Ready to Sleep Better?
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
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Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. All right, thanks, everyone for tuning in Courtney Zentz here and I am excited to be joined today by the founder of dreamland baby company, Miss Tara Williams. So Tara, please say hello, thank you for joining me, and I appreciate you coming on the show today. Hi, there. Thank you so much for having me. I am certainly someone who sees a lot of questions come in around swaddles and sleep sacks and blankets and what these new parents should be using. So for those of you listening, Tara founded dreamland baby company in 2019, with her son who was struggling a little bit around the realm of sleep. And it has since blown up into an amazing company. And I’m so grateful that she is joining us here today to chat all about it. So tell us a little bit about the story on your journey to where we are today. Right? I mean, it’s just you’ve got four beautiful children, and obviously one that was struggling a little bit with sleep. So take us through that take us through really just the launch of the company.
Yeah and let me say he was struggling a little bit because it was a lot of it was six months old, still showing up every hour and a half, which as you know, is like a newborn. So summer of 2018. My first week has actually slept a really great so I was a fourth time mom, but a first time not sleeping mom like really, really struggling like I’m sure most of the people who you talk to. And we had fought everything. We had tried everything, which was particularly frustrating because we had just moved before Luke was born. So and I basically got rid of all my baby stuff. And I knew he was my last so I wasn’t planning on buying all the things. I was just like bare minimum whatever we need. But we really tried everything. I mean, we’re getting like rocking swings and rocking cribs and vibrating bassinets. I mean, literally everything. So nothing had helped him and we were I think it’s important to note too. We were doing all the right things like we he was in his own room. We were putting him in his crib that was bare by himself while he was awake. We weren’t you know, rocking or feeding to sleep. So we had all the structural pieces in place. He just wasn’t sleeping. And one night my husband I were on our couch with a pretty heavy throw blanket and I laid it on him like just watching TV. But I saw this calm comb over his face, which I had literally never seen. He was colicky, too. So he was always just like fussy and uncomfortable and crying. And I was like, Oh my gosh, he needs a weighted blanket. And I remember being so excited because I felt like I had come up with the solution for him, but I thought it existed. So I jumped online and I literally googled weighted blankets sleepsack and nothing came up a bunch of small blankets designed for kids, but they were loose. And we all know ap recommends no loose blankets in the crib under age two. And as a family was super strict, like safe sleep rule followers. So then I went on to Amazon and again, I was shocked nothing only loose blankets. I even looked at Etsy. I mean, I literally looked everywhere. I’m like, how does this product not exist? Like it was so clear, in my mind, you would have a body of a sleep sack with a weighted blanket sewn on top. So I called my mother in law and I was like frantic, I was like, Hey, can you saw this? Like, she’s like, Oh, hold on. So she’s like, we need to get like a sewing pattern and order all the stuff. And so it took her a couple weeks. And then the very first night that Luke wore it, he slept for 12 hours. So it was like truly amazing. I mean, to the point that we almost thought this has got to be a fluke there’s there’s just no way. Next day he took a great nap, which he had only been napping in like 30 minutes. I mean, like he almost wasn’t napping. And that night he slept again, like eight to eight like a full 12 hours. And we were just like, this is incredible. Yeah. Oh, it was one of those products that so like right out the gate people started asking me if my mother in law would make one for them. So it was like a very, very from like our first night of trying it to make telling a couple people like getting Facebook messages from people that was a friend of a friend of a cousin saying can your mother in law make one of those like, and telling us stuff like we’re stacking blankets on our baby and they’re sweating every night but it’s helping them sleep or we’re putting rice into a glove and like you know laying it on their chest, all these different really unsafe things. Because all these parents knew their baby also needed the way to blanket or like I’m holding baby to sleep cuddling, to sleep co sleeping but they didn’t want to be co sleeping things like that where they wanted that extra stimulation of a parent. So it was really just like right away that it was clear. This is not only a product that could help our family but help you know hundreds of 1000s of families and I knew right away like I want to get this out to market and like share it with everybody.
