Baby Sleeves, Pillows and Padding for Parents

Cuddle Sleeve is a padded pillow-like wrapper for your arm where "a soft, cozy nest is formed for baby to rest, feed and sleep." That’s it. Sure, it has a pocket and loop for a pacifier and burp cloth, but basically that’s the whole product.

Marketing photo of a mother holding a baby with a pink padded sleeve around her arm. I have three opinions to share:

  1. It might be true that babies are more comfortable lying on padding, and the sleeve may indeed help "calm and soothe baby," but skin-to-skin contact with a parent is still best.
  2. The web site touts the sleeve as "another barrier against germs." So, just like germ-ridden shopping cart handles, we should protect our children from our own skin? Seriously, try bathing every day. If you don’t have indoor plumbing, you can’t afford this product.
  3. The baby sleeve reminds me of a dog bite sleeve used in police canine training sessions. But you know, babies don’t develop a full set of teeth until after the first year.

Now, some of the product photos show a baby being bottle fed. The inventor’s story page explains the inspiration for inventing the sleeve, "With the baby constantly in my arms, the pressure was causing numbness and fatigue."

My daughter was breast fed, but I did my fair share of bottle feeding. Am I just a dumb dad who doesn’t understand? Do mothers really experience numbness holding an infant? How big a kid are we talking about?

Marketing photo of a mother nursing a baby while using the SnuggleMuff Arm Cradle
Update: I renamed the title on this post to encompass future products of similar design. Case in point…

The SnuggleMuff Arm Cradle (seen at left) is also a sleeve product which comforts and separates baby from caregiver [sold at BabyAge]. You’ll have to compare the products yourself.

I still just see a barrier between baby and caregiver. I’ll take skin-to-skin over a product I would be washing between uses every day.

As is evident by some fierce user commentary below this post, what I say doesn’t matter. When you see the things I talk about, either you think "cool!" or "why the hell does this thing exist?" — independent of my stated perspective. And by the way, many thanks to the user who compared me to the New York Times, the de facto newspaper of record for these United States. I couldn’t ask for a better compliment, back-handed though it may be.

Comments

12 Responses to “Baby Sleeves, Pillows and Padding for Parents”

  1. Chris says:

    I share some of your “how weak is that?” sentiment but let’s keep in mind that everyone’s body is different. To you and me it seems like a lame attempt to suck a bit more money out of a new parent, but to some poor mom out there with weak circulation, gimpy arms, or what-have-you, this product might be a God-send.

    July 13th, 2006 at 12:33 pm

  2. sandy says:

    Yes, you sound like a dumb dad, or at least one who obviously spends alot less time with his infant than mommy does! Whenever you want to hold your infant naked and close to your bare breast go right ahead! Is that enough skin contact for you? But, if you’ve ever felt perspiration on your babies head from laying on your arm for a while, or if you were wearing a fabric that wasn’t as comfortable for the baby as it was for you, or your mother in law was wearing a strong perfume that your baby couldn’t tell you he didn’t like, or worse, your shirt had dog hairs on it, you might understand that bonding with your baby doesn’t necessarily mean bare skin to skin. I’ve had to leave my baby at a daycare and loved knowing that she had her own comfortable snuggle sleeve to lay on instead of the bare arm of caregiver that just handled 6 other babies! But ofcourse, you couldn’t possibly understand any of this. You’d have to have a Maternal instinct.

    July 19th, 2006 at 3:15 pm

  3. Steven Jablon says:

    I commend you for breast feeding your baby and, therefore, understanding the needs of a nursing mother. That is of course, unless you didn’t breast feed your baby and wouldn’t really have a clue.

    Pennicillin is an antibotic that is used to treat bacterial infections. That’s it. No big deal.

    Your first point (1.) acknowledges a couple of the Cuddlesleeve benefits “..babies are more comfortable lying on the padding” and “…sleeve may help calm and sooth the baby”. Now who would want either of those things. My guess is that you preferred having an uncomfortable, hyper baby. Especially in the middle of the night. Generally, most lucky baby’s receive plenty of actual skin to skin contact during the twenty (20) hours in between feedings.

    Point (2) implies that after your shower nothing will get on your skin until your next shower. That is probably true on the planet you live on, however, here on earth, especially in the summer, people are exposed to all kinds of things in between their showers. For most people who actually read,(and even watch television) it is no secret that the single greatest barrier to disease is frequent hand washing. Have you ever been in a room, bus, car, etc. when someone sneezes. Where do those germs wind up? On your arms, body and clothes perhaps?
    I think it would be great to pick up a baby after being out in public, or in a crowded room.

    Point three (3) is actually almost correct. The sleeve does look like a dog training product. They are similar in that they protect the wearer from injury by providing a padded protected environment.

    I am sure you are doing your best to inform people about different products, from your prospective. Unfortunately, you are no Consumers Report. You use the same factual basis for your reporting as the New York Times.

    Oh by the way. I have used the Cuddlesleeve product for about two years while helping care for my granddaughter. It has been the most multifaceted, sanity saving product imaginable. From sitting on an airplane for hours with a five month old baby to being stuck in airports during flight delays to simply saying goodnight to our precious angle. I wouldn’t have been without it.

