Archive for the ‘Gear – Wearing’ Category

Guavamitts Tiny Zoo

NEW! guavamitts make Mom *and* Baby look good! Photo Credit:

Infant fingernails: a seemingly impossible combination of soft and sharp.  You can “trim” them in an instant with a gentle maternal nibble, yet they can slice a tender cheek in the blink of an eye.

Socks on the hands always elicit the sad trombone, no matter how sweet the cherub.  Thanks to the brilliance and diligence of Lili and Linsey – the two Portland Oregon-area moms behind brand-new label guavakids – makeshift mitts are no longer a parent’s only preventative option.  Beautifully tailored, graphically vivid and exuberantly intentional “guavamitts” are a major infant glove upgrade with more than just protective value – they’re playful, stimulating, eco-friendly and smartly designed so you’ll actually *use* them.

Lili and Linsey took special care in sourcing materials and designing-in special details.  guavamitts boast a tailored look, snug closures, and mod patterns.  Fabric is a knitted bamboo/organic cotton blend that’s breathable, naturally antimicrobial, and sustainably harvested.  Each mitt reverses, sporting two visually stimulating patterns, and (like socks) they are wearable on either hand.

Guavamitts Neutral Pack

Neutral Pack: Cirque and Cobblestone | Photo Credit:

This is a product that holds up and even improves under closer scrutiny – we were duly impressed by the quality construction on this tiny scale, which clearly warrants the suggested retail price of $12/pair (or $20 for a two-pack).  A little extra care during laundry will keep guavamitts looking their best.  Fish them out after washing and air dry to help avoid shrinking or puckering.  A mesh baby laundry bag like this one from Munchkin is always a great option for keeping track of tiny items.

Eminently giftable, guavamitts (in 9 different patterns…18 counting the reverses) are a promising debut!  Launched in select stores just this month, interested readers can shop directly at starting September 21.


Plum Logo

Update 6/22/2012:  RIP Plum!  Too soon…  Good article here on why it failed.  I’m keeping this post up, because I still believe in the idea.  Interesting perspective in the article on why ThredUP works, too.


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Here’s an interesting notion for parents wanting to live simply yet still deck their kids out in boutique clothing: rent it.

Plum is a new company that calls itself “Netflix for baby clothes.”  Subscribers pay a monthly fee to receive bundles of two, four, or seven outfits at a time by mail, sending them back when finished for a fresh set.  Bundles are packed in a resealable envelope for easy returns, and the subscription supports one free exchange per month.

Does this pencil out over buying new?  Pretty much – at least for the brands they’re touting (Tea Collection, Petit Bateau, Kate Quinn Organics…)  Let’s say you were dressing an infant for exactly three months, and could live with Plum’s seven outfit bundle on top of all the stuff you were gifted by friends and family.  That’s a $49/month subscription – about $150 for the 3 months.  By contrast, Tea Collection or Kate Quinn layette separates run about $30-35 a piece – which would total about $210-$245 for seven outfits if purchased new.

Plum’s no-hassle stain policy (no worries – they just donate it to charity) helps make the service an overall good value, especially if you’re just having one child of a particular gender (finally – a girl after three boys!), or are not the type to do the legwork of keeping stuff pristine for resale.  Parents of multiples can use it to supplement what they already have in the house, maybe giving that little girl four sweet outfits “of her own” each month (for $29) on top of the more gender-neutral stuff she can reuse from her brothers.  It’s also a fun gift for relatives or friends to consider – either one time, or recurring.

Plum is in a public beta at the moment, with a waitlist for new members.  But if it interests you, definitely sign up and keep your eyes on it.  A similar service is ThredUP, where families nation-wide swap used baby clothing for $15.95 a box.  ThredUP is a great idea for the mass market, but with brands tending to be a lot more mainstream – Carter’s, Old Navy, that sort of thing – the lack of selection can be frustrating to folks who prefer (and would post up in exchange) the kinds of brands that Plum is carrying.


Editor’s Note: ThredUP has since added a Concierge service which helps get higher-end swappers into the game.

Ditto Hangers

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Here’s a great find for anyone starting up a new baby’s closet – Ditto Ecological Hangers, made from 100% tree-free recycled paper that’s 100% non-toxic and recyclable “anywhere.”

Ditto Hangers come in a range of sizes, but are a particularly great alternative to those miniature plastic hangers for children’s clothes.  Instead of amassing and outgrowing the tiny hangers only to toss them out, you can simply recycle them curbside!

10-packs range from $9-$15 – buy them online at  Available locally in Portland at Eco Baby Gear on SE Division.

Big news today in soft structured baby carrier land: ERGObaby has launched a new line dubbed “Performance.” (We told you so!)

Ergo Performance Spring Green

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Lighter-weight than Ergo’s Original carrier, Performance has a more streamlined appearance without getting too techie/outdoorsy. The Performance moniker applies mostly to the new “breathable” fabric and total weight (1/3 lighter than Original), as basic features remain largely unchanged.

Performance does solve the Original’s awkward hood stash issue, making the hood fully detachable and stowable in a zippered pocket.  But we wish they’d extended baby’s neck/head support, especially if this version is expected to see more active carrying than the Original.

Performance retails for $120 direct from Ergo.  With Performance, Ergo has also introduced a clip-on cargo pack, which some parents will find helpful since these carriers’ padded straps have always made it hard to simultaneously carry a shoulder bag.  What they won’t find helpful, though, is the additional cost – $28.00 seems steep…why not include it standard with the carrier?  (Free shipping is available from Ergo for orders exceeding $149.00 – but $120 + $28 doesn’t make the cut.  So try to track it down locally if you can.)