That’s amazing. I love it. I know I’m so excited because you do see even in you know, I work with children of all ages. You know sometimes you are looking at more of the older children who you hear a lot about waiting blankets, right? A lot of kids on the spectrum that I work with use weighted blankets, some kids just like the sensory seeking of the weighted blanket the pressure and feel, you know, and then to take that and turn it into, you know, what do all parents do, they put their hand on baby’s chest right there on their back. I’m a huge safe sleep family as well, you know, and so fine, like, you want to put a little gentle pressure on there, don’t put anything in the space, like it’s not safe. Like, I’ve seen so many crazy things that parents do in the name of getting sleep, and I’m like, you’re getting sleep, but you’re risking their life. And yeah, maybe it won’t happen to you, but what it does, right, and like I so, you know, in my business and in your business, I’m sure you see and hear some crazy things and to just have that pressure and the calm like, it’s also you’re touching comfort, right? Like, a sense of that pressure in this seeking that that a child has and you know, the rubbing of the head, the shushing, and then that weighted feeling of support and nurturing, you know, I, I think it’s such a beautiful thing, what you’re doing and the product is, is just lovely. So, you know, tell me about the different types of products, right? Because the number one question I get asked is my baby hates a swaddle. Now, what do I do? They don’t like their hands in or, you know, I tell new moms that I do in my newborn trainings, because they’re like, what type of swaddle should I get? And I always say, go back and look at your ultrasound picture, first and foremost, because if you spent nine months with your hands like this, you don’t want your hands up, right? But you still may like the pressure of the weighted blanket. So I always tell them, I’m like, go dig in your photo album, find the picture of the ultrasound, and see where their hands work. Because if they were up here for nine months, they’re not going to want to be down and parasite, Oh, my gosh, you’re right, like they’re fighting me on it. So talk about I know, you have the different types of products, right, you’ve got the traditional, you know, what I would refer to as the straight jacket, right? Like where those arms are in the Velcro, like they’re not coming out? newborn swaddle, right. And then there’s the different products as they grow and transition, you know, that a parent could use even if baby didn’t like their arms down. Yeah.
No, I think that’s such a great point. And when when I designed this product, I was really intentional for zero to six months, we actually have a detachable swaddling. So you can use it as a sleep sack for those babies who do want to keep their arms up in the air or their arms out or you know, suck their thumb. But you can also wrap the swaddle wing around the baby, and we have a Velcro safety strip right in the middle. So it connects, it’s like a super strong Velcro. So that is not coming off. And then you can swaddle baby with that wrap. And then we have the zero, or sorry, six to 12 months, and then a 12 to 24 months. And those are just the traditional what you think of as a sleepsack with the weight evenly distributed. So it’s from shoulder all the way down to toe, we have 50 plus pockets that each have a really small amount of weight. So it’s all over the baby’s body.
That’s great. Oh, I love it. This is wonderful. Now talk to me about Shark Tank. So I know you were on Shark Tank. How was that experience? I’m sure it was interesting, you know, to say the least. So it was I feel like the only word I can say is is just like once in a lifetime. Like it was such a crazy experience from you know, being on set and like in a trailer lot at a movie studio and going and getting like my hair and makeup done. Like I was I was a movie star for one day. And it was less than 10 minutes, it was a 24 hours of fame, I guess that 10 minutes of fame, you know, but it was it was really fun. There’s there’s a lot that goes into it a lot behind the scenes of preparing you prepare for about two months before you actually go. And it’s a very nerve wracking process, because they tell you like, this could be the last week we talk and like if it is we love working with you Like that’s at the beginning and end of every call. So it’s like people get cut at any time. Even I mean, we went and we do a pre pitch to the executive producers the day before you pitch to the sharks, and like they were cutting founders and companies Even then, and then we get to the day where it’s like you’ve made it you’re here like you’re gonna go get to pitch your product to the sharks. And there were a couple, you know, founder groups where they were just like, sorry, we ran out of time, like apply next year, you know, like they were there in hair and makeup waiting. And it was just like, sorry, like, because they take more groups than they actually need and they decide day of like, Oh, that one was an exciting for the food water. Like we think we got it for the food brand like this is going to be a deal. And then we don’t need anybody else. So it it was it was very nerve wracking, but they are so they’re great. Like they’re all five of them. I know they they give them they’re kind of like different egos and like Mr. Wonderful. Yeah, he gives you hard questions, and he gives you a hard time but it was such a