    July 19th, 2006 at 4:44 pm

  4. eipwek says:

    Dear Writer,

    Unlike the others who left comments, I pretty much second your sentiment about these items. I mean, I do believe they could be useful in certain situations, so they’re not totally asinine…..but really, WHAT A RIP OFF!!!!

    Anyone with a brain and the most basic of sewing machines could construct one of these, spending MAYBE $10-$15 on materials, depending on where you shop for fabric and supplies. Better yet, cut up a couple of the ba-jillion soft fleecy baby blankets you received at your baby shower and sew them into a sleeve.

    Too preempt a rebuttle: I am aware that some people don’t know how to sew and may not own a sewing machine. Some people don’t even know how to thread a needle, and that’s okay. However, I think most people at least KNOW someone that sews and would probably be willing to whip one of these tubes of fluff up for you.

    I think one of these armsleeve dealies could be legitimately useful, (although I can imagine that in most cases the handful of times it gets used is not enough to justify the $30-$50 spent) but I’d look into constructing one myself before shelling out that kind of dough.

    July 20th, 2006 at 2:19 pm

  5. Kevin says:

    I know that my arm can get tired while holding my son. A padding like this would work great. I mean, I could hold my son all day long and even when I was outside. Its only 114F here in Arizona. I would’nt think my arm would get sweaty in that monster of a padding. What an ingenious idea.

    July 24th, 2006 at 9:42 am

  6. Mike says:

    AJ,

    After reading your comments I asked…

    What kind of a person would write such a hurtful things to degrade young mothers with ideas and innovation?

    Only a despicable human being would spend their day publically trashing someone’s passion.

    You call yourself a writer/photographer that “works from home”? I call that unemployed…GET A JOB.

    You talk of your wife’s “postpartum depression”?

    What do you expect; she has a jack ass for husband who sits on his ass all day while she is out helping sick people.

    You are an embarrassment to your family and a waist to society.

    Go out and get a job, do something good for the world so your beautiful baby girl doesn’t have to be humiliated of her dad.

    September 6th, 2006 at 12:20 am

  7. AJ says:

    Thanks Mike for your insightful commentary. My traffic log shows someone using Google to do a narrow search for “cuddle sleeve” at my domain yesterday at 9:51 p.m. and 11:52 p.m.

    I can see you care about baby products a lot. Don’t fret. I could lampoon a product to hell and back and it wouldn’t matter. Either parents want one of these things or they don’t. I didn’t critique quality or design. How could I? I don’t own either of the products described on this page. I critiqued the product idea. If I write an article saying cell phones are stupid does that mean you will throw away your cell phone or not buy one in the future?

    I have previously written about not wanting to show my daughter TV for several years and been critical of educational videos. And yet, somehow, parents who love Baby Einstein videos still read Thingamababy. Live and let live.

    If you’re incapable of doing so, try starting your own blog. Go to blogger.com, and for free, establish ThingamababyIsPoopy.blogspot.com and fling your insults there. Or, try reading “Words are Not for Hurting” by Elizabeth Verdick.

    September 6th, 2006 at 3:41 am

  8. Mike says:

    Try Starting my own Blog? That’s Ok. I’m going to post my commentary right here. You critique ideas? Whose idea was it to start a baby product critiquing web-site? That’s probably the single dumbest idea I have ever heard. I think of all the needs in the world and people out there trying to make a difference. What difference do you make?
    Your words were far beyond “critiquing someone’s ideas”. They were hurtful and abusive. Is that the way you treat your family? Keep your anger to yourself. We have enough hostility in the world to deal with; turn on the news or read the paper. Today, while the rest of us are out there brightening people’s lives and making the world a better place, you will just sit there spreading your anger and making people feel bad. What a pathetic existence. Like I said before AJ, you are a complete embarrassment to yourself and your your family.

    September 6th, 2006 at 7:35 am

  9. AJ says:

    Mike, opposing viewpoints expressed in a marketplace of ideas are what make our world great. I welcome opposing viewpoints about the merits of this, or any, product category. I do not welcome your personal insults and will ban your IP if you continue along this course of action.

    September 6th, 2006 at 7:51 am

  10. AJ says:

    You know, I’m a sporting fellow. If the inventors of either of these baby sleeves are game for an interview, I’ll publish the inventors’ responses verbatim.

    September 6th, 2006 at 10:20 am

  11. Mike says:

    AJ,

    Today, I brought 1 of the products you critiqued to my office and gave it as a gift. The expression on the face of the proud new dad made my entire day. It was such a unique gift and he was so appreciative.

    That product was someone’s labor of love.

    I agree completely about opposing viewpoints making our world great. I too, welcome opposition and well founded criticism.

    I found it interesting after reading your criticism about the product…you have never even used one!

    How could someone express such deep dislike and unabashed ridicule towards a product they have never used?

    Every inventor or entrepreneur understands that criticism comes with the territory. It’s what drives them.

    What your outfit seems to represent is a rather unprofessional image. Almost something a child them self would create.

    AJ, I wish you well in your endeavors. Hopefully, you have learned the difference between opposing viewpoints and unfounded ridicule.

    Mike

    September 6th, 2006 at 11:08 pm

  12. AJ says:

    “Unfounded ridicule.” Yep, I know what that feels like.

    Reader comments on this article are now closed. Anyone with constructive commentary on this product category can send it to me via the e-mail link at upper right. If it’s pertinent, I will share it.

    September 7th, 2006 at 12:58 am