Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fluffy Mail Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the Fluffy Mail Giveaway Hop, hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network!

If you're a cloth diapering Mom or Dad {or plan to be}, you know that one of the most exciting things about cloth diapers is... Fluffy Mail!  There's just something special about opening up a package of adorable fluff!  I've teamed up with over 30 other bloggers to bring you LOTS of chances to get the best kind of Fluffy Mail - a Giveaway Win!  So be sure to hop around to all the other giveaways at the bottom of this post before the event ends on May 15th!

Krazy for Kloth is offering a brand new bumGenius Elemental (BGE) to one lucky winner, provided by the awesome Jack Be Natural! I will have the full review and comparison of the new style BGE to the old one (which happens to be one of my personal favorites) coming in the next few days, but I didn't want to hold out on a giveaway for all you amazing readers! Make sure you stop back for your daily Twitter entries and read the full review! 


My technology issues have finally been resolved and now I can bring you the full review of the new bumGenius Elemental (BGE)! I'll be completely honest when starting this, I have been in love with the "old" Elementals for quite some time now. Although B is skinny for his age, he still has good size legs making for a great fit on the old Elementals. I'll do a comparison of the two in case you're like me and want to see what the major differences are.  

One of the reasons I adore the original BGE is because of the layers and layers of organic cotton. Not only are there two layers of organic cotton sewn into the PUL, but the inside of the diaper is also lined with organic cotton. Not the most fun diaper to prep (if you  happen to be impatient like me ;)), but the more you wash and use it, the more absorbent the diaper becomes. This had become my go-to diaper for naps, or car rides, or extended errands where (unless #2 occurs) you may be going 3-4 hours before changing a diaper.

With the new BGE, perhaps the only difference is the glaringly obvious one. There is no inner layer of organic cotton lining the PUL. You'll still get two layers of organic cotton sewn into the PUL, but underneath that is basically a cover. The PUL is exposed everywhere the organic cotton isn't sewn. (I'll talk about some potential benefits to this later).

New BGE (left) and Old BGE (right)

The fit factor:
The snaps on both versions are your standard bumGenius style of two rows across the band. Because of the natural fibers lining the inside of the diaper in the old BGE, the legs holes naturally "roll in" creating a nice seal at the leg without having to worry about gapping from snaps that don't fit "perfectly".  I can honestly say, I have NEVER had a leak in my old BGE's. Because of all of the layers of organic cotton, this tends to be a bulkier diaper. The stereotypical "fluffy bum" is in full force with the old BGE's and you'll most likely need elastic waist pants, or go up a size ;)

With the new BGE, since the inner lining of organic cotton is removed, the legs do not roll in like the prior version. This diaper fits more like a cover with the elastic being in contact with the leg. If you're familiar with the Flip diaper system, this fits similarly in my opinion, only you don't need to "stuff" it with your stay-dry or organic cotton insert the lining is already sewn in. 

See how the leg holes roll in on the old BGE? The new one fits more like a single-gusset cover

Extra Absorbency?
With the old BGE's I never felt the need for an extra insert for daytime or naptime. I did test it at night, and put in a Thirsties hemp/cotton doubler, and it lasted through the night just fine, but I was pretty nervous about the extra bulk creating gapping at the legs with my squirmy sleeping toddler. Since the inner organic cotton layers have a tendency to move you would have to use a material that safe to be in direct contact with baby's skin. (i.e. not microfiber) and you'd want a relatively thin one to be able to fit it between the inner layer and the sewn in organic cotton. 

When it comes to the new BGE's, I did notice some changes from an absorbency perspective. After waking from a nap (a nice 3 hour one! It was a crazy day...) the diaper didn't leak, but if felt noticably wet on the inside. Almost like when I took the diaper off I was expecting a little pool in the PUL. It's something that I think over time as the diaper becomes more absorbent will become less of an issue, but for night time you would definitely need to add an extra insert-whether it be a doubler or prefold. The nice thing about removing the inner layer is that it makes an AIO diaper a bit more customizable. For daytime, if you'd like a trim-yet absorbent-diaper, this will be a good fit. If you want to be able to use it for longer periods of time, you can easily add as many inserts as you need because the space between the inner PUL and organic cotton is much more forgiving. 

This has been one of my biggest complaints with the old BGE. Because the layers are sewn in and there are so many of them, if you have a particularly messy diaper, there are plenty of "nooks and crannies" for the mess to become lodged. Spraying off the diaper is also an interesting experience because the cotton folds and sits in certain ways that allow for some nice ricochet moments. Definitely one you'll want to make sure the water pressure on your sprayer is low! Because of the natural fibers, it also tends to hold stains a bit longer/easier so sunning is a must if you are obsessive about pristine inner layers like I am. Unless you live in AZ like me, it can take a while for this baby to dry because of the organic cotton. Also, line drying can leave the cotton feeling a bit rough. Once they're about 75% dry, I usually toss them in the dryer to finish drying and soften the fabric back up. 

