I wear many hats – mother of five, wife, nurse, Certified Newborn Infant Care Specialist & Instructor, Infant Sleep Consultant, Parenting Consultant, Entrepreneur – but first and foremost I am a mom. A mother to five beautiful children my husband and I are blessed with. The Woombie was built around our family, for our family and by our family. This journey has brought us even closer together and knowing that we help other families with their problems and needs makes it all very rewarding.
How it all started…
A baby’s sleep schedule is arguably the most important factor for a balanced, happy family. Most parents are taught about the comfort and benefits achieved from Swaddling, which has been practiced for hundreds of years. What we don’t know from the get-go is what a pain in the butt it can be. Wrapping baby. Rewrapping baby. Wrapping baby. Rewrapping baby…on and on and on it goes, all night long.
Our little Bella came five weeks early. Due to her super startle reflex paired with mighty-mouse strength, she unraveled herself within 15 minutes…ALL NIGHT LONG. I found Bella time and time again with the swaddle blanket unwrapped and up over her face making her hot and red – very scary to say the least.
We tried every swaddle we could find; even the ones with Velcro – nothing worked. I searched every store and website for a swaddle that would stay put, but found nothing. What frustration….this effected everyone in our home and was both emotionally and physically draining.
Innovative thinking to solve a problem…
Clearly there was a need for a different solution. With my RN background, mom determination and okay sewing skills, one sleepless night, I took out my grandmother’s sewing machine and created the first Woombie. I needed something that would stay intact and snug, but at the same time, allow Bella to stretch if needed, where the fabric would then automatically re-conform to a snug cocoon-like peanut shape afterwards. I sewed and sewed until Bella was gently “contained.” No “arms pinned to the side swaddle”- a stretchy but effective peanut shape that imitated the womb. Low and behold it worked! Bella loved it and started sleeping better right away.
After a month of prototyping, the Woombie was born. After further testing and research, our product was launched nationally December of 2007, and Worldwide in late 2008.
A typical morning in the Barksi home…
Between 1:00am – 3:00am, all three little ones make way to our bedroom and sneak into whatever spot they can find on the bed.
This is how each day starts…six or so hours of being elbowed, cuddled and/or kicked in the face.
6:30am: Morgan (17) begins her day and is off to High School (College in the Fall!).
7:00am: Kaia (10) gets up and prepares for school independently.
By 8:00am, Bella (5) along with the twins Bryce (3.5) and Brody (3.5) make way downstairs demanding breakfast.
My husband and I cross over each other in the kitchen getting one child a yogurt while the other two want pancakes. Good nutrition is essential before they start their day of exploring, learning, playing and growing.
I answer emails between all of this, mostly with the Woombie manufacturer having production/design questions.
I make coffee, tea, and green juice. Then off to work with Buddha (bulldog-shitsu) and FiFi (poodle-shitsu).
Carolina, our AuPair, takes the kids over at this point, getting the three little ones to preschool by noon.
Stash is off to his office for the day.
For me it’s to the warehouse and office to monitor logistics, art, graphics, inventory, web stats, following up on calls…the day to day duties of business.
Then onto spreadsheets, invoicing, more calls and emails, trade show plans and booth designing - and whatever else pops up…
From left to right: Bryce, Morgan, Bella, Karen, Kaia, Brody and Stash