fun experience. I’m the biggest Shark Tank fan like I’ve watched the show for 10 years. So to be there on the show pitching this company. That’s been my fifth baby just like my whole world. It was just magical. So yeah, once in a lifetime. That’s the word. Great. I love it. I know my husband and I are like we don’t watch every episode but we watched probably nine percent of them. So, whenever it’s odd, because I think the kids like it, and it’s like nary, we don’t want to turn on TV. So when you get down, yeah, we get to chill and watch. And I’m like, Oh, that’s a good one or not so good. You know, there’s some, there are some brands actually, where I’m like, I need that, you know, so my husband, I go right on, and like order stuff, you know, that we see. Which is fun. Yeah. Because we’re usually watching an episode from God knows, because, you know, the TV these days, I suppose. But that’s amazing. And I’m just super, super excited about just as we continue these conversations to understand, you know, there’s so much out there in the world of swaddles and sacks, right? It, I think that parents expect, you know that they’re going to go out and buy seven of this blanket, or 14 at this swaddle, because their sister bought that swaddle, you know, and I always encourage parents, look, buy one of something, and buy like, six different kinds to just try, like, because every baby is different. And you just don’t know, I’m sure you had some models from your first three kids and, you know, on the fourth, or like, Um, so, you don’t you don’t like this, you don’t like your arms in right? And, you know, I think it can cause obviously, like, you have to go out and buy the the thing that does this, and the thing that does that, and, you know, so you know, it’s interesting, you say that, because I can’t tell you how many parents we have a bundle. So if you buy the bundle, you can choose two sizes, and then you get $20 off. So it’s like, and you get free shipping. So it is a really great deal. These are waited, so they’re expensive to ship, we charge $7. But you know, cost us much more. So we have so many parents that will call back or email us whatever about a week later and say, Can I get a second one and I missed the deal? Will you still honor the free shipping? And that you know, and we’re like, oh, like we usually do. But it’s just a testament of how many people buy it. And then they’re like, this is incredible. I want to back up. So it’s a hard thing, though. I know what you’re saying? Because you’re not sure? Well, they like this brand. Do they want arms up? Um, and that’s why I feel like we’ve we’ve done a really good job with that. So the small is really that first six months, that’s when you’re not sure? Is it arms in? Is it a swaddle? Is it arms out? Is it. So I feel like our small kind of covers all the options of the ways the baby would sleep. And once you get about six months in, you’re not swaddling anymore because babies rolling and moving Yeah, then it becomes a pretty standard choice where you know, they want the weight and we can move out with it or, you know, they just need to sleep sack and that’s fine if they’re sleeping well. But yeah, I know, I have a few friends that before during my baby, I was interviewing a lot of people, and we’re doing market research. And I had a couple girlfriends who are first time moms and they’re like, we have seven different and I’m like, Wait, do you really need all of those? Like, I feel like you can just kind of tell what your baby wants once they’re born. But yeah, that’s a tough one, for sure. But I think it’s great too, because you can grow with this. You know, I tell clients like use a wearable blanket as long as you possibly can turn it around backwards and put the zipper on the back because it will keep them from climbing out of the crib. Because once those feet get on there, like your toes because they can scale now some kids do some don’t. Right. Like my son. I remember as a first time mom, my son scaled his crib, he was probably three and a half. So we knew it was coming. But we were like, late. He was like real chill. But the one night I was doing a sleep consultation. And he comes in my office here and I’m like, Oh, no.bug. And then like the walk and he’s like, Hi Mommy and like, or zoom or I’m like, mute. I have, you know, yeah. Come get him. I don’t know what to do. And I finished the console. And it was fine. And you know, he’s like, what do we do with this? I’m like, I don’t know. And then in your mind as like a safe sleep person. Like, what if he jumps out? What if the crib falls on him? What if all this stuff and nothing’s tied down? You know, I wasn’t expecting. And so we like immediately pulled the everything out of a bedroom at night. I was like a psychopath. And I’m like, you’re gonna sleep on the mattress on the floor. That in theory, now having two kids and kind of my daughter’s four and a half and we basically pulled her out of the crib. We’re like, Okay, this is getting excessive now, you know, but about way earlier than that. I mean, they’re just so like, they’re so chill. And I think you know, my husband, I talked about it. Now we’re like, why did we make such a big deal of it that first time? He probably did it by accident. And we were just like, Oh my gosh, you’re out. You’re done. I probably could have been like nobody we stay in their bed and he would have been fine. And we like jumped the gun and we always laugh now we’re like should put them in that thing backwards zipper. Didyou know that?
