Doddle & Co Founder Nicki Radzely Reinvents the Pacifier
Soon after Nicki Radzely became a mom she realized that pacifiers were in dire need of an upgrade. She partnered with fellow mama Janna Badger, who shared her vision, and the two (while living on two different continents: Nicki in New York and Janna in Seoul) put their marketing and industrial design expertise to use and sought to reinvent the tried-and-true “binky.”
Made from 100% silicone with no lead, PVC, BPA, latex, or phthalates, Doddle & Co. pacifiers also feature the ability to “pop when dropped,” protecting the nipple from unwanted surface contact and saving babies everywhere from yucky germs.
We caught up with the mom-preneur to talk about teamwork, balance, and building a business in two different time zones.
How did you manage to successfully work together, from opposite sides of the world, to create your products and raise your families?
We had a vision that we could not get out of our hearts and eyes. It was worth the time difference fatigue, the nursing of babies at your computer, and the countless items on the to-do list. Meeting one another through Skype immediately gave our new relationship an intimacy and respect for one’s personal space and home. Being transported into someone's living room to discuss business as they soothe their baby… we started from that place and it has created a strong bond.
What is the one piece of advice you’d give to working moms?
Self-care is a non-negotiable. But figuring out what does it for you… that’s the tricky part. Self-care to me is self love. It's become a practice of meditation and mindfulness like I have never known before. Making time to see your friends and maintaining a support system must be a priority, too. I wish I had done a better job of staying close to my friends when I was a new mom, even on a few hours of sleep. Also, remember to say thank you and show gratitude to those who help you. It goes miles.
How do you balance work and mom life?
I don't! I'm late for meetings, late for baseball practice, and sometimes eat cold leftover chicken fingers. It's so hard. But, I remember to be grateful for the meeting, the baseball game, and the food.
We are doing our best and my best right now looks like a sometimes polished woman who's probably wearing two different colored socks!
What inspired the concept for your products?
Janna is the inventor/creator of the entire concept. Janna was in church one day and as she witnessed a mother in front of her picking up a pacifier that kept falling out of her baby’s mouth onto the floor, the concept was born. I like to think it was because she herself was expecting and the roundness of her tummy inspired the idea.
What is the best way to introduce a pacifier to your baby?
The best way is using your instincts. As a first time mother, I waited 2-3 weeks once my son had established nursing, and then used pacifiers to help him self-soothe. Best advice… notice if they’re trying to suckle and make sure they’re not hungry. If you offer it and they don’t take it, keep trying. New things take time to warm up to. The beauty of pacifying is it allows baby to learn how to self-soothe — a trait they will carry with them the rest of their life. Babies who don’t take a pacifier will probably learn self-soothing when they start sleeping through the night. Either way, it is a wonderful tool for both mother and baby.
What should you look for when choosing the best teether for your baby?
You want products that are made by a trustworthy manufacturer and safety tested! Nothing from 3rd party sellers that are mimicking products. You want a thick, high-grade silicone or rubber which cannot tear or rip easily so it is orally safe. We love our silicone Chew Teethers because they are playful with poppable bubbles, have micro-textures for soothing sore gums, and also come in whimsical styles and colors… all supporting babies' health and development. We've seen lots of kids continue to use our Chews as fidget toys, well after they're done teething!
If your baby can not seem to settle themselves, no matter what you try, what is your top soothing tip?
I go to Dr. Harvey Karp's method of the “5 S’s” for soothing babies. Let's say it's the middle of the day. Baby is fussy, but they’re fed, diapered, and it’s not time for nap. I will swaddle, turn on running water, bounce them and try a pacifier. Anything to mimic the conditions of being in utero and feeling nurtured and safe. If that doesn't work, a bouncy stroller or car ride might also do the trick. Sometimes their tummies hurt so doing "bicycle legs" works pretty well. Parenthood is all trial and error!