult to find of late and the biggest concern of plastic bottle is BPA.  On the scene comes the stainless steel baby bottle.  Recently we've seen a rise in stainless steel water bottles as people become more environmentaly aware and don't want to use the plastic bottles that just end up getting tossed.  The question then is, as we translate this to a baby bottle, what's so great about stainless steel? And is it safe for baby? Does it make a good baby bottle?  The answers, a resounding YES, stainless steel baby bottles are safe and stainless steel makes a great baby bottle.

Here's the thing about stainless steel. It is a very durable and strong material.  It will neither crack nor break, which is great for when your baby starts trying to feed themself, or just become curious about the bottle.  You can rest assured that it won't crack open on the floor.  Another great thing is that stainless steel won't scratch.  This means that there is no chance of bacterial growth on the bottle itself, making it safer for the baby.  Also, stainless steel is not plastic, so no fear of BPA.

Because steel is a better conductor of heat than plastic is, it will warm up a lot quicker than a plastic bottle would.  Since steel lacks the transparency of plastic or glass, these particular bottles were designed such that the cover doubles as a measuring cup, so you can still measure how many ounces of water of milk will go in the bottle.  This cover also fits a stroller cup holder very well, which is a great place to put some snacks for the baby while on the go.  The markings on the bottle won't rub off like they do on most plastic bottles either.

The brand of stainless steel baby bottles being sold by Eco Babies is OrganicKidz.  They come in 3 sizes - 4oz wide mouthed, 9oz wide mouthed, and 9 oz narrow mouthed bottles.  The wide-mouthed bottles are GREAT because it makes washing the bottle so much easier as it receives a bottle brush better than most other bottles.  The 9-oz narrow necked bottle is actually a thermal bottle, i.e it is made with 2 layers of stainless steel with a layer of air in between creating a natural insulation.  This bottle can keep milk warm for up to 6 hours.  Which is great because you can take the bottle with you for a day out without having to pack the warmer for the car.

OrganicKidz is also coming out with a sippy cup top for the bottles so your stainless steel bottle will convert into a sippy cup when your baby is ready.  This makes the bottle a great investment.  It is an investment as the bottles aren't as cheap as the plastic bottles are, but, because they are so durable they will last for mutliple children and are worth it.  And, since they are 100% recyclable they are earth friendly, which we at Eco Babies just LOVE.  And we believe you'll love them too!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cloth Diapering on Vacation - my experience with the gDiaper

Many people ask me what to do when they go on vacation and they are committed to cloth.  Typically, I'd say if you're vacationing domestic then one can definitely maintain their cloth routine.  As long as there is a washing machine in sight then go for it!  I've done a domestic vacation - long weekend in Atlantic City, and there was no washing machine so I tried to find an eco-friendly disposable diaper, and ended up with Tushies after reading many reviews.  A couple of weeks ago we went on an international vacation back to my homeland of Jamaica and I pondered long and hard about what to do.  Yes, we have washing machines, but, I didn't want to stress my family about washing poopie diapers in their washing machine, and all the added utility costs, so, I thought to myself, maybe this would be an excellent time to try out the gDiaper!  I've heard mixed reviews about the gDiaper, and on the surface I loved the eco-friendly aspect of it, so, I figured I'd give it a try and maybe decide whether or not I wanted to carry it in my store.

The gDiaper is a hybrid diapering system consisting of a cloth outer shell in cute colors and velcro that fasten to the back rather than to the front as is traditionally seen.  Then there is a plastic liner that snaps into the cloth shell at its four corners.  The absorbent layer is either a reusable cloth insert OR a flushable 100% biodegradable disposable layer.  The fabric outer layer is called the "little g pant" and I was able to buy a pack of 2 which came with 3 of the plastic liners - which are all machine washable by the way.  Then I bought a couple packs of the disposable inserts - 32 for $15.  And away I went on my journey.

So what did I like about the gDiaper? It's cute, comes in great cute colors.  I liked the fact that the flushable liner is biodegradable.  I did not get the opportunity to flush the insert in Jamaica as it is not recommended to flush them in a septic system... and that's about it.  My daughter last weighed in at 22lbs so I bought the appropriate sized little pant, yet the velcro elasticized waist part cut into her skin.  This may not be a fault of the gDiaper, moreso my chunky monkey of a baby, but, I was pretty disheartened and ended up putting band-aids on her till we got back to the states.  The inserts were absorbent, but, had a tendency to leak.  I think it had to do with the way I placed the insert into the liner.  The insert was longer than the liner so I had to kinda cup it in, and sometimes I guess part of it still stuck out of the liner, which caused moisture to wick to the cloth shell.  And placing the insert into the liner, though it sounds simple enough, was time consuming when changing a screaming child, so I definitely had to have my alternate diaper pre-stuffed and ready to go for a change.  Maybe 2 outer shells were insufficient for my 10 day excursion, but, I figured, why should I buy more of these things if I'm just changing the insert.... then I realized the leak issues.  There were a couple of times that both diapers were being washed and dried at the same time because they leaked or had some poop on the shell.  Fortunately I had some Tushies as back-up... that was until mid-trip my daughter seemed to outgrow the darned things and she was constantly leaking out of them.

The final straw for me was, we're returning home, I changed her between flights.  She was in the gDiaper for maybe 5 hours, and by the time we got home her whole outfit was soaked!  I just pulled everything off of her, and placed her in one of her beautiful cloth diapers that I was so grateful to see at this point.

So, to answer the question, would I carry the gDiaper in my store? Maybe.  But no time soon.  I think this is a good diaper for a vacation - something temporary, but in my opinion NOT a great diaper for everyday wear.  This may even be a good option for those who don't have a washer/dryer inside their home, i.e. if they are in an apartment situation and have a communal washroom, and they don't feel comfortable washing their diapers in a shared washing machine.

At my last workshop someone had their baby in a gDiaper and when I asked about the leaks she said, "yeah, sometimes, but don't all diapers leak?"... I said, "Nope!, if your baby is in a good well-fitted cloth diaper you shouldn't expect any type of leakage."  And that's the truth!