US 20070056109 A1
An infant sleeping and nursing unit is described. The unit includes a base, which includes two side walls and a rear wall and a platform extending between the side walls and the rear wall, where the base is substantially rigid, a cover, where the cover substantially overlays at least the platform of the frame, and where the overlaying cover is removably secured to the base. Also included is at least one positioning support that is removably securable to the platform.
1. An infant sleeping and nursing unit, comprising:
a base, said base comprising two side walls and a rear wall and a platform extending between the side walls and the rear wall, said base being substantially rigid;
a cover, wherein said cover substantially overlays at least said platform of said frame, and wherein said overlaying cover is removably secured to said base;
at least one positioning support, wherein said at least one positioning support is removably securable to said platform.
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12. An infant sleeping and nursing unit, comprising:
a base having two side walls, a rear wall, and a platform extending between said side walls;
a cover, wherein said cover substantially overlays at least said platform of said base, and wherein said overlaying cover is removably secured to said base;
at least one positioning support, wherein said at least one positioning support is removably securable to said covered platform; and
wherein said base limits substantial deformations of said platform when said platform is lifted.
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14. The sleeping and nursing unit of
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The present invention relates to infant carriers, and, more particularly, to a portable baby bed designed for feeding and moving sleeping infants.
No matter what equipment a parent or caregiver has at their disposal, caring for and meeting the needs of an infant child will always be a challenge. For example, a nursing mother must create a suitable environment conducive to breastfeeding. Such an environment involves comfortable positioning of the baby, as well as comfortable positioning for the mother. Also, because breastfed babies typically feed around naptimes or even in the middle of the night, and because infants often fall asleep near or at the end of their feeding time, the process of breastfeeding must accommodate the needs and safety requirements of a sleeping infant.
In an effort to minimize the possibility of sudden infant death syndrome and other infant death (“SIDS/OID”), many doctors recommend that infants sleep in particular positions, to increase the flow of oxygen into the infant as well as reduce the number of episodes of apnea. Numerous products have been designed to help position a sleeping baby. For example, such products often involve foam props and/or materials that may be molded to the shape of an infant to hold or support the infant in specific positions, such as lying on their back or on their side.
Another infant care issue relates to the movement of a sleeping infant. A parent or caregiver will at times be required to go to great lengths to get their infant to sleep. In these situations, the infant invariably will fall asleep in an undesirable location and will need to be moved without disturbing the sleeping child. For example, a nursing mother may need or choose to breastfeed their infant in the mother's bed in the middle of the night. In such a case, the mother may wish to move the infant back to a crib or bedside bassinette without waking the infant up. In another example, the baby may fall asleep in a living room and may need to be moved to a nursery. Such transporting of the baby must be done with minimal disturbance to the infant's sleeping position, lest the infant awaken, and require the parent to start the process over again.
While there are many products available to address some of these infant care issues, no single product answers all of these needs. For example, a nursing pillow, while providing a comfortable position for the baby and mother during breastfeeding, does not provide a safe sleeping environment, should the infant fall asleep after feeding. The mother must then move the infant to a safer sleeping environment, which requires disturbing the sleeping infant by lifting the infant from the pillow and moving the infant to the new location. Thus, the nursing pillow does not provide enough rigidity and other safety supports to allow the pillow to be picked up without the position of the infant being disturbed. In another example, an “infant nest” which may be similar to a bassinet, but with an assortment of added foam supports and positioners, can provide a safe sleeping environment. However, while such infant nests may decrease the occurrence of SIDS/OID, they do not provide suitable access to a nursing mother who wishes to breastfeed the infant in the infant nest.
Thus, a need exists for a device that provides for both the ease and comfort of breastfeeding, or even bottle feeding, as well as, an infant sleeping environment that not only provides for safe positioning of the infant, but also allows for transport of the device without disturbing the position of a sleeping baby in the device.
The present invention describes an infant sleeping and nursing unit. The unit includes a base having two side walls, a rear wall, and a platform extending between the side walls, a cover, where the cover substantially overlays at least the platform of the base, and wherein the overlaying cover is removably secured to the base. Also included is at least one positioning support, where the at least one positioning support is removably securable to the covered platform. Also, the base limits substantial deformations of the platform when the platform is lifted.
