Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Intelligender Review and Giveaway

As with most parents, as soon as that pregnancy test says PREGNANT, the wondering begins.  Is it a boy?  Is it a girl?  And if you are completely impatient and curious like I am, waiting for that 20 week ultrasound (or 40 weeks to birth) is an absolute eternity!!!

So, my curiosity got the best of me, and I started wondering if there was a reliable at home test that you could take to determine the gender of the baby you are carrying.  Before I got pregnant, I remembered hearing tale of a urine test that determined gender, so when I finally found out I was pregnant, I decided to find out more.

In comes Intelligender.  Intelligender is a simple at home kit that uses your first morning urine to determine the gender of your baby!  Seems simple right?  Well it is!!!  Any time after 10 weeks of gestation, you can use this kit to determine the gender of your baby!

So how reliable is Intelligender?  My husband did some research online and compiled the positive and negative results and he determined that it was 80%-85% reliable.  Intelligender had an independent study done that concluded an 87.6% reliability.  Either way, this test is fairly reliable, but is not 100% accurate so don't go buying pink or blue based just on this test!  If you are looking for an absolute, this is not it!  But if you are curious and are ok with reliable results that are probably accurate but can also be ok if they are wrong, this is the test for you!

So how exactly does this work?  When you wake in the morning, you collect your first morning urine (the most concentrated of the day) in a clean or sterile container; I used a paper cup.  The Intelligender box includes a plastic syringe and the test container.  You draw up your urine into the syringe and insert it into the test container.  You then swirl the container mixing the urine and the reagent, wait 5 minutes, and read!  It is quite easy to do!  A dark green result means BOY and a golden yellow result means GIRL!

I debated whether to tell you guys this or not, but I actually took the Intelligender test three times.  Yes...it is sad.  But I want to tell you guys why so that you can avoid my mistakes.

The first time I took the test was at 11 weeks 3 days.  I had received my review kit and was extremely excited to use it and see what the baby was!  I followed the directions to the letter.  And at 5 minutes, my husband and I read the result.  It said BOY!  I left the test sit on the counter and made the biggest mistake of all, I kept looking at it.  The box specifically says not to read the result past 5 minutes.  Well, hours later when I went in to the bathroom to pee, I noticed that the test had separated and that the liquid was golden yellow with dark green sediment.  My husband and I discussed it and neither of us could remember if we looked at the test at eye level (as you are supposed to do).  Since I was reviewing this item, I could not post a review without knowing the actual result...so we bought another one just to make sure.

I took the second test at 13 weeks 7 days.  I again followed the directions to the letter, waited the 5 minutes, and read the test.  It was strange.  There were TWO colors.  It was golden yellow with a green streak through it.  The result looked boy to me, but I wasn't 100% sure.  I knew that Intelligender encouraged people to send their photos for assistance or just to report their results, so I took some good photos and sent them an email.  It was only a short while (maybe an hour or two) until I heard back.  They felt that it was a girl result, but since it was inconclusive, they were willing to send me another test kit for free.  They also recommended that I swirl the test pretty vigorously to make certain that the urine and the reagent mixed well.

And on to test number three.  I took the third test at 15 weeks 4 days.  As always, I followed the directions to the letter and included my two new pieces of experience.  I swirled the container vigorously, waited the 5 minutes, and then made certain to read at eye level.  And low and behold, it was a clear BOY result.

After all of this....I just had my 20 week ultrasound and yes, Intelligender was correct.  We are having a BOY!!!

Overall: ★★★★★  I was quite pleased with this test.  I know it sounds as if it is difficult and not worth trying.  Honestly, it was quite easy and when used correctly, we got the correct result.  Just remember to follow the instructions, swirl vigorously, do not read before or past 5 minutes, and read at eye level!!!  Intelligender gave me the correct result and of all the people I personally know that have used Intelligender, they have all had correct results too!!!

I highly recommend this test to anyone curious about the baby they are carrying.  Remember, the test has an 80-90% accuracy rate, so more than likely, if used correctly, you will be having the gender that it predicts.  BUT, there is a chance either through test error or human error that you get the wrong result.  It is gender PREDICTION not gender guarantee!!!

I also have to give a huge shout out to the Intelligender Customer Support!  They answered my email extremely fast, were extremely friendly and helpful, and wonderful to work with!!!

