For parents of a small baby, making sure they stay asleep once they fall asleep is top priority. But what happens when your baby falls asleep against your chest in a front carrier? How do you move her to a crib or bassinet without changing the position of her back, which inevitably wakes her up?
Designer Daniela Gardeweg hopes to solve that problem with Suki, a carrier that converts into a rocker.
Suki's exterior is made of water-resistant cotton and comes with a connected string of wooden slats that completely detach from the carrier and are conveniently stored in a fanny pack style bag. To transform it into a rocker, the angled bamboo slats align to form a curved structure that becomes the support for the hammock. It attaches to either end of the cradle, enabling babies to sit up and look around while they're resting.
Suki's designer, Daniela Gardeweg, realized that this kind of convertible carrier would be helpful when she was walking in the park near the banks of the river Isar in Munich, where she lives. Mothers and fathers would often gather in the park with their babies for picnics—but upon arrival, parents had no choice but to put their babies on the ground.
Gardeweg looked to the traditional cradleboards of some Native American tribes, where babies are strapped to wooden carriers that can lay flat, stand up, or be carried on caregivers' backs for inspiration. She initially struggled to find a solution, to make something stable that could transform and be transported easily. But once she realized she could coil the wooden back support and form the rest of the cradle out of cotton, Suki began to take shape.
While Gardeweg wasn't a mother when she was working on Suki, she is now. She says she used Suki all the time when her baby was smaller; now, at over a year old, he's too big. She believes Suki is best suited to babies that are eight months old and younger.
Gardeweg hopes to start her own line of baby products, starting with Suki, when she returns to work. Her prototype recent received a Red Dot award for Design Concept.
As for the product's name, Gardeweg says it's an indigenous word. "It means to be loved by somebody in Lakota," she says. "You’ve got the baby so close to your body so you can give them all your love."
[Photos: Daniela Gardeweg]