In this episode, I’m chatting with Tara Williams of Dreamland Baby Co about why we love swaddles, sleep sacks, and weighted blankets.
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Hey there, you’re listening to the, My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
Hi, it’s Tara. Thank you so much for being here today on the, my sleeping baby podcast. Thank you for having me amazing. So why don’t you tell everyone a little bit about yourself and, uh, and your products and what you do?
Yeah, absolutely. So first I’m a mom of four and then, um, I founded a business called dreamland baby, and that was based off my son, my fourth baby, not sleeping. And we have weighted sleep sacks, swaddles, and weighted blankets for kids.
Amazing. And so your first three were decent sleepers and then baby number four had to be the one they give you a bit of a run for your money. Yup, absolutely amazing. So before we delve in, you know, in more detail in terms of, you know, your story and, um, and you know, more about your products, um, what I would love to just do is give everybody a general overview of, you know, why I love swaddles, why I love sleep sacks, you know, what age range each of these products are meant to be for. Um, and then we can, you know, dive into some more details. So generally speaking, the vast majority of babies of newborn babies do so well, sleeping in a swaddle because in a nutshell, it recreates the room like environment that they were used to. They’re used to being in for nine months inside the women, especially those last couple months as they were getting bigger.
And the room was more snug. They’re not used to the big world where, you know, they can move their arms and legs all over the place. Um, plus newborn babies are often born with what’s called a startle reflex or a Moro reflex, which is basically in layman’s terms when your baby is kind of jolting their arms, um, uncontrollably all over the place and it can make it really hard for them to relax and settle and then sleep nicely. Cause they’re constantly jolting themselves awake. And so, um, having the right swaddle in my opinion is absolutely crucial to being able to get, you know, proper sleep for your baby. And I’m a really big believer. And in the fact that not all swaddles are created equally, that, you know, there are the Navy of swaddles and I’m not knocking old Navy. I love old Navy as a brand, but a lot of the time when it comes to sleep, you need to go banana Republic, right?
You need to go with the better brands because if it’s, if it makes or breaks or little one sleep, it is not worth it going old Navy when it comes to, um, when, uh, when it comes to, you know, going, you know, picking a brand of a, of a swaddle. Um, most babies are comfortably sleeping in a swaddle until they’re usually around the three month mark or so, you know, some do well for a little bit longer. Others are breaking out a little bit, um, a little bit earlier than that, but I find that three months is the average then comes the sleep sack stage. And I love sleep sacks for infants because it’s basically a wearable blankets that your little one is not going to kick off. And that is safe, right. You know, for babies under 12 months, we don’t want them to be sleeping with loose bedding all over the place.
It’s just, it’s not safe for them from a Sid standpoint. And so the reason why sleep sacks are wonderful for that age range is because a, it is safe. They’re not going to kick it off. Um, and, uh, and B it’ll keep them warm and cozy all night long because if they end up at one end of the crib and the blankets at the opposite end of the crib, then there, they could end up, you know, being cold and uncomfortable throughout the night. And that can cause them to wake up. But what I want to emphasize here is that just because you’re a little one turns eight months or 12 months, or I’ve heard all these arbitrary ages, maybe you’ve heard the same thing that your little ones are now just done with sleep sacks guys, JJ, my son is two and a half going on three.
He’s going to be turning three. This September. He still sleeps in his sleep sack. I am not getting him out of that sleep sack anytime soon because [inaudible], as I said, he still sleeps very restlessly and ends up at the opposite end of the crib plus that also does, is it prevents him from jumping out. So I don’t know if you’ve had any crib jumpers on your hands, Tara, but my, um, my son was my first crib jumper. My two older kids are girls. And so I don’t know, they never bothered trying to jump out. But when my son was about 20 months, I remember waking up one day, it was about 7:00 AM when he usually wakes up and I hear him and I go into his room and I’m expecting to see him in his crab, like usual. And I open up the door and he’s standing right by the door of his room, completely naked, like, so he has jumped out of the crib.
