A nurse, scientist, researcher and professor was fed up hearing about all the tragic incidents of babies dying while sleeping. About 600 babies die in America each year from suffocation or strangulation in bed. These unexpected losses devastate families and communities and it's in part due to a lack of safe products. A University of Minnesota and University of Arizona graduate who grew up in Caledonia, Minnesota has dedicated her life to prevent any future pain for families. Dr. Jennifer Doering's invention comes directly out of research done through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar Program.
This baby sleeper allows for a safe way to keep a baby close without risking common dangers. Abri is a french word for shelter which is what the sleeper provides. It also offers 360 degrees of protection, unlike competitor products which only provide 180 degrees of protection. Dr. Doering compiled information on babies sleep patterns, movements, breathing, anatomy and oxygen saturation to engineer this new, effective innovation. Instead of monitoring the baby, you are able to also monitor the environment around the baby. This keeps the place and space for your baby, free of common hazards.
You can also bring the Abri 360 with you anywhere. Take this with you while camping or hanging out in the living room. Your baby will feel nice and cozy in this portable bed, no matter where you go.
The Abri 360 launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise enough money to take this product to market. They have a warehouse established in Milwaukee and they need $100,000 (through crowdfunding) to start production. The goal is to retail the product under $149. You can get a significant discount on an Abri 360 through this Indiegogo campaign and become one of the first owners of this specialized sleeper. Once they reach their goal, Abri 360 will be available through Amazon and eventually brick & mortar stores.
Giving back is a huge part of the Abri business model. Eventually they plan to take back any used sleepers, refurbish them and donate them to a family in need.
I had a chance to interview the creator to learn more about Abri and her safe sleep tips.
Why was Abri created?
-The Abri 360 was created to give parents an option to sleep close to their baby that isn’t currently available.
Many parents want a better option for making their bed safer for babies. The Abri 360 is designed to provide this – backed by the science of sleep safety.
How is it different from other products to make co-sleeping safer?
-The Abri 360 is different and safer in 3 ways:
1) Keeps pillows or blankets from falling onto the baby at night.
Parents who put a lot of effort into making the bed safe for the baby say that a pillow or blanket being pushed onto or over the baby is the one thing they cannot control when sleeping their baby. Many parents speak of near-misses where they wake in the nick of time to rescue their baby from this harm. The Abri 360 gives parents the peace of mind to sleep knowing the Abri 360 prevents this from happening.
2) The Abri 360 is ‘smart’, meaning it has simple sensors that will go off when (and only when) the Abri gets pushed or tipped in a way that could be dangerous for the baby. If a blanket or pillow do fall on the baby, an alarm will also go off when that happens.
There are no products on the market that do this – monitor the place and space around the baby and warn parents to wake up when something is wrong.
3) The Abri 360 provides a soothing environment for the baby, because the bridge cuts down (attenuates) the light and sound a baby is exposed to, providing a calming sleep experience for babies.
What are some tips to make sure new moms are getting enough rest?
-Recognize you may not be able to get ‘enough’ rest every night for several months. Do your best to get as much rest as possible and tell yourself it will get better. The stress women place on themselves when they don’t get the sleep they think they should be getting can make new motherhood a bigger struggle than it needs to be. Having realistic expectations about life with a new baby can help you cope when things get hard.
-Ask for help. This can be the hardest thing to do when we hear about women who appear to ‘do it all’ and think we have to do that too. Keep in mind that birth is like running a marathon and even marathon runners need rest to heal after their big event. So do moms! Things that can help are asking for help with the laundry, making a meal, giving the older kids a bath or taking them to their activities, picking up the house, or watching the baby while you sleep.
-Get creative with sleep so you get 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep as often as possible, even if that’s only twice a week. Splitting the night can help with this. One partner sleeps from 9p-3a and the other from 3a-9a (adjust the start and end times to your family’s schedule). Five hours of uninterrupted sleep helps heal the body and re-set body rhythms. Getting even 5 straight hours twice a week can make a huge difference in your ability to function, stay positive, drive safely, manage stress, and keep up your milk supply.
-Strive to be ‘good enough’ for now and keep it simple. Is baby fed, warm, diapered, cuddled and safe? That’s good enough. Young babies just need enough to sleep, eat, grow, and be loved. That’s good enough parenting. Babies don’t care if the house is immaculate. And let go of the idea that there even is anything such as a ‘perfect’ mother or father.
How can parents create a soothing sleep environment for babies?
-Parents can create a soothing environment by trying to mimic the womb – dark, warm, and loud! We don’t think about the womb being noisy, but it is, because the baby hears the woosh of every heartbeat 24/7. This is one reason babies seem to be able to ‘tune out’ noise around them when they sleep. They are born to do that. To create a soothing environment, lower the lights. Set the room temperature between 65-72 degrees and dress baby in a swaddle sack with a t-shirt and socks underneath. The baby should be dressed in the same clothes you would be dressed in to stay warm. But don’t worry about having a quiet environment. In fact, a continuous ‘swooshing’ sound may help babies stay asleep longer.