Want to buy Intelligender?  You can buy online from Intelligender, or here is the list of retailers near you that carry Intelligender.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mabu Baby Eco Diapering System Review and Giveaway

**Note: Since everything in this review is white, it was very difficult to photograph**

Newborn:  Fits 4-11 pounds
Mini: Fits 6-13 pounds
Midi:  Fits 9-20 pounds (up to 25 pounds for skinny children)
Maxi:  Fits 15-40 pounds (start at 25 pounds for skinny children)

When I heard that Wal-Mart was going to be carrying a new brand of cloth diapers called Mabu Baby Eco-Diapering System, to say this thrilled me would be an understatement!  Wal-Mart is a national chain that is available to millions of people and by bringing a cloth diaper to these stores; we can make cloth diapers readily available to everyone!

Price Per Diaper:   ★★★★☆  A starter kit from Wal-Mart retails for $29.94 and includes two shells, two pad holders, two reusable pads, 2 disposable pads, and 5 liners.  So to break it down, you are getting two diapers for this price or one diaper is approximately $15.  This is an average price per diaper.  You can then purchase additional reusable pads, Newborns and Minis in packs of four for $9.94 and Midis and Maxis in packs of two for $9.94.  If you are able to reuse the shells and just put a new insert in at changing time, this really drops the price per diaper!  Also, you can purchase packages of disposable pads for $10.94 and liners for $1.94.

Leaks:  ★★★☆☆  This diaper did well during the day time hours.  But I found it hard to get enough absorbency in this diaper for night time.  I tried putting two reusable inserts in (which was incredibly bulky) and we still had leaks.  I tried putting a disposable and reusable in, and she leaked.  I could not find a solution using only Mabu Baby products.  I was able to put one hemp doubler in with the two Mabu reusable inserts and get through the night, but this made for a huge bulk on Miss A’s tush.  Maybe in the future Mabu Baby will make a thicker night time insert.  We also had the Velcro diaper issues…Miss A could easily get this diaper off leading to a very messy crib.  So we were unable to use this diaper at night and nap other than just a few times.

Fit:  ★★★★☆  Since this is a sized diaper, there are no rise snaps or other sizing features.  This makes the diaper quite simple to use (similar to a disposable) however that does not mean the perfect fit for every child.  Miss A is about 30 pounds, well within the original size (15-40 pounds) and above the revised size for skinny children (greater than 25 pounds).  I have had troubles getting this diaper to fit Miss A simply because she has such a tiny waist.  The addition of crossover tabs would be my #1 suggestion to Mabu Baby.  This would be a simple solution to a problem that surely more parents than just myself have.  Due to the ill-fitting waist, we did have some leakage from the top of the diaper especially during naps/night time.  Otherwise, the fit was nice.  It is a little bulky/poofy overall, but the fit is nice.

Snaps at the front of the diaper holding the diaper pad holder in place.

Snaps at the back holding the diaper pad holder in place.

Ease of Use:  ★★★★☆  This is difficult to judge.  In some ways, this diaper is incredibly simple to use but in other ways, I feel that they could have made this diaper easier.  The diaper is simple in that you simply put the insert in and then Velcro on baby.  Done.  However, I feel that the diaper pad holder is unnecessary and confusing for parents who might be using this as their first ever cloth diaper.  Personally I would recommend to parents buying these diapers to simply take the holder out and just use the shell.  The diaper pad holder is secured in place by 3 snaps at the front and two in the back.  I feel that simply putting the inserts into the outer shell without the diaper pad holder is A. easier B. simpler C. faster and D. would probably contain messes better than the complex diaper pad holder.  Also, placing the reusable or the disposable inserts into the holder can be a bit tricky.  The reusable microfiber pad is a perfect fit, so you must get it in there just right not to curl and bulk.  The disposable insert however is a tad long and can take some fiddling to get it in there without bunching.  I think if the disposable insert was a ½ inch shorter, it would be easier. 

Washing:  ★★★★☆  Washing this diaper is quite simple.  Unlike pocket diapers, you do not have to unstuff or do anything to this diaper.  If you do not want to take the insert out of the diaper prior to tossing it in the washer, you do not have to.  With the open design of this diaper, the insert will agitate out in the wash.  If you are using disposable inserts, again you can simply turn the diaper over and let the insert fall out with gravity and not touch a messy insert.  The shell is a recycled polyester that washes up perfectly.  However, the microfiber washable pads do stain easily.  I believe some sun would take this out though.

Overall Performance:  ★★★☆☆  Like I said in the beginning, I love that cloth diapers are becoming more readily available to everyone and a supercenter like Wal-Mart is a perfect venue to open up a whole new arena of customers to cloth diapers.  I also love that this is an AI2 hybrid diaper.  Especially for parents new to cloth diapering and/or parents that travel a lot and/or parents that just aren’t ready for 100% cloth diapering, this is the perfect in between solution for them so that they can have the benefits of cloth while having the convenience of disposable when they want/need it.  However, I feel that the design of the diaper is more confusing than it needs to be.  The diaper pad holder is unnecessary and may be very confusing for parents.  I believe that a simple cover would be easier.  Also, you cannot reuse the shell if your baby poops.  Due to the design of the diaper pad holder, it is almost impossible not to get poop on the holder and/or the shell when your child poops, and the interior of the shell is not wipeable.  The interior of the shell is polyester and rayon from bamboo which is nice and soft on baby’s bum but if you get poop or pee on it, you will not be able to reuse this shell until it is washed.