He stripped himself down, there’s pee all over the floor and he’s like, hi mommy. And I’m going, oh boy, all right, this is a great start to the day. And so getting him back into the crib and keeping him contained in the crib is something really important. Cause you don’t want your 20 month olds to be jumping out of the crib and then you’re forced to get them into a bed. It’s just not a fun situation to be in. I actually have a whole other podcast episode. I’ll link to that one below. But um, on specifically on, you know, when and how to transition with your little one to a bed, but spoiler alert, it’s not when they’re 20 months, if you can control it. And so when they’re used to sleeping in a comfy sleep sack, it’s going to make it significantly harder for them to jump out of the crib, making it easier for you to get them sleeping soundly in their crib. And so that is why I am a huge fan of swaddles. And I am a huge fan of sleep sex literally until your kid is ready to get into a bed. So that is my spiel. So I would love to hear, you know, more about specifically how you got into the world of sleep attire, thanks to, you know, your fourth baby.
Absolutely. And I love at the beginning when you said, you know, our, our fourth baby, because we were done after three. And then I, I told my husband, I need one more. Like I have this one, you know, we need one more baby. And then we waited a couple of years. And so, and then he was like our monster in all aspects of life. Um,
The universe was like, I’ll give you a fourth baby. Oh, well I give you a fourth baby.
Exactly. So everything you said about sleep and swaddles, I totally agree with, I use them for my first three kids. They’re incredibly helpful. I definitely swaddle when they’re a newborn to create that woman like, and then go into the sleep sack as they get older to replace these blankets. Um, you know, so they can’t go on their face and risk of suffocation. And since like you mentioned, however we needed with my fourth baby, something a little bit more. So that is where I made during my baby. And it’s essentially a weighted blanket that is on top of a sleep sack and then, um, a swaddle. And so the weight is evenly distributed. All of our baby’s body, just like, um, weighted blanket for adults. And if you’re not familiar, you know, with the why behind a way to blanket it, it’s like there’s a science piece.
So cortisol is that fight or flight hormone. So it lowers cortisol and then increases serotonin, which is that happy feel-good hormone. Like when you give somebody a hug, you get that immediate dopamine rush and then melatonin, which is the sleepy hormone. So it really keeps your body in balance. And that is from the even distribution. We have receptors all of our body that is activated basically by this even distribution of weight. And it’s one of those things where as an adult, like the second you put it on, I have my, my way to blink. You’re right here with me. But the second you put it on you, you will feel this immediate calm. And so with RJ mind, baby products, your baby’s going to feel calm, which helps them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. So it, our story, my son was six months old and he was still waking up every hour and a half, which you know, is like a normal that’s torture. It was a really leave really rough six months. And then I at the time, so he was a newborn and then I had a three-year-old four-year-old and five-year-old. Oh,
So you’re old five-year-old. So when you say there was a break, you mean like two whole years?
Basically. I’m like, no, they’re they’re three years apart. Yeah. By my second and third and fourth, but my first three are super close. They’re all like totally back to back. So for us three years was not the gap. Um, but so, you know, I’m waking up in the morning at seven o’clock, I’m getting three other kids ready. I’m driving them to school. And it was, I was just hilarious. Like I remember calling my mom’s sobbing one day saying I’m not even safe to drive because I am so tired. I literally
Had that same conversation with my mom too, where I also remember calling my mom crying on the phone being like, I can’t get behind the wheel of the car right now. It’s as if I’m drunk. We, I literally had that same car. Yes.
Yes. And it’s true. Mean that sleep deprivation over multiple months can truly, I mean, you, you it’s like you’re drunk you’re you’re out of a state of sobriety almost. Um, it, but it was like a hangover, like a bad hangover, not even a drug. Um, and so it was like, I was a bad friend. I was a bad mom. I was a bad wife. Like I had nothing left to give. I was just trying to get through every day. And so it was a really like sad time for me. But in that time we had bought everything. We had tried everything and just nothing helped him. So one night I laid heavy throw blanket on top of him while we were just like on the couch, watching TV and this calm came over his face and I was like, oh my gosh, he’s calm. He needs a way to like it.
Like, it was just that I thought of it. And so I remember I raced online. Like I got on Google first and I was like, what the heck? I don’t see it because I saw a loose way to blankets for babies, but nothing that was wearable. Like we’re going back to the safety element and wearable component makes it, so it can’t migrate to the face as a risk of suffocation. Yeah. Then I went on Amazon and I’m like, Amazon has everything and I still find it. And I was shocked because I don’t know about Canada, but in the U S weighted blankets are so, so popular. Like at home pretty much has a way to blanket either for adults, children, even dogs. Right. So I’m like dogs, dog. Yeah. They call them thunder baskets, but they get scared. So I was like, how is this not for baby?
