We all know that skin-to-skin contact (SSC) is of vital importance to newborns. Studies have shown that newborns who receive SSC shortly after delivery have more stable heart rates, regular forehead temperatures, have been known to cry less often and even begin feeding behavior earlier that those who unfortunately do not receive SSC. Babies past the newborn stage can benefit greatly from SSC as well.
It's not as if cuddling with your adorable baby is a hard or undesirable chore. Hardly! What could be more precious than bonding with your sweet little one by sharing a snuggle? But parents today, probably more than ever, are on the move and being on the move makes quality SSC time difficult. So we tracked down one of the great minds behind the Joeyband, a product that is determined to make SSC possible, busy lives and all, for an exclusive interview.
BabyGaga (BG): Sarah, you are a business builder who teamed up with sisters Hayley and Ashley who created a product that would eliminate infant falls while making it easy for parents to establish and maintain a skin-to-skin bond with their babies. Can you tell us more about how the idea for the Joeyband came to be and how you got involved?
Sarah Cox (SC): The concept for Joeyband came to life when our colleague Hayley, had dropped her newborn while practicing skin-to-skin care (SSC) at home. After speaking with physicians, Hayley discovered that SSC was something the market desperately needed support with. Hayley then approached Ashley with the patents and designs and the rest is history. A few years later, I met the sisters through a network called, SheEO. I knew I was hooked on the product and I could support with my particular skillset. I was a VP in another health-tech organization, so I initially started out advising their company and eventually ended up joining the team full-time. We're now the exclusive skin-to-skin product for Le Leche League International, partnered with global players in the market, in over 150 hospitals in the US, and we're expanding our reach every week.
BG: What was it about this product that drew you to it?
SC: Time for some real talk... the Joeyband product is brilliant. It's a beautiful example of when simplicity meets innovation and every detail is very intentional and significant (color, size, shape, dimensions, materials) however, it wasn't just the product that drew me in. There's something 'bigger than ourselves' here. We're all women and we are working hard to change a standard of care in maternal health (an infamously neglected sector of healthcare) while "saving babies", as we like to say.
BG: We know that the Joeyband can be used for infants. Can it be used for older children as well? If so, up to what age?
SC: The Joeyband can be used for up to two years. Once baby outgrows skin-to-skin (around 3 months), it (Joeyband) has a multitude of different uses. It can be used for forward facing on lap, so parents can enjoy dinner together, it can be added support in a chair (makeshift highchair), ergonomic breastfeeding support tool (bringing baby up to the breast), airplane travel to support baby in 'burping position' and much more. Our Instagram has some great shots (parents are very creative).
BG: What is the material made up of in order to ensure a safe and secure fit?
SC: Nylon spandex (yoga pant) and industry level velcro, that takes up to 22 pounds force to pop open. The product is 4-way stretch and provides a 'deep pressure touch', which resembles the womb. Once baby is in proper 'sniffing position' that baby's not going anywhere! Baby still has the freedom to give feeding cues, but won't slip within the product. The velcro is the most important component. It's what enables the product to grow with Mom/Baby, and why the Joeyband is able to be used directly on the O.R. table.
BG: We understand that a huge benefit of the Joeyband that sets it apart from other slings/wraps on the market is the way in which the Joeyband allows for a simple transfer from the product to the baby’s crib or bassinet. How did you decide to make this a feature in the design and how does it work?
SC: To clarify a bit further, the Joeyband is completely different than a wrap/sling/babywearing t-shirt. These products are designed to bear weight and have stiffness built into them in order to do so. The Joeyband however, is for seated or reclined use only and enables you to bond with baby, while being hands-free. Fun fact; babies won't cry when their skin-to-skin. If you're trying to work/read/watch TV, and baby wants to be held - this product is for you. Once baby is in it, you simply fold down the band (no removal of product necessary) and gently lay baby down in crib/bassinet.
BG: Another feature that moms might find as a huge plus with the Joeyband is the ease (and speediness) of putting it on. It doesn’t have complicated ties or takes a diagram to understand how it works. Why is this so important with this type of product?
SC: You're absolutely correct - it's so simple. One of my favorite sayings of Hayley's is, "I tried every product on the market and just wanted something to simply belt my sleeping baby to me". Ease of use is vital. This is a product that's used for immediate SSC, on OR tables (while Mom is being repaired) and Postpartum, where Mom is often medicated, in pain, delivering after-birth, and feeling all the emotions. It was critical that the design was as smooth and natural as putting on a bra. To use, you simply wrap the band around your torso, seal/press the velcro, twist it to the back, and pop baby in there - there's no knots, clips or buckles to dig into sensitive/tender skin.
BG: It seems like there are a lot of reasons to love the Joeyband but why it is the must-have product above all other wraps, slings and baby carriers?
SC: It serves a completely different purpose - it's like comparing apples to zebras. The first thing, pending no issues, that nurses do after a baby is born is put the baby skin-to-skin. Skin-to-skin is invisible magic and the studies are there to prove it (this is why clinicians do it). The Joeyband is proven by academic hospitals in the US to help increase exclusive breastfeeding rates, prevent infant falls, increase patient satisfaction and prolong skin-to-skin time... all while not having the pressure on neck/back/shoulders from having to hold a baby, but by being comfortable and hands-free.
BG: Are there any other products that have available besides the Joeyband or plan to offer soon?
SC: We have a detailed product roadmap, and will be making some formal announcements within the next couple of months however, everything comes back to Joeyband. That is our core business and we won't deviate from this, especially until the standard of care is changed globally.
BG: Where/how can we purchase the Joeyband?
SC: Orders can be placed on our website. You can also purchase directly from our Instagram or Facebook. We love receiving photos from families, as you'll see, and thoroughly enjoy hearing their personal experiences.
Sarah, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us!
Readers, if you're interested in learning more about the Joeyband, hop on over to the company's social media sites and poke around or just say hello to Sarah and the sisters who invented this amazing SSC product! They'd love to hear from you!