I want to love this diaper.  I really do!  I love the idea and the availability, but as for the design, it was not a hit for me.  I love the microfiber inserts since they fold and unfold for washing and drying.  This will cut down tremendously on ammonia buildup.  Although unknowing parents need a huge warning to NOT put the microfiber side next to their child, the placement of the tag makes this pretty obvious.  I do like the disposable inserts, they are very similar to a post- partum peri-pad which is a little weird for me, but they are very absorbent and would be perfect for newbie cloth diapering parents or traveling parents.

I do also love the environmental aspects of this diaper and do want to mention them.  First of all, this diaper is made from thinner fabrics than many cloth diapers and is designed to dry faster in order to save dryer time and electricity.  This can add up hugely for both the environment and your wallet.  Also, Mabu Baby products are made from recycled materials whenever possible.  For instance, the polyester is made from recycled plastic bottles.  Amazing.

This is a great place to start for many parents interested in cloth diapering.  It is readily available at many Wal-Marts across the country and is an easy way for parents to take a step toward reusable products.

At this point, this diaper is only available in white.  Maybe someday in the future we will see some colors and prints!

You can see the list of participating Wal-Mart retailers here.  If your local Wal-Mart is not on the list of retailers, you can fill out a product request form here so that your Wal-Mart will know to stock this item!

Total Stars:  22/30

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Breastfeeding Awareness - Can we bring breastfeeding back to Sesame Street?

***Warning, soap box Breastfeeding post ahead!***
This post is not meant to upset or disrespect bottle feeding mamas, only to bring awareness to breastfeeding.

As a Labor and Delivery nurse as well as a breastfeeding mama, I have always been shocked at how breastfeeding is viewed in the public eye.  Over the years, breastfeeding has become a gross, disgusting, wrong, inhumane, and very closeted topic.  WHY?  Breastfeeding may not be for everyone...BUT Breastfeeding is none of the above!  Breastfeeding can be beautiful, natural, normal, and should not be done in secret.  It saddens me that many mamas feel the need to rush off to their homes, a car, a bathroom, or other secluded place to feed their baby.  I can understand modesty and privacy, but you should not have to hide the fact that your child is hungry and you feed him/her from the breasts that God gave you for this exact reason.

I honestly feel that we need to bring awareness to breastfeeding, for many reasons.

One, for those that have this completely wrong perspective on breastfeeding, they will never even think twice about bottle feeding their child.  If the public perspective on breastfeeding was not so negative, there might be more mamas out their choosing to at least try breastfeeding.  At least by opening such a closed topic, more mamas would have a choice instead of feeling that breastfeeding is dirty and not even thinking about it.

Two, we need to support mamas who want to breastfeed!  So many mamas have troubles with breastfeeding and have no one to turn to.  Out of frustration and/or desperation, they throw in the towel because they have absolutely no support and have no one to turn to for help.  If this topic was not so closed off, mamas would openly talk about breastfeeding and have all the support in the world!

Three, we need to normalize breastfeeding.  Women breastfed their babies for hundreds of years because there was no other choice and breastfeeding is STILL regarded as the healthiest choice for your child.  When did it come about that breastfeeding became the "un-natural and non-normal" way to feed your child?  Ok, bottle feeding exists and many parents choose this as their feeding preference...but there are still SOOOO many mamas that choose to breastfeed too.  So why does the public only recognize bottle feeding as normal?  This skewed and incorrect public view needs to be changed!  There are TWO choices for feeding your child, and to only publicly recognize and support bottle feeding is just wrong.  The public needs to recognize and SUPPORT both methods of feeding, not just bottle feeding.

And lastly, Four.  We need to make it ok for mothers to nurse in public (NIP).  Now ok, I can understand the whole maybe we shouldn't just whip the boob out anywhere we please deal.  A nice light weight cover-up is a perfect addition for most breastfeeding mothers diaper bag essentials.  However, if a mother does not have a cover-up...just don't look!!!  It is that easy!  And I don't feel that mamas should have to hide in a dark corner or GASP a public bathroom stall to feed their child.  Would you want to eat your lunch in a public restroom???  Talk about inhumane...trying to feed your child in a nasty restroom is inhumane!  I personally ran to the car to breastfeed my child because I did not feel comfortable nursing in public.  In retrospect, this infuriates me.  My baby was hungry.  If I was bottlefeeding, I would have had a bottle right there and popped it in her mouth and fed her where ever we were.  But because I was breastfeeding, I had to rush my screaming baby to the car (however far away it was) to breastfeed.  I refused to breastfeed in a nasty, dirty, disgusting public restroom.  Bottle feeding mothers do not have to worry about where they are going to feed their baby, why should breastfeeding mothers?