And so, um, I called my mother-in-law and she, she sewed my first prototype, which actually looks really similar to what we have on the market today. The first night he worked, he slept for 12 hours and we, yeah, we see he was six months old. So at that point I wasn’t feeding him in the night. We were doing all the things, right. Like we have the black stays, we had the sound machine, he was in a crib, he was in his own room. Like we had all the proper, we put him out, um, you know, into his bed awake. Like he had all the proper tools. He just needed something more. He needed that late. He wasn’t searching for that crowding experience. So we actually thought it was a fluke the first night. We’re like, there is no way, but next night, same thing. And then his naps went from like 30 minutes to three hours.
You know, another thing with him too it’s he was colicky. So it was like, he was when he was awake, he was basically crying all day long. Like he was crying, he’s uncomfortable. He’s over tired. He was never getting that good night’s sleep. So to see him, then get this sleep. He started eating better. He was happy during the day he wasn’t crying anymore. Like, it was incredible. I mean, yeah. We now have customers who leave reviews and say things like you’ve saved my life. This sounds so dramatic. But like this product at the time saved my life. Like really it was transformational. And then, you know, all of a sudden I’m like, I’m sleeping. Like, what is this? Like, I’m going to get dressed. I’m going to go to this
New chance at life.
And then people started asking me right away if my mother-in-law would make one for them. And that’s when I realized this helped us so much, we could help so many other families. Like I don’t ever want a new mom because I had, this was my fourth. So I had three babies and I loved the for six months. Like, I’m a baby, baby newborn mom, like through and through. And I loved it and it was so happy and it was so joyous. And then to have this experience with my son where I was miserable, I was like, I never want a mom to remember these six months, the way I remembered this. And so we we’ve helped now probably close to a hundred thousand families. I mean, amazing. It’s been incredible. So in the way it’s like caught on and you know, it’s a word of mouth thing, right? Like it totally, I tell two friends and they’re like, amazing. I want to buy one. And then they talked to six because it just works. So, so well, totally, totally. That’s how we got to here.
I love it. It’s so interesting because I found that, um, so I don’t think weighted blankets here in Canada are like as popular or let me, let me rephrase. They weren’t as popular. COVID suddenly has made weighted blankets very popular. I noticed right away, it was like March or April of 20, 20. Suddenly my newsfeed was filled with ads for weighted blankets.
Well, it, it helps with anxiety and totally,
And let’s be real. Like we collectively, as a planet, experienced insanely heightened levels of anxiety. It was like this awful traumatic collective experience. Um, that unfortunately, depending on where you live, some people are still going through it. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I noticed, Hey, all of a sudden, all these, um, all these companies for weighted blankets are trying to advertise their stuff to me because they know that I’m stressed. Right. Cause they know that I’m living through a pandemic right now. So, um, and it can’t, it can’t be a coincidence like, like what exactly is the science behind the weightedness of a blanket? Like it just, it calm, it helps lower cortisol levels. Is that what it is? I know there’s also a sensory aspect to it as well.
Yeah. So it’s called deep touch stimulation or deep pressure stimulation. They’re kind of interchangeable. And it’s really that like it’s the even distribution is what harnesses that deep touch simulation. And so we have these receptors all over our body and it’s it really, I think the easiest way to understand it is like, when you get a hug, like when you embrace somebody and you’re touching close by, like, you immediately feel this like sense of warmth and kind of calm and like a peace that comes through your body, right. It’s that embraced component. So, you know, when you have this blanket and it is encompassing your whole body, it is doing the exact same thing as like a hug, literally in the U S um, adult. We do not manufacture adult way to blankets, but they have claims for things like they used to say cure, but the FDA said, you can’t say cure.
I can’t say getting off medication, but they really say they help with, you know, PTSD and Somnia, restless leg syndrome, um, depression and anxiety, ADHD. What, what way the blankets really started for? And they’ve been used for 40, 50, 60 years. It’s not a new concept around for the autism community. Mostly because those, um, people with autism have a very hard time sleeping. And so they were used with way to blankets and it would help them fall right. To sleep and be able to get off sleep medications. And I’m not sure why it took so long for them to come mainstream, but in the U S it was like 20 17, 20 18. They really popped on the scene where one company had a Kickstarter and they sold, I think, $5 million worth of them in one month. And then it was like, all these people had them. And again, like what’s happening with our company.
