Colchester mother’s idea to help babies sleep

Julie Francis developed the Find Me comforter after her eldest son, who was a poor sleeper as a baby

Julie Francis developed the Find Me comforter after her eldest son, who was a poor sleeper as a baby, was born. Photo: Sally Anderson-Wai - Credit: Archant

When her first baby was born, Julie Francis suffered from post natal depression, something that was made worse by the sleep deprivation that often accompanies new parenthood.

“My GP prescribed me antidepressants, which I didn’t want to take, but I thought I had to in order to get better as this little person needed me to get well and care for him,” she says.

But four years on, Julie, from Colchester, has turned that early adversity around, using her experiences to develop a device that she hopes will help other parents get some much-needed sleep.

Julie has designed a “Find Me” comforter to console babies, and is donating a percentage of sales to Action For Children, a UK charity committed to helping vulnerable and neglected children, young people and their families.

Julie, who now has two children, William, four and Lottie, two, says her ill health after her eldest was born was exacerbated by the number of times he woke, crying, in the night. She tried everything she could think of console him, including white noise, black-out curtains, dream feeds, no bright lights or eye contact. Nothing seemed to work until she had a bright idea.

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Her Find Me comforter comprises a baby blanket with a soft toy attached in one corner and a ribbon with a popper button where the child’s dummy can be kept.

“When babies are little, you don’t necessarily know what they need,” said Julie. “When William awoke crying, his dummy would pop out and then I’d have a mad panic looking for it. You don’t want to switch the light on because you don’t want to stimulate them too much. We’d usually find his dummy by his head or on his tummy, or he had rolled over onto it.

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“William quickly learnt to find his dummy at the end of his “Find Me” comforter. He also became very attached to it, cuddling it through the day and hanging on to it at nap time.”

By the time her second child came along, Julie was well prepared and her daughter quickly got used to finding her dummy at the end of her comforter.

For more details visit The Find Me comforter has been safety tested and carries the CE safety mark.

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