The new BGE has some of the same cleaning complaints because they layers are still sewn in, but because the inner is PUL and not organic cotton, the cleaning is a bit quicker. I'd still recommend sunning these diapers because the natural fibers are the same and will have the same predisposition of staining, but they do dry a bit faster with that inner cotton layer removed. 

The Verdict:

My overall opinion, is that while the new BGE is not dramatically different from the original, the changes that were made are significant enough to me to treat it like a completely different diaper. I was truly expecting to be disappointed and hate this new diaper because I have such a great admiration for the first one, but honestly, once I gave it a try, I can see how it would a great addition to a stash. It offers the comfort of natural fibers in a nice trim diaper. It gives flexibility to easily be used during the day, while still offering the ability to customize additional inserts for nighttime. The price on the new BGE is the same as the old one at $24.95, which is at the higher end for an AIO diaper, but it is comprised of organic cotton which is a more expensive material, plus you save on shipping when you order from Jack be Natural because shipping is always free! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**I was provided the above item for review purposes. My opinions are solely my own and may differ from your own. According to Jenny, So Easy Being Green, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Fluffy Mail participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.**

Once you're done entering this awesome giveaway, make sure you "hop" to all the other blogs below and enter as many giveaways as you can!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mama's got a Brand New Babe Review and Giveaway!

Welcome to the Mama's Got a Brand New Babe giveaway event, hosted by Going Green with the Grizls and Sew Fatty! This event will run from April 24th - May 8th and we will finish off with a Twitter party on May 9th from 9-10 PM EST!

Going Green with the Grizls

Each blogger located on the linky below has put together an awesome prize suitable for either a new parent or baby worth a minimum of $25. =) Be sure to enter to win of TWO fabulous grand prizes!! Each prize is worth over $ and are made up of the perfect new baby and parent gift including prizes from an amazing list of sponsors including Boba, Gen-Y, Bamboobies, Kissed By the Moon, and Bummis!

Be sure to attend the Twitter party on May 9th from 9-10 EST to participate in the live drawing for the grand prizes. There will also be special prizes specifically for the Twitter party. You must tweet at least once during the party to be eligible to win.

Hashtag: #MamasBabe
Hosts: @GreenGrizls & @SewFatty

Now for my giveaway!! 

I'm so excited to write this post, for two reasons. 1) I get to introduce Bumkins' new and improved One-Size (OS) cloth diaper and 2) It includes a giveaway of not one but TWO brand new cloth diapers!

So let's get started. Local retailer, Zoolikins has generously agreed to sponsor the items for review and giveaway. Last year Bumkins revealed their new line-up of diapers which included changes to their sizing. The new cut fits a smaller baby while still fitting most toddlers. I have seen this diaper on a 7lb newborn (I will be able to personally test this theory come August!) and it fits my 23lb 19month old like a glove! I never cloth diapered B when he was a newborn, so I don't have a newborn "stash". As I start to grow a stash for baby #2, I'm noticing that most newborn AIO diapers have a limited shelf life--about 12-15lbs max and then they're ruled out. At $13-$15 a piece, that seems like a lot of money to invest in for such a short time period.  I like the idea that this diaper can fit a newborn and continue to be used as the baby grows, truly the definition of a OS diaper in my opinion.

A side by side of the new Bumkins sized as small as it can go, next to a Lil Joey newborn diaper
This brand new release of diapers reveals a bunch of "upgrades" to its predecessor. It keeps the same sizing for newborns on up, but they've also improved the PUL. This diaper not only has a waterproof PUL but also a TPU layer. (Without getting off-topic too much, here's a great article by my friend Julie about the difference between PUL and TPU). Anyway, this new waterproofing creates amazing leak protection while still being easily maintained. When you run your finger along the inside and outside of this diaper you can actually feel the difference in the material, it almost feels thicker, more secure than other brands, or other releases of Bumkins. Sticking with the outside appearance, Bumkins finally has SOLID colors! You know I'm a print junkie (to satisfy that, they have released Turtles in the new PUL/TPU) as much as the next person, but solids are great for multiple children-keeping it gender neutral.

So soft and thick!

