LilyBugs: Bottle and Sippy Cup Assistive Device

Here is another experiment. Rather than praising or panning the following product, I’ll hear from you first. What do you think of this…?

Photos of three LilyBug baby bottle wraps. One is a dog with brown and blue ears, one is a purple and blue pig and the third is a purple donkey.


LilyBugs
are decorated fabric wraps for baby bottles and sippy cups. Each one features a friendly embroidered face on its base, and two large handle-like ear flaps.

The Big Idea is that a toddler who cannot yet hold a normal bottle can grab the LilyBug ears and hoist the bottle to his mouth.

Twenty-two versions and counting, newer LilyBugs feature noisy crinkle material in the ears, designs on the back of the wrap such as fabric tails or squishy squeaker bulbs, and holes in the ear flaps for easier grasping. They retail for $10 to $12, “fit most” bottles and are machine washable.

This linked video from the ABC Kids Expo succinctly explains the product.

Also on the company’s website is a press section that includes photos from a gift suite at the Emmy Awards where inventors give impoverished Hollywood stars bag loads of free baby gifts with the hope that the stars will say something nice or pose with their product. A photo of Seth Green, best known for his role in the Austin Powers films, sucking on a LilyBug “MonsterBug” is not to be missed. He alone walks away with his dignity.

Dammit! I couldn’t get though this without taking a dig at celebrities. OK, but we can’t knock baby companies who perform industry standard product marketing. It’s a super inexpensive way to garner some endorsements that those other parents simply eat up.

So, you’re still impartial, right? LilyBugs… whatcha think?

Update: Here’s my promised take:

I am disappointed with LilyBugs on a broad level that pertains to virtually every company that makes cups, plates and utensils for kids. Meal time is not play time, nor is it a time for textbook learning. We don’t need kid-friendly colors or cartoon characters covering everything. We don’t need a hollow attempt at education by plastering the alphabet or the numbers 1 through 10 on plates and cups. (And oh my, why is it always uppercase letters? Schools teach lowercase first!) Kids don’t need to be subjected to visual overload at every turn.

Now, specifically in regard to LilyBugs, I want my kid learning to grab a cup from the start, instead of learning twice – first with ears, and later without ears. On the plus side, I love that the animals chosen for LilyBugs are not licensed characters.

I’d like to see LilyBugs radically redesigned:

  1. Lose the ears and other exterior protrusions.
  2. Add a bottom to the bottle wrap.
  3. Make the wrap out of thin insulating material.
  4. Let me toss ice cubes in my daughter’s Kleen Kanteen (or sippy cup or whatever) and pull on a LilyBug insulating wrap that keeps my daughter’s hands from getting cold.

I bought an anonymously mass-produced neoprene bottle wrap at Target in a $1 bin that has been fantastic for our Kleen Kanteen, but it’s no longer sold. (The Kanteen has no insulation. Ice water makes the bottle icy to the touch.) Make some hip insulating bottle wraps and I’ll be interested.

Update October 12, 2007:

The inventor/owner of LilyBugs, Crystal Kane, took exception to my from-afar assessment of her product. My opinion remains unchanged, but in the interest of fairness, here is a sort of rebuttal from her regarding my commentary and some comments that users have posted below.

LilyBugs offer many types of designs and some are specifically designed to help babies (introduced around 5 1/2 – 7 months of age) learn to lift and hold their own bottle. LilyBugs offers babies a soft, comforting “handle” for them to  reach toward. It gives young babies a goal to attain by reaching for the soft ears, or wings and then allowing them to easily lift the bottle and in turn  drink or feed from it. LilyBugs are great for glass bottles, which can be hard,  condensate and heavy for a child to hold. The LilyBugs helps distribute the  weight better by offering “handles” on either sides of the bottle for the baby  to grasp.

Some LilyBugs are designed for toddlers, who are already holding their own cups (like the puppy which has floppier ears and squeekers) but they also make a great transitioning tool when children are moving from bottles to sippy cups, or from nursing to bottles or cups. The fun, animated faces are interactive and stimulating for growing minds and make a great  encouragement tool for children to try a bottle or sippy cup, and gives a nice  alternative to the hard, plastic bottle or sippy cup. LilyBugs are especially  helpful for children with special needs or disabilities, such as children who are blind, have Down Syndrome or Autism. The LilyBugs give a soft, comforting  alternative for a child to grasp and rub the ears while eating or  drinking.

Since LilyBugs fit almost every bottle and sippy cup on the market (we have tried every type in the U.S.) they are wonderful for toddlers, too! I have seen  kids at T-Ball practice who use them on their water bottles or sports drinks to  separate between drinks, and keep children from getting sick or spreading germs.

Overall, LilyBugs are designed to encourage children to hold their own bottles and sippy cups. We do not in any way, discourage moms and dad’s  from feeding their babies, but rather know that their are times, like driving in the car or riding in the stroller, where it is a wonderful accessory  to have when you can’t stop to feed you child. They are also fantastic for  day-care centers and parents with multiple children, because they help separate  between the kids. Children really associate and respond to the faces, colors and  textures, rather than hard plastic and when offered a choice, chooses a  LilyBug. Each design is hand done by myself and my creative director who work on them, to make sure they are vibrant, silly, interactive, playful and fun, to encourage and stimulate children to want to hold their own bottles and cups and enjoy drinking and eating while rubbing the soft ears or wings.

