We help busy, low-income moms care for their newborns through a comfortable baby swaddle that uses mechanized kangaroo care.
This is the Walla Care team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the first prototype of the swaddle. On the left is Xinwei Sage Pei, and on the right is Nicole Birova.
This is Xinwei Sage Pei, a co-founder of Walla Care. She is from Jersey City, New Jersey, and she has a background of working with nonprofits specifically through marketing and fundraising.
This is Nicole Birova, a co-founder of Walla Care. She is from Redmond, Washington, and she has a background of working with startups and ideas specifically through strategy and finances.
Additional categories (optional)
Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
Eligibility: Date of Birth
November 2, 2001
Help us stay in touch!
(425) 516 3149
10111 181St Ave NE
Washington: Redmond (98052)
Date You Started Your Project Started
July / 24 / 2019
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Idea (hoping to get started in the future)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Imagine that your baby is crying for hours, days, even months on end. Now imagine that you can't soothe that baby or even spend time with it, since you are constantly working to make ends meet. Almost all mothers discontinue the doctor-recommended strategy of kangaroo care after leaving the hospital, solely due to time commitment and the other mechanized versions of this strategy are costly and dangerous. At WallaCare, we tackle this issue.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
WallaCare strives to bring the mother and the baby closer through mechanized kangaroo care. Kangaroo care is a professionally recommended practice in which the mother and baby share skin-to-skin contact that imitates the feeling of the womb. Kangaroo care has proven to be beneficial in many aspects such as improved breathing, brain development, and a stronger heartbeat. It is also a procedure that has been professionally recognized to help premature babies adjust to their new life by improving their heartbeats and help transition to life away from the incubator. Although it is incredibly beneficial, it is also incredibly time consuming. WallaCare is a swaddle that simulates a heartbeat to soothe your baby through mechanized Kangaroo Care without the parents time being consumed. We do this by having a small, removable heartbeat device placed within a pocket of the swaddle. Since low-income mothers don’t have the time, or the money, to spend on their newborns, we will connect with shelters and mother support groups in order to distribute these comforting baby swaddles.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
As a student, I hadn’t explored baby care but when I found out I was likely infertile, it was a concept that never left my mind. I quickly realized that I had no control of my situation, but I could aide others in theirs. My partner, Sage, faced the same dilemma. Growing up with a heart condition, Sage faced difficulties in school and in daily life. As we looked further into newborns, we stumbled on the process of kangaroo care. Kangaroo care is a doctor-recommended strategy that mothers use to comfort babies. When a mother and her child share contact over the mother’s chest, it has shown to increase brain development and protect against heart murmurs. We wanted to help as many mothers and babies as possible, so we decided to create a version of mechanized kangaroo care within a baby swaddle. We reduce the time commitment for busy mothers, while also providing the baby with comfort.
4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”
All babies deserve to be cared for in the best way possible. At WallaCare, we’ve made it our goal to help mothers comfort their babies no matter what situation they’re in. We’ve heard the cries of babies, sat through mother’s tears, and seen the consequences when a mother is devastated by the inability to comfort her child. It’s heartbreaking. When we found out we could help, we dove in and haven't looked back since. We are committed to building a better community and nurturing the future.
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
When a shelter, support group, or individual gets involved with WallaCare, they will be able to learn about kangaroo care and its benefits, as well as receive baby swaddles to comfort their infants. In addition to comforting the child, the baby swaddle will offer mechanized kangaroo care, which further implements the education of natural kangaroo care. We’ve received feedback from numerous pediatricians, neonatologists, and ob-gyns. Every professional we have talked to is excited for the product and offers positive feedback on this model. Kangaroo care is crucial and so beneficial to newborns of all conditions; by spreading the word about the process and being able to offer an alternative by using mechanized kangaroo care to mothers who can’t afford to spend the time and money on other solutions, we are able to benefit the community as a whole.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
The other products on the market that are trying to accomplish the same tasks right now range from dangerous to costly. WallaCare is neither of those things. We are a simple-to-use baby swaddle that replicates the comfort of traditional Kangaroo Care as recommended by doctors, physicians, and surgeons. Using this baby swaddle, we are able to help low-income mothers in caring for their baby. WallaCare also strives to spread awareness about Kangaroo Care and its benefits as well as the importance to continue kangaroo care even after the initial time spent together in the hospital.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Within WallaCare, we’ve talked to numerous mothers, doctors, and support groups that are ecstatic about the product. We’ve received feedback from everyone about how beneficial the product is, and how much it would help the community. By using the practice of Kangaroo Care, and turning it into a safe baby product that comforts them, we are able to take the stress of time, costs and energy away from the mother. We hope to spread awareness about the benefits of Kangaroo Care, but we also understand that not every mother is able to spend 4-6 hours a day holding their child against their chest. With the mechanized version, we hope to strengthen the mother and baby bond, as well as make sure the mother has time and the baby is comfortable.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
WallaCare has a bright future and a big impact waiting to be made. But to get there, we must first build the product with the help of an engineer. We’ve already created an initial prototype, and we’ve been able to get feedback from doctors and other professionals. We still need to adjust parts of the prototype and make sure it is safe. For the safety testing, we have established connections in China that are willing to test our product in a secure lab. In order to develop the product, we need funding, research, and guidance from mentors and others experienced in the field. We plan to move forward with campaigns and partnerships to launch our product and continue research on mechanized kangaroo care in order to develop WallaCare.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
How did you hear about this challenge?