I know. That is one thing where I had a couple friends who had their like three and sometimes even up to almost four year olds. And then you get to the point where it’s like, wait, they’re potty trained. They can’t be blind to the crib because they’re not there at night. But until you get to that point, you can pretty much keep them in the crib. And if you have them back on, they cannot get out because they can’t lift their little legs over the edge. But my first daughter we actually didn’t we didn’t we just used like a week. What do we use for her like a kind of a swaddle wrap when she was little and then that was it. We didn’t really do any kind of blankets or anything like that. And she was probably a year 12 months. And we have this these videos, they’re very impressive actually, we’re like, oh, a future Cirque de Soleil where she’s like hanging on the edge. And her toes are like ballerina toes, like, you know, pushing her body up. And then she like, scales down gracefully. We’re like, that was really like, we were more impressed, even be mad. But yeah, keeping in as long as possible, because it’s less about and I mean, that sounds kind of a weird, like, lock them in. But then they’re not waking up in the morning, right? They get up in the morning, and if they’re waking up at that five 6am, or it is like not time to get out of bed, you know, you have your blackout shades, it’s still dark in there. If they are out of the crib, they can just walk out where if they’re in the crib, so they’re like, Okay, I’m going to go back to bed. So it’s really preserving the morning time, I think is for us was was really the big one to keep them in.
Yeah, no, absolutely. We just had a client reach out and say, Hey, should you know I’ve a 15 month old? You know, they’re not really doing so well. In the crib. I think they’re scared of the crib, should we move into a bed, I’m like, okay, they’re not scared of the crib, they just like whatever it is that you’re doing that is the result of their crying. So we work through that, and then keep them in there as long as possible. Because, you know, my question always to parents is Do you want a child at 2am? Walking downstairs, walking in the bathroom, walking around your house, if you’re sleeping, and you don’t know that they got out of their room, you know, and they make door alarms, but you know, they’re about 70 bucks and along with everything else, right? Like, do you want an alarm blaring at three in the morning, to wake the rest of the house up, just let you know, your two year old snuck out of the room. So you know, it’s it’s interesting and to talk a little bit about the older children, weighted blankets. So I work with a lot of kids in, you know, kind of that kindergarten first second grade, definitely a lot more this past year with what’s going on in this crazy world. And the weighted blankets from a sensory seeking standpoint are super helpful. I work with a lot of kids on the spectrum. And a lot of them use that as a way to, you know, seek that input. And, you know, so I’m curious from a weighted blanket standpoint, I know it’s a relatively new product that you’ve launched. Tell us a little bit about that. And you know, that the use and kind of ideal target age for it, and maybe explain to some parents to the weight, how the weight works based on when you’re ordering that would be awesome.