In addition to improvements to the outside of this diaper, the inside had some "work done" too. The inner fabric for their Snap-In One diaper is a super soft cotton/bamboo blend. I love this because it's soft natural fibers against B's sensitive skin. The insert that this diaper comes with is a nice, soft, super-absorbent minky one, so you get the benefits of synthetics with the softness and absorbency of natural fibers right next to baby's skin. If you prefer all natural fibers, Bumkins also makes a snap in bamboo/cotton insert. This can easily be swapped out for the minky and makes this already trim diaper EVEN trimmer.

The snap in minky next to the snap in bamboo/cotton insert

The natural fiber inner makes the leg gussets roll in to create a seal
The fit of this diaper is smaller than most OS diapers, but not "too small" in my opinion to work for my toddler. Because it is made with a natural fiber inner, the legs roll in to create an awesome seal. Naptime, car seats, and a nasty stomach virus have proven to be no match for this diaper. There also is an extra bit of elastic along the top of the front of the diaper. It's kind of hard to see when it's on, but what it does is help the diaper to create a "seal" of sorts around the waist as well to prevent any leaking up the front. A definite necessity for boys and tummy sleepers.

A close-up of the elastic around the tummy

Everything stays nice and tucked! From the belly to the legs

B was lucky enough to be a tester for these diapers (one of the benefits of living in the same town as Bumkins ;)) and I could not wait for these to be released. The natural fibers, the soft inserts, the trim fit and the snug sizing make this my new favorite diaper.

So, now that your excited and ready to go, here's what's in it for you. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win 2 of the new Bumkins Snap-In One OS diapers. If you can't wait for the giveaway to end, you can always order yours through Zoolikins online! Oh, and one more thing, the new PUL/TPU also comes in their AIO and Stuff-It pocket diaper if you'd like to try other options as well!

**Disclaimer: I was provided the product for review purposes. The opinions expressed are solely my own and may differ from your own. No other compensation was received**

MommyCon Phoenix Review

I'm sorry for the delay in posting this. MommyCon Phoenix was April 14th, but with all the craziness of the Great Cloth Diaper Change right on it's heels, I didn't have a chance to get this typed up. I'm also going to apologize for the quality of pictures, and overall lack of pictures. I brought my camera to be able to really share the fun with you, but when I went to take my first picture, I realized there was no memory card! (I blame pregnant brain) So I was forced to rely on my "smart"phone which constantly aims to out"smart" me.  Here's a little taste of what you may have missed:

Feeling like the Real Housewives of Phoenix!

With the lovely Krystyna from Sweet Pea Births

Learning about different options for babywearing

All about cloth diapers!

Setting up for soothing infant massage lessons

I know the Phoenix event was labeled a "mini" and to be honest, having not been to another event, I'm not sure what defines a "mini" versus an actual event. I think there was a great variance of information provided as well as a select number of vendors to seek additional information from. As a vendor, I think it was nice to limit booths with similar products/concepts, but as an attendee, I would have liked to have seen more options. Not just from people selling/making certain products, but by other companies and agencies in the area. Especially when dealing with midwives, doctors, doulas, etc. Selecting someone like that is a very personal experience and having a chance to meet with more than one agency would have been great.

Some of the presentations I attended included babywearing, carseat safety, information regarding GMO's, birth choices and healthy pregnancy. I thought it was great having professionals in these areas providing information that I hadn't considered or heard about before. I also think it was great having a babywearing "lounge" where there was an opportunity to try on multiple carriers and learn from babywearing experts how to properly wear your baby. While the presentation on GMO's was informative, I would have liked to have seen a naturopath, herbalist, farmer, or some type of nutritionist present it.  I think there is a lot of information on that particular topic that could be given, and having a professional provide it and supplement with handouts as well as having the the opportunity to followup would have been nice.

Overall, I had a great experience. I think this is a great event if your expecting your first or your fifth child. You are never too "experienced" to learn something new. The speakers were engaging and there were TONS of amazing giveaways. Which, let's be honest, who doesn't love free stuff? :) To me, the information was tailored towards expecting and mothers of infants/toddlers. Perhaps as this event grows having workshops or information for older children (preschool, homeschooling, peaceful parenting/discipline etc) would be a great addition. Also, I left B with Polish Prince for the day, but noticed plenty of little ones roaming around. The play area was a bit small, so I think having little play areas in each of the presentation rooms would be nice so the babies could stay entertained/safe while the parents paid attention to the speaker. Oh, as I type that, these play areas could be "supervised" by local nannies or daycare providers that are open to natural parenting methods (babywearing and cloth diapering etc). Just a thought!

When it comes down to it, if I had the opportunity to go again, I definitely would. If I had the opportunity to go to a "full" event versus a "mini" I would jump. I would love to see the differences between the two. It's a great way to get exposed to what other options are out there for parents and an easy way to gather resources for current and future pregnancies.