It’s that word of mouth where you’re like, oh my gosh, I don’t have to take my melatonin name more or, you know, take it one step further. And my prescription sleep medication. Right. Like setting off these prescription. Cause in the U S it’s like, oh, you know, you can’t sleep. Here’s a drug and you can get your candy it’s oh, yeah. They’ll just catch it. So I think a lot of people didn’t really need to be on stuff. And then they just use the weighted blanket and it was an alternative, or they could be on a lower dose or, you know, kind of in combination. Yeah. People started realizing and then people started writing about him and then everybody was like, I want one. And then they wouldn’t have one and they’d tell two friends. And you know, here we are where it looks like truly, I feel like there’s probably one in every household in America.
I mean, truly like somebody in the house. And it’s just because they work really well. You know, it’s natural. And, um, yeah, so we, you know, it’s the, it’s the very same concept for, for your baby, right? So if we’re feeling stress and anxiety, which sounds like a funny thing for a baby, but they know when we’re tense as parents a hundred percent, little, little newborns, like they can sense that. Right. So babies can feel stress, but for babies, I mean, it’s more that they just they’re looking for that grounding experience. So in the nineties, when we moved back to the back to sleep, we call it in the U S like, um, back as best. And so it’s on our back to sleep campaign. I think you have something similar. And basically parents used to let their babies sleep on their tummy. And now the protocol from the American academy of pediatrics was placed her baby on their back in the crib, which is fine, but, and it did help with CEDS and it decreased it immensely.
However, all of these babies lost their grounding experience before body weight was grounding them. Now they’re open, they’re free. And that moral reflex and that startup, like they’re just free, right. That’s where sleep sacks came from. But again, the having the weight on the sleep sack evenly distributed, that’s the big key. You need it all over to be effective. And that really just like brings it one step further. So, you know, SleepSack swaddles, they’re great for safety. And for SIDS, if you’re looking for a sleep solution, then you’re going to want a way to swaddle and a way to sleep sack. Right.
And how does it work in terms of, um, the temperature in the room? Like if it’s weighted, does the room have to be at a certain cooler temperature or does it work with warmer temperatures? How does that work?
Yeah, so it’s actually really interesting because that was one of the first things we looked at is the talk. And I thought, oh, it’s going to be so high, but the, um, the inner material or the inner beads, they’re, um, they’re like, um, uh, medical grade plastic, and they’re called poly pellets. And they have virtually no, there’s no heat component to them. So for our SACS, there is a 0.6 tog, and that is driven by the, we use a hundred percent cotton, a lightweight cotton knit. So we’re actually coming out this winter with a 2.5 tog because we want something warmer for Canada. Yeah, totally. But to date we’ve, we’ve just had the lightweight one and that’s for year round. So the dress them any different than you would, you don’t have to, to set the temperature, like it’s on the cooler side. Yeah,
No, I mean, zero, 0.6 tog is great because it just means that if the room is cooler, if the room is, let’s say, you know, 70, 71 degrees, which for the Canadians listening in is approximately like 21 degrees Celsius. I used to have to Google this all the time. Cause I’m so Canadian, like, cause I have a lot of American families that I help and they’d say like, oh yeah, the room is about 72 and I’m literally secretly Googling. Like what the hell is 72 degrees Fahrenheit to Celsius? Cause I don’t know what it is. Um, but now it’s seven years later. I’m finally figuring out the Fahrenheit to Celsius conversion. Um, so, you know, with a 0.6 tog, um, what’s great about that is that if the room is cooler, you can always just add layers. You know, if you, if you have to though, I mean, to be honest, I’m excited to hear that you got a 2.5 tog SleepSack coming out as well, because then it means that we don’t have to put our kids in a bunch of layers underneath, but you know, generally speaking, if the room is, let’s say in that 70 to 71 degree, um, range, um, it usually I find that a 2.5 togs SleepSack with just a cotton sleeper stretchy underneath is typically ample.
