If you're a parent of a little one that has been through or is going through the process of learning to sit up, you're more than likely running in to or have ran in to the same predicaments that my wife and I did with our daughter. As our daughter developed we were always looking forward to her next achievement, it didn't matter if it was something as big as rolling over, or as little as grabbing her foot, it always left us feeling excited and proud. When she was around 4 months old she was holding her head up and starting to sit up with help. She was doing fantastic! Mom and Dad were so proud of her. We started sitting her up in her Boppy and in her Bumbo, and she loved it! By 5 months she was looking like a pro, holding her head up high and sitting pretty. After we felt comfortable with her trying it on her own without the use of a chair or supportive device, we decided to take off the training wheels. We laid out her blankie, a little nervous and not knowing what to expect and let her try it. Everything leading up to this point was easy peasy, not a whole lot of risk involved, but this was big, for the first time in her life she had to face her biggest obstacle without help from a device or mom and dad. For the first time she was going head to head with gravity.
Gravity, a first time parents worst nightmare. Before we have children we don't realize just how protective we can be. But when your first child comes along it quickly becomes obvious that we are slowly becoming our parents. You remember, all those times where you thought your mother or father were being overly paranoid, well with every passing day as a new parent you start to see why, especially when your precious little one starts learning to sit up. For me, that was when I really started keeping a close eye. As my daughter would sit there, wobbling back and fourth, my wife or I could never be more than a foot away from her, prepared to catch her if she started to lose her balance. I mean she was so little! We were so worried that if she fell all the way over she would get hurt. We would sit there with her all the time, letting her do her thing but never letting her hit the ground. After a while of doing that I started to ask myself, how is she learning about falling with us holding her up all the time? We were really know different than the Bumbo chair we had her strapped in to before. So, as hard as it was, mom and dad started letting her go, and low and behold her first fall and her first loss, gravity 1 - our daughter 0. and we were certain that if we wanted to keep letting her try, it wouldn't be the last time she had a fall induced melt down.
Over the next couple of weeks, I started trying to come up with solutions that would protect her if she fell. The first thing I tried was the thing that anyone would do in this situation, I added more blankets beneath her, enough blankets so that when she fell she would have enough padding to land on so that she would't be hurt or even upset. I hated seeing her cry so much. All of those blankets did a great job as far as softening her fall, but at the same time I noticed them creating a whole new problem. Several blankets made so much padding that it was actually interfering with her ability to sit up, the blankets under her bottom were squishy, and they didn't provide that firm platform that she needed in order to keep her balance. She needed a firm platform directly under her, with protection all around her, so I thought about it and ended up doing the next thing you see all parents of babies doing. Enter the "pillow fortress".
We started gathering up all the pillows we could find in our house, with the exception of the ones we were sleeping on, and we would construct a fortress around her for her to fall on when she lost her balance! This was the answer! or so we thought. I mean it did everything we needed it to do, it checked both boxes, protection and platform.
After about a week of setting up the pillows, picking up the pillows, setting up the pillows, picking up the pillows and so on and so on, we began to see a big problem with our new solution, convenience. So it was time to put on my thinking cap again. She needed a protective mat that softened a fall, with a center area that was firm enough to give her stability, and it need to be convenient. I realized if it was going to be convenient it was going to have to be one product that covered all three needs. I started surfing the net, looking for a baby mat that offered everything I was looking for, and I never found it. Now there were mats that got close but nothing that was exactly what she needed. If I found a mat that provided enough padding, it was to much padding where she had to sit. If I found a mat that was firm enough to give her a good platform to sit up on, it was firm everywhere and to firm for a hard fall. Some of the products I found kept your child from falling all together, like a nest, but that wasn't what I wanted either. I felt she could learn and develop faster if she was actually allowed to fall over, I had developed the theory watching her over several weeks that if she was allowed to be independent and could actually fall over, she would make a mental connection with falling and learn to react to it. I believed that if she was constantly reacting, trying to resist falling over, she would strengthen her trunk muscles and develop into consistent little sitter faster. I realized that if we were going to give her the tool she needed to help her develop and test my theory, I was going to have to make it myself, so that's exactly what I did.
After watching our daughter and seeing what kind of problems she encountered in these different scenarios, I had a pretty good idea of what she needed, now all I had to do was figure out the best way to make it. I came up with what I thought was a good design and took a drive down to the local fabric store and started gathering up different materials that I thought I would need. I went home and laid it all out. I started measuring and cutting and just about the time I was ready to start putting it all together I realized one important thing, I didn't know how to sew. Fortunately we had a good friend of the family who was a great sewer and she helped with the final construction.
Now that we had a good solid first attempt at the idea finished, it was time to put it to its first test. We laid it out and grabbed our little test baby. It was interesting at this point how our mindset had changed. So many times before we were trying to keep her from falling, and now we were in a scenario where we were just waiting for her to fall. After a minute sitting there in the middle of our new creation she began to develop that little wobble, this was it it, the moment of truth. She started to fall, and of course this time wasn't going to be a gentle test of falling to her side or backwards, she began tipping forward. Bonk! There it was, her first fall on our new mat and it was one for the books, a forward face plant with a twist and we waited for her reaction. We stood there watching, holding our breath in anticipation. Imagine our relief when she laid their on her tummy and picked her little head up looking at us, and suddenly she smiled from ear to ear! We new if she was happy we were happy, and we had a winner.
Now we just needed to make our mat a little more stylish and we had something. A few more tweaks to the design, we installed a zipper and velcro system that would make the cover removable so that we could toss it in the washing machine, along with adding radius edges and piping trim to give it a really nice look, and we had something that would meet all of our needs and look good as well. A few prototypes later and we had the first, finalized Tipsy Baby Sitting Mat.
After a couple of weeks of utilizing our new invention we had several friends and family come in and ask what's that mat thing shes sitting on? We explained that we made it and explained the reasoning behind it, everyone thought it was a cool idea.
Today, we hand make each Tipsy Baby Sitting Mat for children all over the US. We are so happy to be helping, moms, dads, daycare teachers, and even babies that have muscular conditions that required pediatric therapy. Creating a solution to a problem is rewarding enough, but when it helps others it's a unlike anything else.
If you should have any thoughts or questions relating to this article. please feel free to leave a comment below!
Visit the Tipsy Baby Website at the link below!
To view the latest Tipsy Baby designs click this link!
Leave a comment