A slightly above-average achiever's guide to parenting
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Tranquilo Baby Mat
August 31, 2016
If you're like me, Facebook has your number. By that, I mean you get very "helpful" advertisement suggestions on the side of your feed that are eerily tailored for you. For me, that's how I first came across Tranquilo Mat. Tranquilo is the only portable vibrating mat, designed to mimic mom's heartbeat and calm fussy infants. It was developed by an infant care nurse after working as a crying specialist (yes, that's a job I don't think I'd wish on my worst enemy) at several Boston hospitals.
When I saw these ads with BFF on the way, I thought two things:
1) this is probably too good to be true.
2) if it's not, TAKE MY MONEY!
Luckily, I was able to get in touch with Melissa Gersin, the creator of the mats, and she generously let me test out one of the mats with BFF.
If you go online and check out some of the videos of this thing in action, it's amazing. It's like flipping a shark on its back. Babies go from crying to silent in seconds. While there are lots of other things on the market like this, most of them are built into other things (like my rock and play or a tiny lamb that the kid has to hold) so I was always worried about developing a dependence on something we couldn't take with us or would move in the middle of the night. But I love the idea that you can take the Tranquilo mat with you and tuck it into a baby carrier, or put it over them in a car seat, or wherever you might find a crying baby (ie, wherever it would be most inconvenient to have a crying child...because that's where they will always start crying).
Luckily for me, but somewhat unluckily for a review post, BFF is as chill as Chewie was fussy. So, we didn't have a lot of opportunities to test out the mat in a do-or-die situation. But, I will tell you that there's one thing BFF haaaated as a newborn, and that was getting his diaper changed. Shockingly, this kid doesn't like a cold wet cloth on his butt. Weird, right? So, it seemed like diaper changes were the perfect time to test out the mat.
I found the mat very easy to use. It has 5 speed settings, the most popular of which is the one that mimics mom's heartbeat. But there are slower and faster settings as well. You have to turn the mat on internally first, but once it's switched on, the on-off function is as easy as pressing a button. And sure enough, just like a baby shark, the minute that thing was on, BFF stopped crying and stayed soothed. I had originally thought it might just be a novelty "let me stop crying long enough to figure out what that was, and once I have you lured into a false sense of security, I'll begin wailing again" situation-- because that's what babies do. But in fact, the mat stopped BFF crying every time we'd put him on it and kept him calm.
As you know, I'm a minimalist parent (in as much as you can be with kids), so I would put this in the category of "only necessary if you have a fussy baby." But if you do have a fussy baby, I'd definitely qualify this as a necessity, right up there with diapers, wipes, a rock and play, and an amazon prime subscription. And, at 65 dollars, it does make a really unique baby shower present, particularly for first time parents. Because (and I can say this because I was one), first time parents are terrified of everything. So even if they don't use it, it's a nice useful addition to their tool-belt of baby combat items.
And, as an added bonus, we used it in our newborn photo shoot, and it kept him nice and cooperative the whole time. I mean, how else do you think we got the pancakes to stay on him?
ADDENDUM: So, in typical baby fashion, I thought I had this whole post wrapped up. I thought I had this whole newborn thing wrapped up. But it was classic Baby Hubris. You know, Baby Hubris. It's where you brag to another mom at the playground about how your toddler doesn't hit, and then 2 minutes later he decks another kid and lays him out in the sandbox. Or how as a new parent you brag about how your baby is 'sleeping through the night at 3 months', while the other seasoned mom you're talking to just nods and wisely decides not to tell you about the horror that is the 4 month sleep regression and figures you'll get yours.
And it was Baby Hubris that got me with this post. I should have KNOWN better. Because BFF sure as hell knew. I had no sooner finished writing this post about my chill baby in the morning when we went for his 2 month vaccine shots. And boy did he not like those. My "chill" baby was a fuss bucket all day. Inconsolable screaming all. day. long. And it was somewhere around 5 that night when BFF's dad wisely suggested we try out the Tranquillo mat instead of whiskey, which was my suggestion. And boom, it was upside down shark time. We put him on it, and he went from wailing to contentedly PTFO. So, now, I'm fully convinced of the power of these mats. Also, I will now know better than to tempt the baby-gods by uttering any more phrases about my child being chill.