Understanding of the present invention will be facilitated by consideration of the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like numerals refer to like parts:
It is to be understood that the figures and descriptions of the present invention have been simplified to illustrate elements that are relevant for a clear understanding of the present invention, while eliminating, for the purpose of clarity, many other elements found in infant feeding and sleeping units. Those of ordinary skill in the art may recognize that other elements and/or steps are desirable and/or required in implementing the present invention. However, because such elements and steps are well known in the art, and because they do not facilitate a better understanding of the present invention, a discussion of such elements and steps is not provided herein. The disclosure herein is directed to all such variations and modifications to such elements and methods known to those skilled in the art.
The present invention is a multi-functional unit for the care of infants. While an infant as described herein may generally be thought of as a child of less than one year of age, the present invention may be most suitable for infants of approximately six months of age or less, or for those infants who cannot yet crawl. For example, the present invention may be used to increase the comfort of both a nursing mother and a feeding infant. The present invention also provides a safe sleeping environment designed for sleeping in selective positions. Additionally, the present invention provides for the movement of a sleeping infant inside the same unit without disruption of the infant's sleeping position.
Referring now to
Internal base 200 may have attachment sites 210 on surface area 140 near end walls 130 and back wall 120 for securing outer cover 300 to internal base 200. Attachment sites 210 may also be located on any portion of surface area 140, including back wall 120 and/or end walls 130, provided the attachment sites are placed so that outer cover 300 does not significantly shift when placed over top and attached to internal base 200. Such attachment sites may be, for example, Velcro, snaps, buttons, reusable adhesives, or any other attachment mechanism as understood by those skilled in the art.
Internal base 200 may also contain ridges, grooves or additional structures on surface area 140 or any of end walls 130 and back wall 120. For example, multiple ridges running parallel to back wall 120 may form part of surface area 140 to help create a better contact surface for outer cover 300 to rest on, as well as to act as stiffeners for the platform.
The bottom surface of internal base 200, and consequently the bottom surface of unit 10 (not shown in Figure), may be flat, such that unit 10 may be placed on a table, floor, bed, co-sleeper, or even the lap of an adult. Alternatively, the bottom surface may contain fixed or foldable supports, such that unit 10 may be slightly raised off the surface it is placed on. Such supports may provide space for blankets or other items to pass under or around unit 10 without decreasing the stability of unit 10.
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As shown in
Alternatively, outer cover 300 need not fully enclose internal base 200. For example, attachment sites may be located along the bottom edge of back wall 120 and end walls 130, or on any portion of the bottom surface of internal base 200, with the reciprocal attachment portions placed on the corresponding inside surface of outer cover 300. Thus, an underneath portion 340 may be partially or even entirely eliminated. As long as fitted region 330 of outer cover 300 provides a smooth and comfortable, secured surface over surface area 140, any remaining portion of internal base 200 may be exposed.
In another embodiment of the present invention, outer cover 300 may further contain a rubber, plastic, or other water resistant layer built into outer cover 300 or as an additional lining of outer cover 300. Also, a mesh or open-weave section may make up any portion of outer cover 300, such as, for example, a mesh side panel along the inner surface fitted over end walls 130 and/or back wall 120. Such a mesh or open-weave portion may promote better airflow inside surface area 140.
In another embodiment of the present invention, handles or other grasping regions may be provided. For example, handles may be attached or form part of outer cover 300 on the portion covering the outside vertical surface of end walls 130. In another example, handles or indented grasping regions may be placed directly into the outside vertical surface of end walls 130 of internal base 200. In this embodiment, a hole or cut out portion may be placed in the corresponding portion of outer cover 300, such that when outer cover 300 is secured to internal base 200, the handles or grasping regions extend through or are accessible through the holes in outer cover 300. In yet another example, long loops may be attached to end walls 130, such that these loops may be held at one point centered above unit 10, much like a basket. It should be understood that any additional handles or grabbing regions may be placed strategically about the unit, such that the unit may be easily picked up when empty or when holding an infant.
