Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting two new mums; Kate Woods a qualified lawyer with baby Grace and Jacquie Woods, her Sister in Law and qualified doctor, with baby Dan. Together they made for a truly inspiring and knowledgeable pair of mothers.
Initially, we spoke about the product and the features I had included, with the reasoning behind each feature. They were able to question me and instigate conversations about my design from a stance which included their parenting knowledge and also practical knowledge of using childcare products. The talk shed valuable light onto areas and ways forward I had not previously considered.
With regard to ‘Sound’ – Jacquie, mentioned how most baby monitors currently on the market have an intercom feature, where you can talk back to your baby should they become distressed. Jacquie had not used this feature yet – preferring to go and sooth the baby in person herself. However, with the sound, I am thinking of having (heartbeat noise, white noise and/or the muffled sound of the parents) both Kate and Jacquie thought hearing general noise would bean interesting and soothing feature, definitely worth exploring on a transitional basis. With respect to the ‘heartbeat’ and ‘white noise’ features, these were of most interest to them; Both Kate and Jacquie talked of success with white noise in soothing their babies to sleep. Jessie (Kate’s husband) informed me of the multiple other options available too – White noise, pink noise, brown noise, violet noise and blue noise! Not wishing to get totally side-tracked ‘off task’ today I did not ask him about these differences and will put it down as ‘More research potential….’
Jacquie, from her medical background, also had a wealth of knowledge with regard to SID’s, Sleeping patterns and she recommended I look at research by Professor James J. McKenna. Professor McKenna’s book ‘Mother-Baby Behavioural Sleep Laboratory Studies’ talks of how “using traditional anthropological and medical research techniques, the laboratory cuts through myths and controversies to provide scholars, parents, and the news media with accurate scientific information on a variety of sleeping arrangements, including safe co-sleeping practices.” (Mckenna, 2014) His advice surrounding co-sleeping and sleep apnoea will be of significant importance to my research Jackie stated.
Alongside this, she recommends looking into ‘Kangaroo’ mother care, an initiative started by Jill and Nils Bergman in South Africa. A movement that is concerned will increase the amount of skin to skin contact the new born baby has with their mother. This again is merely the initial understanding I have of their research and I hope to explore more in depth and deepen my knowledge.
With regard to ‘Sleeping’ – Jacquie and Kate talked about a term ‘formula babies’ – meaning babies who get their feed through formula milk. Babies, who are fed formula milk, tend to sleep a lot better and for longer due to the longer protein chains within formula milk, (Onusic, 2015) in contrast to breast milk. This will be relevant when looking at ‘statistics of sleep patterns’ and ‘expectations for sleep duration’, as the stats could be significantly different depending on which types of babies were referred to; formula or breastfeed babies.
On the topic of ‘Swaddling’ – there are baby wearing rules Kate informed me! Kate and Jessie have only just purchased a pushchair – 10 months in! - Because they always wear/carry Grace in the sling or swaddle. They have even passed on their ‘sling consultant’s details’! – (Yes!-there are such things as sling consultants!!) I learned that there are also a whole range of products that are geared to help new mums to wear/carry their babies safely and comfortably – ‘Vija Design’ is a clothing company who specialize in making clothes with large pockets that the baby can sit/ sleep in, skin to skin with the mum or dad.Vija Design’ is a clothing company who specialize in making clothes with large pockets that the baby can sit/ sleep in, skin to skin with the mum or dad.
We discussed ‘Types of parenting’ and who my audience actually is? We talked about the style of parents that Kate and Jacquie are – they would describe themselves as being very close to their baby, ‘Attachment Parents’ this is an approach to parenting in contrast to the more Urban/City mums who are keen to return to work and get the baby weaned onto the bottle a.s.a.p. For the purposes of this blog, I will refer to them as‘Lesser Attachment Parents’. It would appear that my customers will be from this secondary group of parents as ‘Attachment Parents’ already embrace the ‘mindful/ meditation’ philosophy and build this attitude into their regime. The ‘Lesser Attachment Parents’ however will have more disposable income, be more time pressured and so be looking for the ‘wonder product’ to help solve their problems.
The further talk made me realise that actually there is no right or wrong approach. Rather an ‘informed’ or’ less-informed’ approach, maybe a ‘right for the baby’ or a ‘right for the mum’ approach- Baby centred or Parent centred approach…
On a parting note the ladies told me about ‘occupational baby therapists’, experts who I will try to find and get in touch with for further research into this fascinating subject.
Onusic, S. (2015) The scandal of infant formula. Available at: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/the-scandal-of-infant-formula/ (Accessed: 25 August 2016).
McKenna, James. J (2014) Kidsinthehouse.Com. Available at: http://cosleeping.nd.edu/ (Accessed: 11 August 2016).