Monique Horrigan Founder of the The Dou- Doods in Meet the Maker Blog for Nurture CollectiveTis the season to be jolly…which means its the month of Christmas! This month we met with the lovely founder and entrepreneur Monique Horrigan from The Dou-Doods. She talks to us all about the inspiration to start her brand and how important comforters are to babies and children through their early development.

Toddlers wearing Bandit Mask Black Square and Eye patch by the Doudoods at Nurture Collective Ethical Baby ClothingTell us about the story behind The Dou Doods and how it all started?

The Dou-Doods were born out of both mine, and my daughters love for snuggling.

My first memories of being a tiny person were about my ‘Doudou’. I loved this blankie more than anything in the world and insisted on dragging it around with me everywhere I went. I did everything with it. 

After a very long struggle of trying to conceive and retain a baby within me, our little lady was finally born. We were so grateful to have this perfect little babe in our lives, and I wanted nothing more than to wrap her up in bubble wrap made out of love and cuddles so nothing could ever harm her.

She had a ‘Doudou’ from an early age as I felt so attached to the memories of mine. She absolutely loved it and took to it quickly as she loves anything soft and fuzzy. In fact, the fuzzier, the better in her world. 

Watching her grow and her mind develops, I realised she needed a comforter that wasn’t just a blanket but also a best friend. As like mine did, it goes everywhere with her on all her great adventures, so I felt it needed to be its own person. Something that goes from being an inanimate flat snuggle blankie in baby’s first year to becoming a much loved best friend/adventurer in their toddler years.  

Being a little bit of a crafty mama, I decided to design and make something to suit her creative nature, and thus the first Dou-Dood was born. He was called Mr Pink.

Now I could start creating my little gang of loveable cuddle buddies. Our little lady was ecstatic as now there were even fuzzier little friends for her to snuggle at bedtime.

Grey+blue Star Doudoods Comforter at Nurture Collective Ethical Baby
The Doudoods Bandit Comforter by the Doudoods at Nurture Collective Ethical Baby Clothing

Let’s talk about the importance of a comforter for a child.

So comfort items/objects really start coming into their own after the baby is six months as before these babies under six months of age do not engage in exploring objects in their sleeping environment and are developmentally too young to take comfort from a toy or object to help them manage any separation anxiety from their mother. 

It is hugely important to note that you need to keep soft toys out of the sleeping environment for babies under seven months of age because they may cover the nose and mouth and interfere with breathing. The risk posed by suffocation by the presence of soft objects in the baby’s sleeping environment outweighs any perceived benefit to the baby from a soft toy. It is therefore advised not to place soft toys and other soft objects in the cot for babies under seven months of age.

At seven months, babies are more likely to start exploring objects in their sleeping environments. Some babies over seven months of age begin to appreciate a small object such as a comforter to provide comfort and connection during times of separation from their parent.

As your baby gets older, you will notice some major developmental changes that usually start happening between 6 and 8 months, including crawling, the transition from three naps down to two or one, as well as an increase in your baby’s separation anxiety. For a little baby that’s a hell of a lot of changes! Comforters are one way that parents can help their baby feel continually safe and secure.

This secure bond is a positive sleep association that can help your baby during their partial awakenings. Because the comfort object does not change, it is soothing. In fact, a comforter is often an indicator of a strong parent-child bond. Essentially, the comfort object is meeting a baby’s need for love and attention even when mama or papa is not there. Now that’s pretty cool!

We introduced our little lady to her doudou when she was about three months old using it as part of her bedtime routine, and she started safe sleeping with it when she was well over eight months old.

Your Dou-Dood comforter can be included as part of your baby’s nap time or sleep time routine from an early age. But to reiterate it is not recommended to leave it in the cot with the baby until at least seven months to avoid suffocation. Studies have shown that merely being able to see their “comfort item” is enough of comfort for baby. So you can place it in the baby’s line of sight as the visual contact alone evokes its soothing effects.

