Radhika Patil is a mum who saw an opportunity in her own motherhood phase and turned to becoming an entrepreneur on a baby product.
With the phase of motherhood, comes the routine and trials and errors of feeding the baby the right way and putting the baby to sleep the right way.
Radhika got into the venture of bringing a cradle that could diminish many fears of putting the baby into sound sleep.
She shares with Mums and Stories, “I am a mother to 2 beautiful kids – daughter(4.7y) and son (1.6y). When I was expecting my first baby, it was tough. The journey was new. I used to rely on my cousin sister for information and discuss health issues. The first six months were tough with full time job and morning sickness. Later in the 4th month I was diagnosed with low placenta and was on bed rest for 2 months. Thankfully my office offered me a work from home option. But after the 7th month, things settled. I could resume back to work. At 33rd week of my pregnancy, I went to my hometown, Pune. Since, it was my first time, I was sure I would require some experienced person with me who could guide me and help me with the baby.
As a first time mother, I did not know much about lactation and how to feed the baby. It took us a while to adjust and setup lactation. As a new mum, I came to realize how important lactation and sleep is for our sanity and the baby’s too.
We do know that mother’s milk is the best, but whenever the baby had colic, caught cold, had a stomach upset or fever due to vaccination, my pediatrician always prescribed one solution – “Feed the baby”. Second important learning was about – sleep.
All my schedule revolved around baby sleep.
Sleep defined baby’s mood, feeding, growth. If baby slept well – all was well. Baby woke up in a good mood. I could sleep well too and spend quality time when the baby was awake. I was more happy and energetic for baby care.
Now this was the time when we had built a very homegrown version of a cradle. The hammock based cradle was the reason she slept well. When I had to join back office my daughter was just 5 months old. I was so worried. We were a nuclear family and had to hire a nanny. The next big question I had was – How can my nanny put the baby to sleep ? But with the cradle it was so easy. Nanny could also use her time effectively and take care of the baby well. The baby slept well and I was not welcomed home from office by a cranky baby.
( Cradlewise product)
Soon we were looking for hammock based cradles way back in March 2014. We were shopping for baby essentials. I searched lots for cradles online and offline. But the typical four-legged cradles had flimsy stands, the overall build quality was poor and most of them had firm beds. The firm bed cradles have disadvantages –
a) The baby rolls side to side. To stop this I had to put bolsters.
b) The firm bed leads to flat head for the baby as baby’s skull is very delicate initially and babies spend 16 hours on an average in sleep. Repeated pressure while sleeping on a mattress causes that area of the head to flatten
c) The hammock based cradles used to curve like a “C”. The baby to sleeps in a curved position. I had read that this is not a safe sleep posture for babies. Hence did not use the off the shelf hammock based cradles.
We gave up on finding an off-the-shelf-cradle. We put our thoughts together and drew a rough drawing on the paper. We made a list of things that we would require and things moved from one thing to another. I was in Pune when my first baby was born.
Pune is automobile hub of India and hence a lot of components that we required for the cradle were available off the shelf. We built one and our baby slept well in it. She clearly loved the snug hug of the cloth hammock. The cradle improved week by week as per the growing babies needs. We went on to add auto-swinging. At around 4 months we were so worried about the baby’s safety in the cradle and felt the need for a monitor while we were away from the baby.
We started exploring how we can add monitoring without intruding on the freedom of the baby to move. My husband and co-founder at Cradlewise, was working on a very cutting edge sensor technology at Texas Instruments. This sensor was just perfect for monitoring unsafe sleep postures and give an alert. We did a quick proof-of-concept using this sensor. It worked! The product developed week-on-week to adapt to the needs of our growing baby.
Unknowingly a venture was taking in shape. Our friends were also entering parenthood at around the same time and they too were struggling with baby sleep. Somewhere we felt that this product could be used by many more parents.
I spoke with over 200 parents with help of a pediatric sleep specialist to understand baby sleep challenges and got all the more convinced that this is it. Cradlewise and my second baby were born around the same time. Now we had a new version of the swing for our second baby. Our second baby was our first test engineer. With the smart cradle for my support, I could manage baby care as well as work on my startup. Cradlewise is a 1 year old and we are an awesome team of eight people.”
Talking on her journey of being a mom, Radhika shares, “ It has been extremely rewarding and more importantly it has made me more aware and conscious about nutrition and fitness too. Also it has made me more calm while approaching difficulties in life.
(Founders of Cradlewise and Proud Parents).
Working with a life partner has been good too. We understand each other and manage our time very effectively. We also divide our tasks so that we can optimize time with kids and also work sufficiently on our startup. Simultaneously, we ensure that we do not burn ourselves up. We take good breaks on weekends, go for treks, spend quality time with kids and recharge ourselves.”
For those new parents who are interested, Cradlewise has rental options and buying options too and you can have more details on firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp at 9980542239
( Photographs are subject to copyright).
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