I love stories of parents coming up with a business idea, or finding success, in the first years of parenthood. Devon’s own Unmumsy Mum with her 500,00+ Facebook fans and best-selling book. Justine Robert’s search for family holiday recommendations back in 2000, which led to Mumsnet.com. Jo Evans stirring Figgy’s puddings while her newborn slept.
I found maternity leave unleashed my own creativity, which had been pummelled out of me over a decade of the daily office grind.
Maybe it’s because our brains have a chance to rest during the mundane early days of feed, clean, sleep, repeat. Perhaps it’s all that time left with our own thoughts, especially while the rest of the world sleeps.
Or maybe it’s the desire, when faced with the daily challenges of parenting, to make life easier for other parents.
It was parenthood that sewed the seed for Naturalmat Baby.
Twenty years or so ago, keen sailors Mark Tremlett and Peter Tindall started Naturalmat through sheer frustration at uncomfortable sleeping arrangements on boats. Why were mattresses on board so synthetic, prone-to-damp and uncomfortable? They started making breathable mattresses that fitted awkward spaces on yachts.
When Mark started a family, his focus shifted from boats to babies. He wanted to find a good-quality, natural mattress for his daughter but he struggled. He spent nine months, researching and developing a 100% natural, baby-friendly mattress. Naturalmat Baby was born.
Although boats had got Peter and Mark so far, it was breaking into the baby market that set them on course for success.
Made in Devon
So why am I interested in Naturalmat? Because it’s a Devon product. Naturalmat mattresses are hand made in Topsham. Just across from one of my favourite family-friendly spots, Dart’s Farm.
I’ve visited the Naturalmat factory and watched the seamstresses carefully tufting buttons.
It turns out my neighbour is one of the Devon farmers who supply the organic lambswool.
Of course the naturally springy coir (from coconuts) and latex (from the sap of the Hevea rubber tree) are a bit more tricky to come by. These are sourced in Sri Lanka from certified organic, environmentally responsible farms.
It makes sense that sleep – something so natural, instinctive and what we spend half our lives doing *unless you’re my two-year-old* – should be in a natural, chemical-free environment.
Inside a Naturalmat mattress
It’s difficult to make mattresses sound sexy or appealing. But in the end, the science is important because your child *fingers crossed* will be spending about 4,224 hours each year in their beds. This is what you need to know:
The mattress is covered in a quilted, removable cover, made of unbleached natural cotton. You can wash this cover at 60°C (essential for inevitable accidents).
- The natural latex used in the mattresses is hypoallergenic and naturally-breathable, which prevents overheating. As does the certified organic coir (coconut husks) pressed into sheets of springy, breathable fibre.
- The organic lambswool in the mattresses is sourced from Soil Association certified farms in Devon, Dorset and Cornwall. It’s naturally fire retardant (no need for chemicals), an excellent insulator and naturally anti microbial.
All these natural fibres create a comfy and supportive mattress for babies and children, who can have trouble regulating their body temperature, or be prone to eczema.
Whatever you need, Naturalmat Baby makes a mattress to fit it: pushchair and carry cots, cribs, travel cots, cot-beds, single beds. It hand makes mattresses for products from popular brands such as Baby Bay, Stokke, even Ikea, and offers a made-to-measure service. You can choose from different materials: latex, coco, mohair or spring.
Alongside the mattresses, Naturalmat has a range of organic bedding and beautiful furniture. You can see some of the products in their showroom (feel free to pop in and ask questions).
Tried and tested – Naturalmat
One of the perks of my job is that I get to test the products I write about. We were delighted to get a Naturalmat Spring Mat for my son’s first big boy bed.
My four-year-old (unIike my youngest *ahem*) is a dream sleeper. I should say ‘now’ – I wouldn’t have believed this in the early months of reflux and endless night feeds.
Despite co-sleeping as a baby, he loves his own bed. It’s his precious space in a room he shares with his younger brother.
The one thing that interrupts my son (and often worries me) is night sweats. He occasionally has night terrors and these are accompanied by overheating. Even on a peaceful night, when I do my late night head-stroke-tuck-in, I get a fist full of sweaty curls.
Since changing to a Naturalmat mattress he hasn’t had any night sweats.
And it is so comfortable. When he does, occasionally, let me snuggle in with him, it’s heavenly.
I’m currently campaigning for my in-laws to swap their 40-year-old sagging excuse for a bed for one of Naturalmat’s luxurious doubles. Sleep – and I speak as someone who hasn’t had nearly enough these past 5 years – is precious and definitely worth investing in.
Find out more
Get 15% off any Naturalmat product from the baby or child range with code MN17. Valid until 31.01.17.
*We were kindly given a mattress as a review product in exchange for a blog post and activity on Mumsnet Exeter. All opinions are my own. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions in comments below or via contact me.
This feature is part of a ‘Made in Devon’ series, where I’ll be featuring local businesses and telling you about their products.