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Two Barrington 'Mompreneurs' Create Shirt to Reap Benefits of Kangaroo Care

Hope Parish and Daniela Jensen develop the NuRoo Pocket - which allows skin-to-skin contact between mom and newborn.

Two Barrington moms have come up wth a new way for other mothers – and dads, too -- to snuggle up with their newborns.

Hope Parish and Daniela Jensen have developed a wraparound polyester-spandex shirt for mom to wear to give skin-to-skin contact or “kangaroo care.”

They’ve dubbed it the NuRoo Pocket – a $59.99 garment that you can buy online next week at babiesrus.com and Feb. 18 at 300 Babies ‘R’ Us stores across the country.

“They wanted it exclusively for six months,” said Jensen, 33, a former Hasbro PlaySkool marketing executive who is the mother of five children ranging in age from 15 months to 13 years.

“We went to them and made a pitch,” she said. “The best we could hope for, we were told, was a call-back. They wanted it at that first meeting.”

Kangaroo care is the clinical term for skin-to-skin contact that is especially beneficial to a newborn. But it helps mom, too. Sorry, dad, it only helps your baby when you snuggle up.

Laying a tiny baby on a mom’s chest stimulates hormones that helps in a baby’s brain development, reduces crying, regulates body temperature, and enhances the immune system, said Jensen.

For moms, the hormones help reduce the risk of postpartum depression, increases milk production and aids in a faster recovery time.

The NuRoo pocket snuggles up a baby on a mother’s chest near the highly sensitive C Affervent nerve just below the neck on both of them. That’s the stimulator.

There is a catch, though. A baby needs to be on the chest for at least 60 uninterrupted minutes several times a day. That’s where the shirt comes in.

It’s a fashionable and convenient way to hold a baby close to the chest while doing other things. A Velcro closure creates a cross-hug fit. A belt fitted around mom and under the baby keeps it at the right level.

Jensen and Parish, 38, a physician’s assistant with three children of her own, ages 5, 5, and 2, were thrown together at a Christmas party. A mutual friend told Jensen that Parish was looking for ideas for such a product.

Their children actually were in Montessori school together. And each had been introduced to the benefits of skin-to-skin contact by nurse midwives connected to Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, which promotes skin-to-skin contact in their postpartum department.

“We huddled in a corner for four hours,” said Jensen.

They soon began looking high and low for a product already on the market that provided comfort and mobility, and couldn’t find it. The NüRoo Pocket was born. 

“We call it our other child,” Jensen said.

The women soon became “mompreneurs.” They began testing fabrics and designs for the best compression fit and mobility; they also wanted it to be easy off and on to wick moisture from the body.

“Most new moms are hot anyway, but you can imagine what it’s like with a baby on your chest,” she said. “We went through 30 different iterations.

The NuRoo Pocket is actually available right now at Women and Infants Hospital – if it isn’t sold out. 

Check out their website – NuRooBaby.com -- for more information.  And check out their recent appearance on WPRI-TV’s “The Rhode Show” by clicking here.

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