Anyone who's had a baby knows that there are times when you'll do anything, anything at all to to calm a crying, colicky baby down. But would you buy an $80 portable, vibrating mat? Robert Herjavec, one of the investors on Shark Tank, seems to think so. He threw down $200,000 to Melissa Gersin of Tranquilo for 15 percent equity in her vibrating baby mat during a recent episode of the series. But does the Tranquilo baby mat from Shark Tank actually work? It's hard to tell.
The mat, according to the product's Amazon page (it's not available for sale yet, there, though) "helps baby transition from a mother’s womb to the world during the 'fourth trimester' after birth. No longer snug inside the womb with its soothing constant motion and sound, babies miss the strong 'whoosh' of mom’s heartbeat and the gentle jostle of every move she makes."
You lay the mat down — on the floor, in the crib, in a car seat — and adjust to different "heartbeat levels" and pray to the baby gods that the infant is soothed into a zen-like state. Gersin told the Sharks that she's done around $65,000 in sales and she has a patent for the mat. There's a small one for $80 and a larger one for $90 and they're currently available for pre-order directly from the company.
There are no reviews on Amazon, but there are testimonials on her website that rave about the product. One New York family wrote:
As new moms learn, newborns experience the fourth trimester for the first weeks after birth and they are comforted by womb-like environments. The Tranquilo Mat mimics the movement of the uterus for the baby and therefore soothes them. Within 30 seconds — no joke —our 3 weeks old stopped crying. We put it in the bassinet part of his Pack N’ Play that he hangs out in a lot, and plan on bringing it to Grandma’s when she watches him soon. Great purchase! Thanks!
Another mom said it gave her a break from trying to soothe her newborn all the time and gave her a chance to play and bond with the baby:
The Tranquilo Mat is wonderful! My daughter was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy and although her new formula is helping, she’s still healing and gets fussy after some of her feeds. I lay her on the mat and it immediately relaxes her! She’ll stop crying and her whole face changes. She’s happy and will play on it! It’s been so great because I have a chance to play and interact with her when she’s on the mat, instead of just trying to sooth her to sleep all the time!
The mat is battery operated and has been declared CPSIA safe. It also won the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval Winner. For almost a $100 it better work better than some of the other, cheaper bouncy seats that train a baby to self soothe with little hanging toys and sound effects. The vibrating sound on this is arguably less annoying than whatever Fisher Price has cued up on its Deluxe Bouncer.
The one downside — if it doesn't work as described — is that the bouncer chairs help a baby learn how to chill out on their own (sort of) while this mat basically does all the work for them. It could be hard for the baby to nap or sit in a car seat without fussing later on when you take the mat out of the line up, just like some infants will only sleep in their bouncy chair.
It sounds like it might be a good option for new parents with some cash to burn, though. It also sounds a little too good to be true, and we all know what that means, right? Then again, this could be the exception!