Ollie the Owl – must-have sleep aid or expensive stuffed toy?

Having a newborn that just won’t settle is an absolute nightmare. Sleep deprivation following the trauma of birth, coupled with living with your little one for the first few weeks? It just doesn’t make for a comfortable transition into parenthood.

Ollie the Owl is available to help save the day (or would that be night?) when it comes to sleep. Created by the Gro Company and sold for £34.99 Ollie uses something called ‘Cry Sensor Technology’ to soothe children back to sleep as soon as it picks them up stirring – with a soft noise of your choice.

You can choose between a soft rendition of a lullaby, white noise, waves or a heartbeat depending on what your child would prefer. Be warned, if you share a room with your little one as we do – this becomes a form of torture. It takes a while before your brain learns to ‘zone out’ Ollie and his sleepy repertoire.

The quality of Ollie is incredible. Details like contrasting thread colours for stitching and creative designs like spirals for blushing cheeks make him stand out when it comes to your child’s stuffed toy collection.

At night you can set him to glow – emitting a soft orange light he reassures your little one as they drift off. The glow can be set at different levels of brightness which is ideal. We have ours at the softest setting when putting Baby Button down to sleep as it creates less distraction.

The light is just enough to breast feed to without being overpowering. I sometimes have to have a lamp on for those late night/early morning feeds so that I can actually stay awake. Having Ollie might be wonderful for the little one but… It doesn’t make it easier being up feeding at hours not meant to be seen! He makes me struggle to stay awake, nevermind Baby Button.

How did Ollie improve our bedtime routines, and what could be improved?

Baby Button loved the noise aspect – so much so that when Ollie stopped making noise, he would wake up and get upset. The cry sensor technology worked against us there! We end up putting Ollie on for around twenty minutes to relax our little nocturnal warrior, then rock him off to sleep.

The cry sensor is incredibly sensitive – we set it off rolling over in bed sometimes which can be a pain. We even had an experience where one of us was in the kitchen downstairs and managed to startle Ollie into action. I’ve read reviews where pets can set it off which does make it a little problematic. The balance between stirring baby and other environmental influences is obviously a very fine line.

The light I make a lot of use of at the moment. As I mentioned earlier, it’s perfect for breast feeding in the wee hours of the morning. I usually check my phone and scroll aimlessly through Twitter or Facebook at that time so I don’t need a bright light. I appreciate some Mums prefer to read a book so this wouldn’t be ideal in that situation.

When you do set Ollie up how you want (whether you have activated the cry sensor, the overall volume which is still pretty loud even on the lowest setting, and obviously which sound you’d like to play) the settings aren’t saved. Each time you turn it on, you have to go through and set each setting. Again, problematic when you have a newborn to settle!

We could live without Ollie.. But he isn’t a complete waste of money. It’s very handy to have something familiar available for your little one of they have an unsettled night and this plump little plush is the perfect little friend to be that familiar reassurance. That and he’s very cute, I love him just for his looks – perfect in our woodland themed nursery!

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