I think we can all agree that endless sleepless nights are pretty debilitating. You expect a certainly level of sleeplessness with a newborn but repeated waking in the night can become all-consuming. After his own sleepless experience over the years as a father of three (and grandfather of seven), this Queensland granddad has invented a device that promises to help put babies to sleep easily in those early days.
After much research, Frank Maunders concluded that sleep problems for many babies may simply be because they have trouble adjusting to noises outside the womb. They are brought home from the hospital to an extremely unfamiliar environment.
It’s not an entirely new theory – many of us have tried the white-noise-playing-from-the-iPod trick – but Frank’s invention, which he’s trying to get backing for on Kickstarter, goes one step further.
Mothers Little Helper is an audio device that slips between the sheet of the cot and the mattress so that when activated, it will play back the kind of soothing and comforting sounds that babies hear in the womb. Sounds like a mother’s heartbeat and the noise of her blood pumping through her body.
The beauty of the design, according to Frank, is that mum seems close. The sound comes from the bedding so the baby snuggles in by instinct. And, most importantly, he says the device is safe.
“When we finally bring our baby home from the delivery room, we usher him into an extremely unfamiliar world, a very lonely place, which we call a crib or cot,” Frank says.
“Imagine how hard it must be for the baby to get used to this alien world whilst he (or) she just left a safe place with 100 per cent contact with mum and never felt alone, not even for a second. No wonder some babies have problems adapting.”
Mother’s Little Helper doesn’t emit any radio waves and the actual device stays well away from baby’s reach, under the cot sheet. Frank lists all the safety features on Kickstarter.
The device comprises of an mp3 player, amplifier and controller that plays sounds of the womb continuously when turned on. Frank engaged a sound engineer, a 3D modeler and an electronics engineer to perfect his design.
Eight prototypes of the device have received rave reviews from new mothers and Frank is now asking for help from the public via Kickstarter to send his invention to the production stage. Pledges of $118 or more will receive a Mother’s Little Helper if Frank reaches his target by next month.