Yeah, absolutely. So I think the the whole thing with the weighted blankets is really interesting, because this is a concept that has been used for 30 4050 years, maybe in the medical community, right for mostly autism, I mean that that is really like, if you have autism awaited, like you will have a way to blanket It is amazing, it is totally helpful. So we’ve seen a shift in 2017 2018, where it is become very mainstream for adults. And some of the first companies were actually claiming to cure insomnia, restless leg syndrome, ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and we know that doesn’t cure it, but we’re we’re looking at it is, it’s a non pharmacological solution or alternative. So are you on heavy sleep medications, you need sleep medication every night, we’ll use a way to blanket it can help, it’s not always going to eliminate it or cure it. But it can be a helpful tool. So as we know, most kids aren’t on any type of medication for sleep. But it’s the it’s the exact same concept as for adults, and I think a lot of adults like it resonates for them, they understand what it is. And it’s the same thing for kids. And when I look at the population, it seems more and more and and I’m trying to figure out, is it because we have a better method of diagnosing? Or is there truly just a higher incidence rate now of kids on the spectrum. And that can be I think, when we talk about autism, people think you know that, that highest level, but there’s Asperger’s and there’s even like where you are on the spectrum, but you’re not, you don’t quite have a full diagnosis. And the other spectrum that we look at is that ADHD. So again, you can have the attention deficit hyper disorder, you can have attention deficit disorder, or you can be somewhere on that scale where you don’t need to be medicated, but you have, you know, a little a little bit of that. So the weighted blanket for kind of those two spectrums is incredible. And you’ll see on kids, especially with the homeschooling the lap blankets, like that those have been huge for kids at home because they’re sitting on zoom calls, they’re not getting that other stimulation from the classroom or friends. And so they need something that’s grounding them. So I think weighted blankets for kids people just don’t really understand or they wouldn’t know why. Same thing with babies where it’s like we’re almost creating like a new category. But again, if you think about it, the adult how it helps adults is like the exact same thing for kids. So our blanket we actually I have it right here with me because I have it on me all day long.I am I just ordered one so I’m very excited.
I totally Thank you. Oh, you’re so sweet. Um, but so yes, these are these are their four pounds and we designed them specifically for that. This kid three years old. So it Standard is 10% plus one body one pound of bodyweight. So basically for 30 pounds and up, which is about three years old, where we felt like that correlated with really being out of the crib, I actually sit on a board for acetone, which creates the standards for like CPSC. And that’s the standards that we’re regulating right now. Because we’re seeing more and more, it’s getting younger and younger and younger, that people are taking weighted blankets. So we’re just trying to like get some standard, so is that 10% plus one pound. So this support four pounds total. And you can, you know, you can see how big it is. This one is a size of I would say about a toddler blanket. So it’s perfect for three year olds and up. So we have in our house, we have six of them. My three year old, six year old, seven year old, eight year old, I’ll sleep with them, and sort of my husband night, which sounds really goofy, but we like my husband is not. I shouldn’t say like he’s not a fan of the company, because he is but he’s not, I don’t know, you have different like levels of support from husbands. And he’s kind of like, Alright, whatever, like you do your thing. I’ll do my thing. And so I knew he really wanted one because he was like, Hey, is there a way that you could get me one of those or and I was like, What do you want it for? He’s like, well, I really want to sleep with it. And I was like, Oh my gosh, like, we’re hearing him say that. And like you really really want it because he had taken one of the kids was and even for parents like they my my parents have on my mom just messaged me today and was like, do you have any return ones? Like, we’ll take them and I said, we don’t get returns on these, like, nobody returns the weight of like, it’s like at all so I said, I’ll give them to everybody for Christmas. But my, my dad has one that he like, bought and paid for I’m so excited about and so he’s like, this is like, cuz he had a 15 pound weighted blanket, which is the size of a twin bed, but he was like, this is all you need. Because it covers like the majority for me, I’m five, seven, it goes from my shoulders down to about my shins. And it’s not very wide. So the weight is on you. And if you think about it, like, yeah, yeah, if you think about if you’re an adult, and you have a 15 pound weighted blanket, but it’s the size of a twin, there’s like a bunch of weight on both sides. So you’re really only getting about that, you know, five pounds anyways. So this is kind of on our body. And then if you have a three year old, they’re only getting about a third of this right because their bodies smaller, so it’s not covering them completely. So you’re getting a lot less than than the actual content. So this is like it’s so perfect for adults to I’m now thinking I need to launch these as a throw for adults because everybody loves them. So I if you can’t tell like how excited I am about this product, I have it with me all the time. But the other thing we did that was really unique, we I would consider us definitely like a higher end luxury brand. And that was intentional, because when I looked around, I saw a lot of really cheap materials being used for sleepsack. So you can get them for 20 $30. We retail for 79. But ours are like they’re handmade, we have the highest quality, we’re like waco tech standard 100 approved. And so same thing with the sleepsack. But what we did to really elevate them as we put this satin perimeter around it, so it’s around the entire edge of it. And it’s more like if you’ve seen a baby receiving blanket that’s just like incredibly soft, incredibly warm, you know, baby can put it or kids put on their face. And then it’s dual sided. So the back of ours I know probably people listening can’t see it, but the back of it is this gray, it’s like a micro fleece, it’s super warm. The second you put that on your you’re gonna get hot. And then the white part on the front is actually it’s a moisture wicking, like a cooling fabric, it’s a gentle, so in the summer, it’s perfect, because it’s cool, but you still have that bit of comfort and like from the weight. So we love these. I’m like super proud of this product. And I literally everybody buys them like this is the greatest thing ever. So I would highly recommend these. If your kid is anywhere on the spectrum, or even if they’re not like it’s just a really, really great tool to help you know, calm down, fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer.
