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Tech & Science Perth dads' sleep-deprived baby bottle idea gets $81k crowdfunding kick-start in just 10 days

02:01  05 december  2019
02:01  05 december  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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a person standing in front of a group of people posing for the camera: Alex and Ricky with their little girls and the Bottle Bath.© Supplied Alex and Ricky with their little girls and the Bottle Bath.

Four years after two Perth entrepreneurs had a lightbulb moment during a sleep-deprived conversation on a plane, they have smashed an $81,000 Kickstarter target to bring their parenting product to market.

Management consultant Ricky Hee and property consultant Alex Djojoutomo have attracted 100 new investors to mass-produce Bottle Bath, a benchtop bottle washer, steriliser and dryer in one, designed to replace the manual cleaning and sterilising of baby bottles.

The device fits any ordinary bottle.© Supplied The device fits any ordinary bottle.

Mr Hee and Mr Djojoutomo were both only 25 when they had their first children, while their friends were still mostly at the wedding and engagement stage of life. In fact, they were on a plane together about to attend a friend’s wedding when they got talking about the difficulties of parenting.

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Before you start crowdfunding find the best platform for your needs. Specializes in creative projects with robust reward level feature 14- day wait to withdraw and deposits take 5-7 business days Limited email support hours Requires Kickstarter approval to launch a fundraiser.

Let babies get used to a cup while they're in the tub. They can pour water out of it, drink from it, or even make a And she may already be down to just one or two daily bottles . A sudden withdrawal can be painful Getting your child off the bottle usually involves some trial and error -- and sometimes tears.

The device in close-up.© Supplied The device in close-up.

Mr Hee’s second child was less than a year old and still being fed expressed milk at the time.

He remembered washing the bottles at night, putting them in the steriliser and later being so tired he would forget whether he had turned it on.

“I would think 'OK, I will just sterilise it again' ... my wife would be like, 'what is taking you so long?'” he said.

“I came from a military background and I have found that 2-3 months [after birth] tougher than the military.

“The lack of sleep, and because the baby can’t express how they are feeling, you are frustrated, you don’t know what they want, and you are juggling fatigue and all these new things in your life. You are stressed and if you don’t have a good support network, just little jobs can be quite challenging.”

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On the plane comparing notes, the two fathers found they both hated the bottle washing, drying and sterilising routine.

“We really felt that this chore doesn’t create any bond,” Mr Hee said.

“Showering the kids, changing the nappy, wiping a bum, that all creates a bond.

“But this activity is, while crucial, totally disconnected.”

The pair searched online and couldn’t find anything out there that did the three-in-one job. They found plenty of devices that did one or two individual steps, but they were all old and took up a lot of space.

So they chipped in $50,000 of their own savings each for a feasibility study, engineering work and industrial design in Singapore.

Slowly more and more friends, family and other investors have brought the total now invested to $650,000 and the Kickstarter is completing the journey, as well as gauging the interest worldwide.

In 10 days, the target ($81,000 or $SGD55,000) has been reached from about 100 backers across Australia, Singapore, New Mexico, South Africa and Indonesia, who will get the device at a discount when it hits the market.

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Kickstarter exists to help bring creative projects to life. A home for film, music, art, theater, games, comics, design, photography, and more.

Here's how to get through the days that follow those sleepless nights. What are the effects of sleep deprivation ? Go easy on yourself. If you get the chance during the day while your baby or toddler naps, try putting your feet up for 10 minutes and take some deep breaths to recharge your batteries.

“My wife thinks there is a fine line between courageous and crazy ... but our wives have been very supportive,” Mr Hee said.

“We have had to do a lot of overseas trips and they have also had to hold the fort with the kids and do their work so we are blessed.”

The benchtop appliance cleans, steam-sterilises and dries a load of bottles in less than an hour without any further labour required.

It uses less water than hand-washing and accommodates most brands, and has room for four bottles as well as teats and lids.

They are on track to start delivering Bottle Bath from mid-2020. The price is steep – about $US499 or $AUD720, but the pair wanted something aesthetically pleasing and robust.

Mr Hee said considering the appliance could replace several other space-consuming and expensive devices, last through multiple babies and be passed on afterwards, it represented value for money.

He joked the project had taken so long his business partner’s children had grown too old to benefit, though Mr Hee still had a one-month-old, so he still had a window to use it.

“This is something that will maybe really resonate with hands-on dads,” Mr Hee said.

“Some partners sleep through the night, or are just thankful their mother-in-law will help out, but we think a husband should contribute.”

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