Hatch Grow review: a smart scale for infants that could have been awesome


Hardware and configuration

Amber Bouman / Engadget

The Grow is loosely tongue-shaped, with a flat bottom and sloping sides. It’s about the height and width of two skateboards stacked side by side and weighs 7.5 pounds, which is light enough to lift with one hand (an important detail, given that I’m holding onto constantly at least one of my twins). It is also compact enough to fit perfectly with my current changing table.

That said, I had to ditch the padded changing mat that came with the table because, like any scale, the Grow requires a hard, even surface. Hatch includes a safety strap to secure babies; It hangs on either side of the Grow and is buckled and adjusted at the front to keep restless infants safely on the scale when being weighed or changed. It should be noted that these straps should not be placed under the Grow, as this may affect the accuracy of the reading.

Although I was initially worried that the plastic would cool when the temperature drops overnight, it never cooled. The Grow can be cleaned with a damp cloth or baby wipe, making it easy to disinfect between uses. However, the underside of the scale could be damaged if it comes in contact with liquid, so do not go overboard with the disinfectant.

The smart Hatch Baby Grow changing mat.

Amber Bouman / Engadget

The scale works with three AA batteries, which are included in the box. To set it up, you just need to remove the tab to activate the batteries, then pair it with the app via Bluetooth. I was unable to connect on my first try, but replacing the batteries fixed this issue. Considering the minimal hardware, troubleshooting was pretty straightforward. Once I paired the device, the app showed instructions on how to zero the scale and start taking measurements.

Overall, the Grow is easy to use. Tap the scale icon at the top right of the app dashboard to start a measurement. The app connects to the scale and you have two options: save weight or start feeding. Record Weight gives you a unique measure of your child’s weight; Starting a feed requires you to weigh your baby before and after a bottle or breastfeeding session to determine how much he has consumed.

At 10 months, my kids weigh between 16 and 21 pounds. Sometimes the Grow felt a bit small for them, especially since they are in a peak phase of “constantly kicking and shaking”. However, her weight limit is 44 pounds, so I can use it for a while. Sometimes they looked tough when I put them on the Grow, but it’s hard to tell if that’s because they didn’t like the harder surface for a change or if they were cranky on a dirty diaper (or were hungry, or were tired or mad that I would not let them eat lint again). The safety strap stayed in place, was easy to adjust and fit my two children perfectly.

Software

Without the companion app, the Grow is just a changing surface, so there’s a lot to do with the software experience. The app is… good. It offers a mix of features, it’s decently organized, and it does a great job of organizing data into tables and charts so you can keep track of your kids’ daily stats. But I have my snags.

Screenshots of the Hatch Baby Grow mobile app.

Hatch baby

First, the part that works. The app is organized by child and allows parents and caregivers to keep track of statistics such as feedings (bottle or breast), diaper changes and sleep schedule. It also has fields for other details about your child: length, daily photos, pumping history, reminders and notes. You can select which ones will appear on your dashboard (which gives you quick access to everything on your child’s profile).

The dashboard is also where your child’s daily profile photo / photo is displayed and where you can see their daily schedule; Basically, it’s a timeline that shows when you’ve added entries for diet, diapers, pumping, or sleep. The calendar tracks one week of data at a time. If you want to see more information, click the graph button in the upper left corner to go to the statistics page, which provides data on all the metrics that the app tracks.

Screenshots of the Hatch Baby Grow mobile app.

Hatch baby

But here’s the thing: I already have use an app to keep track of this info – and since I couldn’t find a way to import any data or info from it into the Hatch Baby app, I ended up having to enter all the details of my twins on each platform. It lasted about two days. It’s hard enough remembering to capture all the details of two babies in one program, let alone copy it in a second. If you already have a tracking app that you like, you’ll need to either ditch it or move it to Hatch Baby. Or enter data in two apps if that’s how you want to spend your time. (Not recommended.)

Also, the app I’m currently using (Baby Tracker) offers more features than Hatch. Baby Tracker allows me to track solid starter foods as well as bottles or feedings. It has fields for medicine, temperature, and vaccinations, and allows me to track events like bath times and nail clippings. This meant that the Hatch Baby app was primarily useful for weight tracking. But even this data was not displayed very clearly as a graph, which almost defeated the goal.

Screenshots of the Hatch Baby Grow mobile app.

Hatch baby

One of Grow’s claims – and the one that interested me the most – is that it can track how much food your baby has eaten during a feeding session. This is especially useful for those who are breastfeeding, where it can be difficult to determine how much a baby has consumed. However, there are many reasons why I would like to follow this information. For example, my daughter has feeding problems and my son spits frequently. Either way, it’s important to me how much nutrition they are getting.

Unfortunately, the Grow was not as precise here as I hoped. He showed my son at 7.75 ounces in a food when I gave him a six ounce bottle. Likewise, the Grow told me that my daughter had finished four ounces in the same food, while her four ounce bottle still had about an ounce in it. A later reading showed that my son had eaten 14 ounces, which is more than double what his bottle actually could contain, and that my daughter had 3.5 ounces, which is about an ounce more than the measurement lines on his bottle wouldn’t believe it.

Screenshots of the Hatch Baby Grow mobile app.

Hatch baby

In one Youtube video, Hatch recommends the “book test” to verify that the Grow is taking accurate measurements. It is simply a matter of weighing the same book several times in a row; since the book is not moving or changing in weight, you should see the same reading each time. When I tried this I got the same result twice (three pounds, 6.75 ounces) and then a slightly higher reading twice (three pounds, 7.75 ounces). I contacted Grow about this discrepancy and as they suggested I retested on another surface. This time I got the readings I was looking for: 3 pounds, 7.5 ounces each time.

That’s reassuring, but it also illustrates the difficulty with the Grow: A minor deviation in where the weight is placed, or where the scale is placed, can result in a different reading with even a stationary object, which makes a lot more difficult to get an accurate reading. for a child. The Grow scale measurements for my babies seemed accurate considering their last pediatrician appointment, but given how the book test unfolded, I didn’t feel like I could rely on it to give me accurate results. per ounce. Unless I chose to put the Grow on my dresser instead of my changing table.

I had other issues with the app. While it was easy to create multiple profiles and switch between them, there was no way to transfer an entry if it was made under the wrong child’s profile. I could only delete and then manually re-enter the data on the other profile. Another was with the app’s photo feature that reminds you to take a new picture of your child every day by overlaying previously selected profile photos with a reminder (“take my photo today!”). There is no way to reject it if you choose not to take a photo that day. The reminder is right on the image until you update it.

Screenshots of the Hatch Baby Grow mobile app.

Hatch baby

Finally, one of the dashboard’s features, the Hatch Poll, claims to ask questions in order to offer helpful advice. But it’s not just too personal (when was the first time you had sex after giving birth? Where did you give birth?), They’re also too general to be helpful. In response to a question about postpartum depression, the survey response does not contain details on how to seek help, find available resources, steps to take to relieve symptoms, or support groups. accessible online.

Wrap

Overall, I appreciate what Hatch was trying to achieve with the Grow. A scale that can track a child’s weight, along with all of the other stats tracked by the Hatch Baby app, could be a useful tool for parents. The Grow also earns points for its sleek design, ease of use and cleaning. But I struggled to get a consistent reading, and the app didn’t offer me some of the tracking features that I was used to in competing apps. With the exception of a few significant firmware updates, I currently can’t recommend anyone to spend $ 149 on the Grow. That being said, I would be interested to see what a v2 would look like.

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