Monday, April 8, 2013

FuzziBunz Elite One-Size diaper, what's the big difference?

As many of you know, FuzziBunz has recently re-vamped their One-Size (OS) Elite diaper. Our local cloth diaper store, Zoolikins, asked if I would do a comparison of the new Elites to the old Elites. They graciously provided a new FuzziBunz Elite for me to test out and review. I thought I'd take the complete review one step further and add in a their original OS to the mix too.To give you a little idea of which is which. The blue diaper is the original OS, the orange is the old OS Elite, and the yellow is the new OS Elite.

The original OS was one of my first diaper purchases. I had heard about how trim this particular diaper was and how easy it was to adjust the sizing without having the snaps going across the front. It's one of the features I like most about FuzziBunz. To make the comparison easier to understand, I'm going to break it down into categories: Look, Inserts, Sizing, and Miscellaneous. Are you ready? Here we go! :)

The Look (first appearances, general functionality):
All three diapers have a conceptually similar look. They all have 2 rows of snaps. One around the waist and another set on either side of the hips. With only 3 snaps on each "wing" to worry about, this is a quick and easy diaper to change. The inside of each diaper is made with a microfleece that wicks away moisture from baby's skin while still keeping a soft barrier next to baby's bum.

Now, to dive into the differences. I'm going to start oldest to newest.

On the original OS diaper, you'll see there are 8 snaps across the waist and 4 hip snaps. The snaps on the hip curve in giving a tighter fit around the leg for skinnier babies, and also helping with gaps that may increase the opportunity for leaking. The actual diaper itself is also contoured through the middle. This makes for a nice fit for B, but because it's a bit narrow, it does make stuffing the diaper a little trickier if you have broader hands or more than one insert.


The old OS Elite changed the snaps a bit. There are still two rows,still 8 total snaps across the waist but now only 3 hip snaps. Those three snaps are closer together and no longer contour in. It does make the diaper appear "boxier" but when it's on B it seemed to have little to no impact on the sizing or fit. I did notice that there was a little more gapping around the leg hole when B would sit down, but I didn't experience any leaks. I think on skinner legged babies, this may be an issue or if you stuff multiple inserts and make the diaper bulkier. Like the original OS, this diaper is contoured down the middle, so it does make stuffing the inserts a little tougher, but the inserts that come with the old OS Elite are a much thinner minky material versus the microfiber predecessor. More on inserts later :) 

The new OS Elite has the same snap structure as the old Elite with a few changes. There are 10 total snaps across the waist and three at either hip. You'll notice the three hip snaps are set in a bit more from the outer edge. They are not contoured, but it does help decrease the potential gapping at the legs. You'll also notice that when looking at the three diapers, the new OS Elite appears wider. It's not as contoured as the prior versions of this diaper, making stuffing the inserts easier, but it also gives a wider fit on B.


The Inserts: (what's included)

Large Inserts
Small Inserts
All three diapers come standard with two inserts. What they're made of is what changes. Keeping with the same structure, we'll go oldest to newest.

 The original OS diaper comes with 2 microfiber inserts. They are different sizes to accommodate the different sizing over the life of the diaper. I can't put my finger on it, but there's something about these FuzziBunz inserts that are different from all the other various microfiber inserts in my collection. They just feel different. The stitching around the edges feels strong and the insert itself just feels thicker and more absorbent. **Side note, with some microfiber inserts you can actually see the layers start to separate the more you use them. It doesn't seem to affect their absorbency, but it makes the insert appear puffier. I have never had this issue with the FuzziBunz inserts from the original OS diaper** Because the inserts are so thick and the diaper is so trim, stuffing both inside the pocket can be a bit tough. You'll really want to make sure the insert is entirely inside the diaper as microfiber is not safe for direct skin contact. 

The old OS Elite switched things up when it came to the inserts. The microfiber inserts were gone, and in their place were 2 super soft minky inserts. Ultra trim, yet still absorbent. The inserts are still two different sizes, but because they are so much thinner it makes it much easier to use both inserts and still keep the diaper trim. Because the inserts are minky, if they happen to "peak" out of the back pocket it will not harm or irritate the baby's skin. Minky material is completely safe to have direct skin contact. 


The new OS Elite no longer uses the minky inserts, but have gone back to microfiber, only the microfiber seems different. There are still two inserts of different sizes, but they are noticeably the largest inserts of all three diapers. The stitching around the outside seems to be of the same sturdiness, but the actual microfiber itself has a different feel. The versions that came in the original OS diaper feel much more dense than this version. I mentioned earlier that over time the inserts can feel like the layers are starting to separate and feel puffy. This insert feels like that right away. Only time will tell if the absorbency becomes different after repeated usage, but for some reason I'm not as confident in this version of microfiber as I am with the original OS inserts.

