Because moms know what moms need.
Imagine a world without disposable diapers.
OK, don't. No one needs that kind of stress right now. Instead, let's take a minute for a brief history lesson.
In the 1940s, cloth diapers reigned and the best option available for keeping leaks to a minimum were rubber "baby pants" pulled over the top. Effective? Sure. Breathable or comfortable in any way? Nope. Diaper rash was a guarantee and the less than cozy design dug into squishy baby legs and bellies.
Enter Marion Donovan—a stay-at-home mom who had given up her career as an assistant editor at Vogue and a woman predisposed to ingenuity. After giving birth to her second daughter and totally fed up with diapers that soaked the sheets every nap time, she set out to create a solution. As she stood in her bathroom one day, the shower curtain sparked an idea. One pair of scissors, countless shower curtains, a sewing machine and three years later, she'd perfected the Boater—a reusable diaper cover made from nylon parachute cloth that kept leaks at bay without discomfort.
Not surprisingly, they were an instant hit when they made their debut at Saks Fifth Avenue in 1949.
She didn't stop there. Guided by the simple question "What do I think will help a lot of people and most certainly will help me?" Marion Donovan went on to set the wheels in motion for the fully disposable diaper (an innovation which wouldn't hit the shelves for another ten years as none of the male executives she pitched believed they would sell) the Zippity-Do (an elasticized zipper that allowed women to zip up the back of their dress unaided), a hanger that could organize up to 30 skirts and pants in a small space along with nearly a dozen other patents.
While it's true that necessity is the mother of invention, it's also true that few groups of people are more inventive than mothers—especially when it comes to innovating the needs of mamas and babies. These days there are countless brilliant products on the market that make mom life easier, invented by mothers who could no longer abide by poor design or inconvenience.
We've rounded up some of our favorite stories and products that might not yet be as commonplace as disposable diapers but who knows? Only time will tell.
Dreamland Baby: Safe sleep reimagined
When Tara Williams' son was about 6 months old, he struggled to sleep for more than an hour and a half at a stretch. Like nearly every mama since the beginning of time, she was exhausted and desperate to find a solution. One evening as he lay on the couch next to her, she placed a heavy throw blanket over him and almost instantly, he began to settle.
In that moment, a lightbulb went off. The gentle pressure helped him relax and fall asleep. What her little one needed was a weighted blanket! Since there were none on the market that adhered to safe sleep standards, she got to work creating a prototype. With her mother-in-law's sewing help, the result was 12 hours of sleep the first time her son used it.
Tara was onto something and she knew it. Over the next months she worked tirelessly with pediatricians, NICU nurses and certified sleep consultants on a series of refinements that resulted in a sleep-safe sack which then underwent rigorous testing to ensure it exceeded all U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Standards. In May of 2020, on the heels of a successful Kickstarter campaign, she made her debut on Shark Tank and secured a $100k investment.
Made from soft 100% cotton that helps regulate baby's temperature, Dreamland Baby weighted sacks use the same concepts as weighted blanket, providing deep-pressure stimulation that comforts and calms to help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. They are gently weighted on the front panel only with food-grade, non-toxic inner-bead fill and feature a two-way zipper to make diaper changes as easy as possible. The smallest size (0-6 months) comes with a detachable swaddle wing for those that prefer a more snug sleep. It's also available in 6-12 month and 12-22 month sizes.
Doddle & Co.: The pacifier 2.0
Every parent who's ever dropped a pacifier while out and about knows the devastation that follows when there's nowhere around to clean it. So while the vast majority of us have just stood by and accepted it as a necessary evil of parenting, two mamas (with five young kids between them!) Nicki Radzely, an experienced marketer and sales professional, and Janna Badger, an award-winning industrial designer decided to create a solution.
Reimagining the age old design of pacifiers with an exposed nipple, they came up with a far more clever version. Made from 100% food grade silicone, the non-toxic and naturally hygienic pacifiers are engineered to conveniently pop back into a built-in protective silicone bubble the second they take a tumble. No more searching for a place to scrub up when it's hurled to the floor or carting around clips and cases to keep it clean while not in use!
What's more, they're ergonomically designed for baby's mouth in a way that actually mimics the natural breastfeeding latch—a design which may minimize the risk of nipple confusion.
Since their launch in 2017, they've expanded their line and won everything from JPMA's Most Innovative Product Award to a successful Shark Tank deal.
The unique Pop pacifiers from Doddle & Co are made to pop back into their protective cases when them tumble to the ground. They're made from high grade silicone which is dishwasher safe and easy to sanitize between uses.
Tushbaby: The universal hip carry gets an upgrade
As any parent can attest, carrying our kids around is hard work. And while there are plenty of super technical carriers on the market, nothing is as simple as hoisting them onto your hip. Determined to find a way to cart her little one that saved her arms and back, founder Tammy Rant prototyped a solution and was instantly bombarded with inquiries from other parents as to where they could buy their own. She launched Tushbaby as a women owned company that not only provides parents with thoughtful solutions but also gives back—TushBabies are donated to a Cerebral Palsy foundation so parents who need them can be provided with one for free.
Tushbaby's design offers comfort for both parent and kiddo with a memory foam-lined seat that promotes hip health and a seriously supportive padded belt which evenly distributes baby weight. It even provides ample storage for diapers, wipes and essentials, eliminating the need for an additional diaper bag. You're freeeee!
Belly Bandit: Postpartum recovery revolutionized
When Lori Caden was out shopping after recently given birth, she was offered help as she struggled to reach the cat litter. "Here, let me get that for you. After all, you're pregnant."
It could have been one mama's mortifying and heart-breaking moment. Instead, it sparked the creation of what's now a ubiquitous postpartum must-have. Joined by her sisters who instantly had her back, they got to work researching and designing a solution that would help new moms feel more like themselves while supporting their postpartum bodies. They drew inspiration from the centuries-old practice of belly binding and created a modern version that is doctor-recommended and mama-endorsed by everyone from Motherly's own co-founder Liz Tenety to Beyoncé.
This is the original belly band and it's world-famous for a reason: it helps women feel supported during their incredible transition to motherhood. Gentle compression helps your belly adjust to your new normal during the 4th trimester—and beyond. Adjustable to your size, even as it changes.
The Baby's Brew: Warm bottles anywhere
When you're out and about and have a hungry, crying baby, time is of the essence. Conceived by founder Alaina Moulton, military wife and mom to Willow, Alaina was looking for an easier way to warm her baby's bottle on-the-go. She was tired of missing out on things, held back by the worry that she'd find herself without a reliable way to get her hands on warm water.
After a quick Google search left her empty-handed, Alaina set to work creating the world's first battery powered, portable bottle warmer. Now mamas everywhere don't have to feel tied down by bottle feeding woes!
Designed to safely heat bottles at the touch of a button, The Baby's Brew attaches directly to the bottle and warms to the exact temperature of your choice without compromising nutrients or leaving hot spots. What's more, the pro set includes a convenient formula dispenser that prevents spills and fumbles, dispensing the powder in pre-measured doses.
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