Interview with Mom’s Choice Award-Winner Umma Shekhani

MCA-Interview-Series-Featured-image Umma Shekhani

Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.

Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! We hope this finds you well- thank you for joining us for another installment of our interview series. For this interview, we had the pleasure of speaking with Umma Shekhani, the creator of the Mom’s Choice Award’s award-winning product, Swaddle SleevesSwaddle Sleeves is an arms-only, safety certified swaddle transition product. Umma is also the founder of the company Two Baby Bears and Co.! Keep reading to learn more about Swaddle Sleeves, Umma Shekhani, and her company, Two Baby Bears and Co.!

MCA: Hi Umma! Well done on your Mom’s Choice Award for your product, Swaddle Sleeves! Swaddling is an age-old practice, so it’s always nice to see a fresh new take on such an important process. I’d like to first start this interview by getting to know the woman behind the product. Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Umma: I am a mom of four in three years. My company, Two Baby Bears and Co., was named after our first two babies, the second of whom passed away in infancy in 2017. The company name is a way to honor his memory.

MCA: What an incredible way to honor your son’s memory. Tell us more about that company, Two Baby Bears and Co.!

A mother using Swaddle Sleeves on her infant.

A mother using Swaddle Sleeves on her infant.

Umma: I created Swaddle Sleeves for my daughter so that she would sleep better after we transitioned her out of the swaddle and into the crib. A true swaddle lover, she wasn’t taking well to any one of the transition products we bought for her: They either ran too warm or gave her too much freedom, and our little girl just wasn’t having it! One night, driven out of a sense of desperation that only sleep deprivation can spark, I sketched and sewed the first version of Swaddle Sleeves. Excited but nervous about getting my hopes up, I tried them on my daughter the next night, and what do you know? She went out like a light! Hallelujah! Within two days, she would calm down as soon as Swaddle Sleeves were on her arms and safely self-soothe and put herself to sleep once again. Word quickly got out among our friends and friends of friends, and soon everyone wanted a pair of these magical sleeves. As feedback poured in, we knew that Swaddle Sleeves were too good to keep just to ourselves, and so Two Baby Bears and Co. was born.

Sleeplessness is just one of the things that we have to adjust to as we become parents to little ones. Motherhood is a magical and exciting journey, but it is also one that can be isolating and challenging, which is why our greater mission at Two Baby Bears and Co. is to help you feel loved, supported, and encouraged in your transition to postpartum and beyond. Motherhood is better when we stick together and uplift one another.

MCA: What a great company mission to have! You touch a bit on your inspiration for Swaddle Sleeves, can you elaborate on the needs were you trying to fill when you created them?

Umma: I wanted to create a swaddle transition product that would reduce the risk of overheating, yet still provide a way to dampen the startle reflex and help baby sleep better. Also, I wanted to create something that would be easy to transition out of.

MCA: Tell us about the research that went behind Swaddle Sleeves‘ unique features!

Umma: We worked on this product for two years, perfecting the design before finally bringing it to market! We collaborated with pediatric physical therapists, pediatric nurses, and pediatricians to make sure that the product was safe and effective to use. We also included non-toxic silicone backing to ensure that the Swaddle Sleeves would stay securely in place on babies’ arms. We used material that is breathable, soft, stretchy, and eco-friendly! We also made sure to work with physiotherapy guidelines for weighted products and made sure that the weight in our product is less than <10% of the baby’s body weight!

MCA: Can you explain why having Swaddle Sleeves and swaddling a baby, in general, is so important?

An infant using Swaddle Sleeves.

An infant using Swaddle Sleeves.

Umma: In the last several weeks of pregnancy, the baby curls up into what we know as the fetal position and is in a state of continuous touch and comfort inside the womb. Emerging from that warm cocoon-like environment, newborns usually have a difficult time adjusting to the outside world. Along with skin-to-skin and snuggling with baby during feeds, swaddling is a way to help your little one feel secure and calm. When born, babies finally have the freedom to move their arms and legs about, but still don’t have the developmental maturity of being able to move their limbs about with purpose. Swaddling helps to keep babies from being disturbed by their own startle (Moro) reflex that leads to confusion, crying, and premature awakenings. If done correctly, swaddling may help your baby feel safe, settled, reduce the likelihood of SIDS, and even help to reset your baby’s circadian rhythm and, in turn, promote better sleep for both you and baby.

Swaddle Sleeves™ gives a baby that reassuring feeling of being hugged or cuddled by mirroring a parent’s touch and exerting Deep Pressure Touch Stimulation (DPTS), which encourages the production of melatonin, dopamine, and serotonin, the naturally occurring sleep and relaxation hormones, which in turn helps baby feel rested and able to eagerly meet their developmental milestones during their awake times. The gentle weight dampens the Moro reflex while helping the baby relax and gently drift off to sleep into the night. It also helps to keep baby cool and comfortable and provides a relaxing and calming effect to help achieve a deeper and better night’s sleep. The gentle pressure of the Swaddle Sleeves gives baby the feeling of being hugged or swaddled and a sense of warmth and safety, only second best to being snuggled up in mommy or daddy’s arms.

MCA: What has the feedback been like for Swaddle Sleeves?

Umma: Very positive! Parents are loving that our product is arms-only so it can be worn with a swaddle, sleep sack, or pajamas. They also love that the weight is just enough to soothe the Moro reflex while still allowing a baby to move their arms as they transition to arms-free sleep.

MCA: What is next for Two Baby Bears and Co.?

Umma: We’re taking it one step at a time right now, but we’re looking to grow organically and through word of mouth and do our part in helping as many families live happily and sleep soundly!

MCA: Well be sure to keep us updated, we’re excited to see what’s in store for Two Baby Bears and Co.!

You can learn more about Umma Shekhani and her MCA award-winning product, Swaddle Sleeves, by visiting her MCA Shop pages.


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