Um, if you want to go with the 0.61 though, you’ll probably want to get your, get your little one in, in an extra layer underneath. So like the, the cotton sleeper with, let’s say like the short sleeve to onesy to go underneath and then that’s typically, um, that’s typically ample, but no, cause I was just thinking, you know, that we’re, we’re heading into summer months here. I mean, even though, even though we live in Canada, it’s still going to be, it’s still summer here right now. So, um, to know that that material is, you know, still, even though it’s weighted, it’s still light. It’s like, it’s, it’s an interesting concept that it’s not, when you think of a weighted blanket, you think of something heavy, heavy and warm and it’s like, you know, could make you sweat if it’s too, if it’s too warm, but, um, this sounds really fantastic. So I’m curious, like with your, with your fours, with your, your fourth son who was like the catalyst that, um, that encouraged you to go down this road, did he ever end up, um, did he, was he, did he ever end up having, you know, some kind of like sensory something or other like extra sensory needs that, you know, maybe your other three didn’t have or no, he’s just a, he’s just a typical kid with that was just a crummy sleeper before your sleep sack. Yeah,
No, it’s really interesting. So he’s three. And as of now we don’t, you know, we haven’t seen anything extra or different and I don’t, I don’t think he has any sensory at all. Um, but interestingly enough, my six he’s now six, he has some sensory stuff, which he was a fine sleeper as a baby. Um, but all three of my kids use the weighted blanket we have now. And, um, two of my three older kids, they take a long time to fall asleep. So, um, I, my son definitely has some sensory, I would say on the spectrum. He’s very low on the spectrum. Nothing hugely crazy, but he doesn’t like to hug. He doesn’t like to be touched. He doesn’t like to like hold our hand. So like some of that is going, I actually want to get him evaluated to see you kind of what’s going on with that. But he, and then one of my other daughters would take at least an hour and a half at night where they lay in their bed and like, bless their hearts. I’d go in at 9 30, 10 o’clock and they’re just laying in the dark. And I’m like, are you
Still awake? Yeah. Fall asleep.
And so as kids having this, and I’m sure your viewers can’t see, but I’m sitting at my desk and I have this with me at all times. It’s our way to be like up. It’s like perfect for me as an adult, I’m working, but having that has been transformational for both of them to sleep through the night. It was just that falling asleep. And now they’re asleep in, I would say 10 to 20 minutes from,
Oh, I should really, I should really get one of those for my ten-year-old. My ten-year-old sometimes, you know, it takes a while to fall asleep. She’s just kind of always thinking and processing and her mind just kind of goes, um, you know, a little bit hairy come bedtime and then it can take her a while to settle. So I didn’t even think, I didn’t even realize that, yeah, this is not the sort of thing that kids need until they’re three, you know, it’s it’s, as they, as they get older, there is absolutely benefit to having a weighted blanket for them as well. Well, I’m really, really excited. It’s a job is to try this out for, uh, for my kids because, um, don’t get me wrong. My ten-year-old is not waking us up at night and she’s not driving us crazy. You know, she, she knows, you know, what the expectations are and she happily stays in her room, but you know, I don’t want her taking forever to fall asleep. That’s that’s hard and that’s very stressful. Yeah.
Yeah. And you don’t think about like, I mean, I never really thought about the implications for my kids. Are they not getting enough sleep? Like, are they tired the next day? Because we put them in bed at eight o’clock, but they’re, if they’re not actually, you know, with the intention that they’re asleep by eight 30 pretty much. And then they wake up at seven 30 the next day. So they’re getting 11 hours. But if they’re really not falling asleep until, you know, 10, 10 30, like that’s, that’s just not enough hours for young elementary school kids. So then it is like, is this, you know, it’s not a burden to you or I, because they’re not coming into our room throughout the night or anything, but like for them on a health aspect, you know, how much better could they do if they were sleeping through the night? Like, you know, sleep is this very, the most important thing in our life is sleeping, right? If you weren’t sleeping, can’t function and other aspects. So yeah, definitely. They make them for all ages. I’m sure you could get it on Amazon or somewhere
Else. Amazing. No, I love this. I am so happy that you came on to chat with me, you know, all about, you know, swaddles and sleep sacks and like weighted, weighted blankets, you know, for the older ones, where can anyone find you? If they, you know, want to learn more about your products, they want to follow you? Where, where should they go?
Yeah, absolutely. So we’re really active on Instagram and it’s dreamland, baby co and then we’re trying to be on Tik TOK. You don’t want to see me on there because I am goofy as all have. It’s not a cute look for me. I’m attempting now. And then our website is Judaline baby co.com. And we actually, if you have, um, Canadian listeners, we do have a fulfillment center in Canada. We just opened it up, uh, about a month ago. And it was like sold out so fast. So we have, so right now the orders will come from the U S so there will take a little bit longer, but we’ll be back in stock in Canada and probably like, um, I would say six weeks. So really inexpensive and fast shipping once we’re going from Canada.
I love it. I love it, Tara. Thank you so much for coming on you, everybody for listening,
Thanks guys for listening. Have a great day. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org until next time have a wonderful restful nights.