When you are ready to introduce a doudod into your routine, it is important to transfer your mega amazing ‘mama scent’ to it, so baby recognises your familiar smell. The best way is to stick it down your top for a day or put some breast milk on it. Then start using it as part of a babies bedtime routine by letting baby cuddle with it while you feed, read or sing before bed. And then when they are ready for sleep, put them down in a clear cot. 

Then when they get older, they are totally fine to use their comforter as they will to help them self sooth and get themselves to sleep. And this is when the comforter becomes more than just a “blankie” or “lovie”. It now becomes their best friend. It is the one item they can rely on when separated from their parents when they are feeling anxious when faced with life’s big changes. This is when they can start to have fun together.

We love how eco-friendly your comforters are when designing and making your product. Why was this so important to you?

Having had a baby, I know how hugely important it is to you as a new mum that your baby only comes into contact with the purest substances. This goes for food, clothes, toys. When I first decided to pursue this idea, I had to spend a long time understanding this new world of manufacturing and baby toy production. Especially toy safety, what goes into the testing of a toy to make it safe for use for babies and also what chemicals go into the creation of the raw materials. Being naive and new to the industry I was shocked to find out how many corners get cut to make a quick buck so I made it even more of a priority to ensure I could try to produce my product as ethically and eco-friendly as possible. To ensure babies well being is always foremost on my list of priorities All Dou-Doods meet with CE Saftey Regulations 

White Bandit Doudoods Comforter at Nurture Collective Ethical Baby
White+Pink Star Doudoods Comforter at Nurture Collective Ethical Baby

Let’s talk about your chosen Nurture Collective Icons why you chose them, and which ones mean the most to you?

Sustainable: The world we live in is strained. We have over-farmed and overproduced and pushed our planet to its breaking point. Anything that we produce from this day forward needs to be sustainable – we need to ensure we are not putting more strain on a world that needs to be helped.

Ethical: Ensuring I know the entire production & supply chain is working to the same high ethical standards that I work too. Especially know no child labour is used in the production of my product. This kind of also includes transparency & third-party certified.

Handmade: Because I am not a seamstress and can’t make all of my products myself I want to ensure they are as close to my wonky original samples as possible but made with such love and perfection. Even though they look simple, they are actually hugely intricate pieces and are all hand cut and sewn. We use an embroidery machine to replicate the hand stitch process of blanket stitching as per my original designs. 

Let’s talk about your chosen Nurture Collective Icons why you chose them, and which ones mean the most to you?

Sustainable: The world we live in is strained. We have over-farmed and overproduced and pushed our planet to its breaking point. Anything that we produce from this day forward needs to be sustainable – we need to ensure we are not putting more strain on a world that needs to be helped.

Ethical: Ensuring I know the entire production & supply chain is working to the same high ethical standards that I work too. Especially know no child labour is used in the production of my product. This kind of also includes transparency & third-party certified.

Handmade: Because I am not a seamstress and can’t make all of my products myself I want to ensure they are as close to my wonky original samples as possible but made with such love and perfection. Even though they look simple, they are actually hugely intricate pieces and are all hand cut and sewn. We use an embroidery machine to replicate the hand stitch process of blanket stitching as per my original designs. 

What is your favourite inspirational Quote: 

Well I have a few… but here are my favourites:

Don’t measure your success by someone else’s ruler

Everything you want is on the other side of fear

And my absolute favourite is: 

Let us start by taking a smallish nap or two… – Winnie the Pooh

Click Here The Doudood Monocole Comforter hanging in a Christmas stocking on the fire place the Nurture Collective BlogTo shop The Dou-Doods full collection

Totem Kids AW 19/20 Photoshoot collection Autumn MusingsOur featured Maker: Totem Kids

Crafty Wooden Cars by LoveHeart Wood at Nurture CollectiveOur featured Maker: Love Heartwood

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