The Sizing (There are no rise snaps, how do you call these OS diapers?!)
One of the features that makes FuzziBunz OS diapers unique is the way they size the diapers. One of the most tell-tale ways to tell the difference between a OS diaper and a sized diaper is to look for the rise snaps on the front of the diaper. Now, I know FuzziBunz isn't exclusive in their "no rise snaps" approach, but it's one of the pioneers (from my understanding). Each of these three diapers has the same concept of sizing, but the method and placement-so to speak-are what changes with each model. Each diaper has  three different adjustable elastic bands; one on each leg and another around the back.

The original OS diaper probably has my favorite sizing. When you are looking at the inside of the diaper you can clearly see where and how to adjust the elastic. The elastic is labeled 1-7 and has buttons on both sides of the elastic. So, when you decide to adjust the diaper you simply match the numbers. It makes it a quick and easy adjustment by just going around the diaper and moving the elastic to the same number. This particular diaper also comes with replacement elastic. So after multiple children, or long-term use the elastic eventually fades. By already having the new elastic you can easily swap it out yourself and have a virtually new diaper. There are also little pocket holes next to each button to tuck the excess elastic in. It sounds silly but it's nice to be able to tuck that in and not have to worry about it poking or irritating baby. 

 The old OS Elite kept the same numbered elastic sizing concept, but instead of having it accessible from the inner layer of the diaper, you now have to turn the diaper inside out to access the elastic. It's a bit more cumbersome to flip the diaper inside out and tug at the elastic to change it, but my guess is that having the buttons directly against baby's skin could be irritating to some children/parents and moving them to the inside would seem to solve that problem. **This is just me speculating, I have no idea why the buttons were moved to the inside part of the diaper** The diaper still comes with replacement elastic to make at-home repairs/changes quick and easy. This model also has those little pocket holes for tucking excess elastic in. 


The new OS Elite is completely different than it's predecessors. There are no numbers on the elastic, the elastic itself feels thinner and the buttons don't seem as sturdy. When I was sizing this diaper to match the sizing on the other two simply flipping it inside out caused the elastic to come off of the button, needing to be re-threaded. I'm a little worried that over time or continued washings would weaken the already loose elastic loop. I also noticed as I was re-threading the elastic that the seam between the PUL and the fleece was much weaker, I could see noticeable gaps with a simple tug of the fabric. On the prior two model, I would really have to pull to even get a small gap in the two fabrics, this Elite took very little effort to separate the threading. There are no pocket holes to tuck excess elastic in. This is just a personal preference of mine, and may not be an issue for you, but as this elastic is thinner, it has a tendency to curl, and over time this may become an irritant for some babies. Lastly, the sizing on this one is much wider so the setting I have it on is almost "too big" for B at this stage. This will help for those of you that feel the prior models were too narrow. You can see I can easily fit a few fingers between the leg of the diaper and B's leg. Sizing down solved this problem, but I wanted to show you how much larger than the other Elite, this diaper actually is once it's on.

Final Verdict:
Overall, I don't think this is a bad diaper. I'm a little disappointed that the quality of the material used in this new model seems to have diminished. I worry that over time this diaper will not stand up to the standards that FuzziBunz has already established, but only time will tell. I will say that I think the new wider sizing will appeal to more families as it will be more forgiving as the child grows. I also think the new microfiber inserts are great from an absorbency standpoint, and for daytime use, there would be no reason to have to double up on inserts. I have used this diaper a few times now and have not had any issues with leaking. This diaper is not as trim as the prior OS models, or even the Perfect Size FuzziBunz, but it's not such a drastic change that I'm noticing I have to go up a size with B's pants or anything :). 

My final thought is if I didn't have a prior model to compare this diaper to, it wouldn't be bad. I would make sure to keep all original receipts and paperwork for warranty sake, but I wouldn't be opposed to having a couple in my stash. For $19.95, it's a little pricey compared to other pocket diapers, but the longevity you'll get from the new sizing should help to off-set that cost. There are also tons of solid colors to choose from (and one print-but pricing does go up for prints). I'm a total print junkie, but having a few solids in my stash can help to break up some of the craziness that can come from print overload! :)  Pop into Zoolikins to see this diaper in person and try it out or order online. Be sure to come back and let me know what you think! 

**The opinion and experiences stated above are my own. Your own experiences and opinion may differ. I was provided a diaper for review from Zoolikins, but no other compensation was received.**