Referring now to
Insert 400 may provide additional comfort and support to an infant when insert 400 is placed inside surface area 140 of unit 10. Such supports are important for attaining safer infant sleeping positions, such as on the infant's back or side. Additionally, the success of any breastfeeding session is greatly affected by the positioning of the infant in relation to the mother, as the correct position promotes a stronger latch, as well as ease of swallowing for the infant.
Insert 400 may include any number of positioning supports 410 to assist in the positioning of an infant when the infant is lying atop insert 400. For example, insert 400 may include two wedges or rolls positioned such that an infant may be placed between the wedges and held from rolling to one side or the other. In another example, a pair of wedges or rolls may be placed such that an infant's head may rest comfortably between or on one of the wedges. In yet another example, a flexible and/or expandable roll may be positioned on insert 400, such that when an infant is placed on insert 400, the flexible and/or expandable roll may wrap or conform to the shape of the infant which is in contact with the roll, such as wrapping around the periphery of the head, for example.
Any positioning supports may be permanently attached to insert 400, or may be separately attachable to surface insert 400 via an attachment mechanism, such as Velcro, buttons, snaps or the like. Also, positioning supports 410 may be composed of foam, sponge, fabric, or any other soft and/or impressionable material.
The top surface of insert 400 may also include molded regions 420.
These molded regions may be designed to conform to portions of an infant's body when the infant is lying atop insert 400. For example, an indented region may be located at the resting point of the infant's head.
Such a mold may reduce the occurrence or severity of “flat head”, as well as provide better ergonomic support and better posturing for the resting infant. To create a molded region 420 within the surface of insert 400, a breathable and impressionable foam may be used, or any other material that may hold the molded form.
Insert 400 may be a single structure, or alternatively, may be composed of an internal base and a removable and machine washable outer cover, similar to the construction of unit 10.
Insert 400 may be removable from unit 10, such that different inserts may be used as desired with unit 10. Also, insert 400 may further include on its bottom surface an attachment system for attachment to outer cover 300 of unit 10. Such attachment system may be the same as any attachment system described herein, such as Velcro, buttons, snaps, or the like.
In another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, equivalent sleep positioning supports 410 and/or molds 420 may be directly attached to outer cover 300, without the use of insert 400. In such a construction, it would require an attaching mechanism, such as Velcro, snaps or buttons, on both sleep positioning supports 410 and the outside surface of outer cover 300.
In another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, an additional wall or barrier may be attached to unit 10, such that the additional wall or barrier may cover opening 150. For example, if a parent or caregiver places unit 10 on a tabletop with an infant inside unit 10, the additional wall may block opening 150 to help prevent the infant from rolling out of unit 10. Such additional wall or barrier may be a sturdy fabric stretched along opening 150 and attached to each of end walls 130, or it may be a plastic or other rigid retainer wall that fastens to each of end walls 130.
With the above described exemplary embodiments in mind, unit 10 may provide for an array of uses while minimizing the disruption of the infant's environment. In an exemplary scenario of use, a nursing mother may place her infant into unit 10, such that the baby is strategically positioned at an angle optimal for both breastfeeding and safe sleeping, and place unit 10 on the mother's bed. In such a scenario, the infant may be facing toward opening 150 of unit 10, and the mother may comfortably breastfeed by lying up against opening 150. When the infant falls asleep at the end of the feeding, the mother may simply lift unit 10 with the sleeping baby inside, and place unit 10 into a co-sleeper, crib, bassinet, or other location designated as the infant's bed. Because the baby is already in a safe sleeping position within unit 10, and because unit 10 is structurally rigid, the infant is moved to the new location without disrupting the current sleeping position.
In another exemplary scenario of use, a nursing mother may awake in the middle of the night to breastfeed the infant. In this situation, the infant may be positioned and fed as described above, but instead of the mother getting up and moving unit 10 to another location, the mother may simply leave unit 10 on the bed with the infant inside it. Because unit 10 may be an independent safe-sleeping device, and may furthermore provide rigidity and containment walls, it is unlikely to be “rolled on top of” by an adult. Therefore, a safe sleeping environment may be created in the parental bed, which may make the process of multiple nightly feedings less tiring for the mother.
Those of ordinary skill in the art may recognize that many modifications and variations of the present invention may be implemented without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers the modifications and variations of this invention provided they come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.