So where am I going with this post?

There is a petition going around right now in an effort to bring breastfeeding back to Sesame Street.  In the 70's and 80's mothers openly breastfed their babies on the show, then in the 90's suddenly breastfeeding was not allowed on the show.  Bottle feeding is the only feeding choice allowed to be shown on the show.  By bringing breastfeeding back to this educational show, we can again show how breastfeeding can be normal and not un-natural as recent years have led people to believe.  Also, this would serve as an effort to level the playing field of normal between breastfeeding and bottle feeding and educate a new generation of children to make the decision for themselves.

If you agree and want to sign the petition, here is the link.  Bring Breastfeeding back to Sesame Street.

Also, this petition and its message made the Time News.

Again, these are only my opinions.  This is not meant to upset or disrespect any mamas out there.  I simply want support for ALL parents and ALL feeding choices equally.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pregnancy Wednesday: 18 Weeks


Hi Guys!

I hope that you all had a wonderful Holiday/Christmas/New Year/Hanukkah season and that the New Year has found you all safe and well!

The blog has been rather quiet the past few weeks for a bunch of reasons.  The first is that I honestly don't have a ton of reviews to catch up on and I am not one of those bloggers that is going to post stuff just to post.  I would rather bring you good information than a crappy post just to say I posted.  Plus, my family was hit by the plague (flu, fever, chills, cough, bronchitis, antibiotics, decongestants, and a lingering 3 week won't go away cough) right before Christmas and as I just said, it is still lingering.  At least Miss A and my hubby could take medicine, I was limited on what I could take with being pregnant and it seems that mine is just taking that much longer to get rid of.  And the last reason for the blog being quiet is that it was the holidays.  As much as I didn't want to write posts, I knew that you guys would be busy with family and wouldn't have time to read what I wrote anyway.  So now that the new year is here, back to the blogging world we come!

As of today, I am 18 weeks pregnant!  Seriously, it is so hard to believe that the midpoint of my pregnancy is so near.  June seems so far away but yet it seems to be approaching so quickly!  Miss A got some more baby dolls for Christmas and she has been having so much fun feeding them, changing them, bathing them, etc so I am getting pretty excited to see what she thinks of a baby brother or sister!  I know we will have some hard times and some jealousy issues to work out, but I am really excited to see how these two siblings take to one another.

And on to the guessing!  Some days I really think it is a boy.  And others I am convinced it is a girl.  We find out the end of the month, so I am getting really anxious for that Ultrasound.  Not only do I want to know the gender, but I am anxious to see that everything is ok too.

A few months back, I contacted Intelligender to see about reviewing their gender prediction kit.  I was fortunate enough for them to send me a kit.  I will post the review in its entirety after my Ultrasound to conclude on the validity of the test in my case, but in order to be truly unbiased and fair in my review, I feel the need to post the results BEFORE my Ultrasound!

So here it is...Intelligender predicts that we will have a.......BOY!  (a boy result will match the boy label and be a dark green, a girl result will match the girl label and be a sunny yellow/gold)  No doubt, that result is all boy!!!

We did have some troubles with the Intelligender test, and did have to have them send us another test (I will include that information in the review).  So now we just have to wait for the Ultrasound to see if it was right!  I have known a few others who have used the Intelligender predictor, and so far, I have not met anyone with a false result.  If you go to the Intelligender website, there are quite a few that were wrong, but the majority are correct.  My husband decided to sit down and calculate it and his calculations are that the Intelligender is approximately 80-90% accurate.  So of course, don't go buying pink or blue quite yet, but it is fun and fairly reliable!

So we are thinking Boy and Blue...and have NO CLUE for a Boy name!  So feel free to suggest any boy names that you like!  We have an awkward last name, so there are many that just cannot be used, but we are desperately looking for a boy name that we both love!

Here is the Christmas belly shot!

Also, one other little note.  After many very mean, rude, falsely led, and just plain hurtful emails and comments (which have been deleted) I will no longer be doing weekly pregnancy updates.  I will do one from time to time like today, but they will not be weekly or regular.  I hope you can understand.

If you are pregnant, how many weeks are you?  Do you know what you are having or are you going to find out?  How are you feeling?  Here's to happy healthy pregnancies!