We have pictures of celebrities on our site, because I have done many celebrity endorsed charities for children, because a lot of the  celebrities are clients. LilyBugs is always interested in doing charity  work, because they are such a wonderful and unique gift for a child who is in  the hospital, under priveledged or just in need of a smile! I hope this  better demonstrates while LilyBugs are special and why I started this company  for my daughter, Lily to help teach her to hold her own bottle! Thank  you.

Comments

13 Responses to “LilyBugs: Bottle and Sippy Cup Assistive Device”

  1. Nicole says:

    These are crap. My baby is nine months old and can hold his bottle so well he often only uses one hand.

    October 1st, 2007 at 5:50 am

  2. Kaely says:

    These remind me of another creepy baby product that I saw a few years ago. It was basically a hollowed out stuffed animal that you shoved a bottle in the top of. A combination lovey/bottle prop, the ultimate in pushing your infant’s needs for human contact onto an inanimate object.

    October 1st, 2007 at 6:06 am

  3. brandy says:

    I think most kids can hold cups and bottles by nine months or so (mine could), and I am not a fan of sticking a baby somewhere to hold its own bottle. But I suppose that for an older child with special needs this could be helpful.

    October 1st, 2007 at 6:35 am

  4. nathan says:

    I think these are just another way to condition your kid that everything needs to have a cutesie character on it, the conditioning Disney and the rest rely on for force us to buy Dora toothpaste and Mickey Mouse wagons.

    I try to buy only products without characters on them so my daughter will realize that these things are for using, and characters are for playing with.

    October 1st, 2007 at 8:25 am

  5. AJ says:

    Four negatories. Anyone impressed, excited, or wish LilyBugs existed when their kid was younger?

    October 1st, 2007 at 10:32 am

  6. Bev says:

    LilyBugs is a big no-no. Of course, I never gave bottles and I don’t think they would fit on my kids’ milk receptacle.

    October 1st, 2007 at 2:32 pm

  7. wwbd says:

    I thought they were total crap, until I saw the picture of Seth Green. I love me some Oz! ;)

    October 1st, 2007 at 3:38 pm

  8. phyllis says:

    they do look a little creepy to me. seems like more of the unnecessary crap…er…stuff…that they market to first-time parents…

    October 1st, 2007 at 6:29 pm

  9. adrienne says:

    I hate celebrity marketing, and I’m always surprised that it seems to work- especially with baby & kids gear. It seems to suggest that unlimited funds make for better parental judgment.

    BUT- I might see a use for this creepy little product. For an infant (like my niece) who has nerve damage in her arm and hand from a difficult delivery this might be an essential tool in learning to grasp. It might also give her a sense of achievement in an area that promises to be difficult in her infancy.

    Otherwise it reminds me of Harry Harlow’s psychological experiments with monkeys fed by bottles held by puppets in wire frames:
    http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~adoption/studies/HarlowMLE.htm

    Poor little monkeys.

    October 1st, 2007 at 7:42 pm

  10. Tenebrae says:

    This product seems counter-intuative to me. Wouldn’t a floppy cloth ear be HARDER for a child to manipulate than a solid surface? There are bottles and sippy cups available with solid handles, right? Why would I want something fabric that I’ll need to wash often, and can’t just wipe off like a firm surface?

    I just don’t see the appeal here.

    Now, if they advertise the insulating properties, how it keeps the bottle warm longer, that’s at least would be potentially useful.

    October 1st, 2007 at 7:45 pm

  11. Crystal says:

    I am the founder of LilyBugs. We have had wonderful reviews from people and the industry that have tried and use LilyBugs on a regular basis.

    There is more to these covers than what you have commented on here. Our products offer visual and tactile stimulation, they are a great tool for children transitioning from either breast or bottle to a sippy cup. LilyBugs give toddlers a feeling of independence as well as a comforting friend to carry with them.

    Yes, we did attend a celebrity function because many of these celebrities are customers. We have also donated our products to charitable events.

    Thank you and if you have any questions or comments, please contact me directly and I will be happy to answer them.

    For more information, please visit http://www.lilybugs.com

    Sincerely,
    Crystal Kane

    October 3rd, 2007 at 4:36 pm

  12. Catherine Lacy says:

    I love Lilybugs, I help take care of triplets and these have become essential in the feeding routine. Each baby has it’s own Lilybug character and they recognize it to be their own, they reach out so they can touch the soft fabric and bright colors. For me it helps keep track of how much each baby has had to drink. Great fun practical product. Best regards, Catherine

    October 4th, 2007 at 7:34 am

  13. LISA says:

    Silly and cute but unnecessary. The ears look like a good place to grab and help to whip the sippy cup or bottle across the room. I would probably be annoyed for the one extra thing I have to wash and remember to put on the sippy cup. Would be a cute thing to have if we got it for free.

    October 5th, 2007 at 6:58 pm