The Original is now listed at $105-$148 depending on the fabric, and there is also a Sport version for $105 which looks like a stripped-down hybrid of its sisters.  Only The Original is currently available in organic fabrics.

(Here also is the official press release from ERGObaby via PR Newswire.)

At GaGaGear, we maintain that one of the most ecological choices a parent can make, from decorating the nursery right down to dressing the child, is buying quality.  Quality products will hold up through countless cycles of intended use, can be proudly passed down to family and friends, and are a best bet in resale situations.

Among the hardest quality items to keep in best repair are children’s clothes, notably fabrics.  Buttons can be mended, zippers replaced…but a serving of oily pasta hiding in the lap of your daughter’s favorite Tea Collection pants can instantly ruin them for resale.  The worst part is, these everyday food stains don’t ever seem to register until very late in the game – usually after being laundered at least once, where they’ve had time not only to set but to be perma-pressed right into the fibers.

After years of frustrated repeat laundering and stain-treating, we set off in search of a powerful yet eco-friendly stain fighting regimen to keep our toddlers’ togs tip-top.  We turned to EcoMom CEO and Co-Founder Jody Sherman for a recommendation, and were delighted to receive a testing sample of Pocket Charlie’s stain spray – from Sutherland Products, makers of green laundry hero product Charlie’s Soap.

Pocket Charlie's

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At first, we were skeptical – the 4 oz. spray smelled a bit like car windshield washing fluid, and was simply marked “Safe for the environment / Safe for anything washable.”  Our anything hadn’t been washable – and we’d even tried to Shout it out – but we crossed our fingers and gave Pocket Charlie’s a try.

We absolutely amazed at the results.  Pasta, milk, and fruit stains…grass stains…mystery stains…even very old stains that had borne repeated washings – Pocket Charlie’s disappeared them all.

What is this magical stuff?  From the EcoMom site: Charlie’s Soap All-Purpose Cleaner is friendly to all earth, air, and marine life because it contains only the purest, most biodegradable, natural ingredients. It contains NO lye, NO phosphates, NO bleach, NO brighteners, NO dyes, NO softeners, NO petroleum, NO fillers, and NO perfume. From the Sutherland Products site: [Charlie’s is] a multi-surface cleaning agent, developed for hands-on cleaning of industrial machinery.

Hmm.  Well, toddler grime and machine grime – maybe not so different after all.  The point is, it’s a fabulous multi-purpose stain fighter, and a new must for eco-friendly laundering.  Five stars!  And only $5.99 with free shipping from

First time ordering at EcoMom?  Enter GaGaGear’s exclusive code SBBL254 for a one-time discount of 15% – through Aug 31, 2010.

Lastly – if you are interested in further greening your home, EcoMom also has a great program called EcoPass – for a $99 annual membership, EcoPass holders receive a 15% discount on every order, as well as free shipping with no $75 minimum requirement.  For the month of July, you can buy EcoPass one time – for life! See the web site for details.


Disclaimer:  GaGaGear received one 4 oz. free sample of Pocket Charlie’s from EcoMom, following our non-solicited inquiry into recommended eco-friendly stain-fighting products.  We are not affiliated with EcoMom, and were not compensated in any way for reviewing this product.  Our opinions are entirely our own.

Boba Baby Carrier Tweet

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We blogged earlier comparing the Boba Carrier to the Ergo.  Boba’s G2 carrier features all-organic fabrics, higher baby back support than Ergo, handy foot stirrups, and a more streamlined and attractive design, all at a similar price point (<$125) – what’s not to like?

Well, Boba just flew even farther ahead in our estimation with their gorgeous new Tweet pattern just released for the G2.  How adorable is this?  Of course, it’s currently backordered on the Boba site, but you may be able to find it locally (i.e. at Bella Stella Baby in Portland, OR).


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RUMOR ALERT – Ergo may in fact have been paying attention through Boba’s various innovations on their original theme, and looking for a little payback.  Their site currently features a tantalizing red curtain graphic hinting at what – the Ergo “performance edition?”  It doesn’t link to any content (tsk tsk), so we can only speculate.  But we will check back July 15, to let you know!

This just in from ERGObaby, makers of the ever-popular Ergo Baby Carrier: a new/improved Infant Insert called “Heart2Heart.”

The original insert (c. 2004) was not unlike a small comforter you’d tuck your infant into taco-style, and then carefully bundle into the carrier at a precarious angle (“the cradle position”).  It always felt like an after-thought, and something of a rip-off at almost $40.  (We even razzed it in our GearGuide.)

Ergo Baby Organic Silver Heart2Heart Infant Insert

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The new design is the result of contributions from research studies, customer feedback, chiropractic support and working directly with newborns.  Heart2Heart keeps the comfy padding of the original, but gives parents confidence with a more defined shape and secure snaps.  ERGO handles the baby origami for you this time, removing a big barrier to use (if not purchase) with the original.

Heart2Heart is available online and in stores, in both regular cotton poplin ($25) and 100% organic cotton ($38 – recommended).

GaGaGear’s Word To The Wise:  With the new version in circulation, you may see deep discounts on the old insert.  While still technically effective as a newborn carrying device in combination with the Ergo carrier, we didn’t recommend the previous version, and still don’t.  It was cumbersome and too easy to use incorrectly.

    • JHeff: I have read a good number of comments about most users of the boba not really ever using the foot rests. Looking at the videos I've seen, the back on
    • Mama GaGa: Oh, boo! Thanks for the manufacturing update - I will make note in the post. Cheers - MG
    • Cathy: I know this is a couple years old but I ran across this post and was so excited when you said the Boba was made in America - a big selling point for m

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