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).

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