It’s interesting because my husband actually every night, somewhere around 230 struggles with his mind starts going and he’s a controller for companies he’s always thinking numbers and finances but I got to do and this and that. And you know and I’m like dude, just say no thank you and roll over and go back to bed. And he he can’t turn his mind off. I’m like a narcoleptic I go to bed at nine I wake up at five nothing’s going to touch me move me bother me like, you know, and I’m like, how’d you sleep last night? He’s like, awful. I was thinking about blah, blah, blah, the window leaking at the beach. You’re set? You don’t I mean, like he just gets fixated on something and he can’t. Yeah, he just can’t go back to sleep. And I’m like, dude, okay, let’s do let’s check your magnesium levels. Your you know, no more caffeine after noon, you know, and he’s got like a huge caffeine guy or anything. So that’s why, like, I’m gonna order one of the blankets and see if it helps because he needs like, maybe you need the pressure, like just something different, you know? Because he’s such a regimented routine guy. We almost all like clean you know. So there’s nothing crazy in our world where you’re like, really, you shouldn’t be having a Twinkie when you go to bed like, I mean, like we’re at nine o’clock, we push each other down the stairs to go to bed. You know, we have like everything else as far as like, I’m a sleep professional, like, this is what I do. You know, we’ve got all that other stuff in line. And he still hits that one spot in his cycle where he’s transitioning from deep to light sleep, and then he’s up. So I’m like, maybe it’s something like that will help him to just pass through the cycle, you know, so I’ll let you know how it works out.
Absolutely have him he’s the test guinea pig, you put it on your he can be your adult testimonial. But yeah, that’s great. Well, I love it. I mean, I know that there’s certainly so many great, great products that you have that for all parents to use on themselves or for children of all ages. You know, tell everybody a little bit about kind of where they can find you, where they can follow you where they can buy the products. And then obviously, I’ll link all of this in the show notes as well. So we can make sure absolutely.
So we were most active on Instagram and it’s dreamland baby Ko. And if people have like any questions, our customer service is tapped into that so you can get real time responses. And then our website is dreamland, baby Ko, calm. And we also have live support there too. So I think our hours are like eight to four I want to say Pacific. And we have, we love the questions we get we have we have people that are like, like, stuff that Sq right? Like, oh, my baby’s about to transition out of the crib. What do you think? And we’re like, well, we’re not like sleep experts. But we actually do have two people on staff that we call sleep experts are not certified sleep consultants, but they have done on training. And you know, they haven’t logged the hours to get any type of certification. But they’ve gone through sleep training programs to be able to help answer those questions. We always kind of say once it gets a little more complex, we’re like, you should probably reach out to a sleep consultant. Like that’s not our wheelhouse. But yeah, I mean, we’d love chatting with with anybody. So you know, message us, email us come say hi, we love it.
Awesome. My appreciate it. Thank you so much for today. And I hope all the listeners enjoyed this and until next time, go enjoy some time with your family and leave the rest to us. Hold on one more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the kids sleep show, I want to help you build a great sleeper not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber Made Simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support, laughs and the latest in sleep research, to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community. That’s tiny transitions.com forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search slumber Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.