As a new mum, one of the questions often asked is “How is s/he sleeping?”, and it’s just awful in so very many ways to have to answer “not well”! If you’re a sleep-deprived parent reading this in the wee small hours, chances are you may have already heard of “Ewan the Dream Sheep”, and are wondering if it lives up to the hype?
But first, a quick round-up for those who haven’t yet heard of the latest wondertoy! Ewan the Dream Sheep (EtDS) is a fluffy, stuffed, purple-and-white plush sheep. Ewan’s tail is velcro on the inside, so you can undo it to attach to a cot or bassinet. Each of Ewan’s legs has a concealed button you can press to play soothing sounds for bub — womb, heartbeat, rain, and harp. Ewan’s heart glows pinky red, and this can be disabled if you want sounds without light.
And now the review!
Firstly, EtDS requires 3 triple-A batteries that are not included. Let me restate that in capitals for the sleep deprived. EWAN’S BATTERIES ARE NOT INCLUDED! So if you rush out to get this in the hope of finally, finally getting some sleep, do not forget to pick up some batteries at the same time!
Secondly, the legs. EtDS ships with 4 sounds, and four legs. If you’re a little OCD like me, you’d expect a different sound per leg, but instead each leg cycles through the four sounds each time you press the concealed button. On a positive note, this means that if one leg breaks, you still have access to your favourite melodies. On a negative note, this could mean a lot of pressing to get bub’s preferred sound.
EtDS comes with two ‘modes’ — “Try Me” and “Normal”. The instruction manual does not explain what these modes are, so let me: “Try Me” has a 1-minute cut-off, and “Normal” cuts off after 20 minutes. You can also switch EtDS off manually prior to 20 minutes by giving a leg a long press. On a positive note, the 20 minute mode helps to conserve battery life, but on a negative note, 20 minutes may not be long enough for your little one to settle, or s/he may JUST be settling when everything goes quiet and dark. Additionally, there are only two volume settings — Loud and Quiet. This seems like something of an oversight – a volume slider seems like an easy addition, but it is lacking.
EtDS is built to resemble a cuddly toy, and is very soft and huggable to touch, BUT he is NOT machine-washable. The manufacturer recommends surface washing only using a minimum of water. They also recommend not letting your little one cuddle Ewan before 1 year of age. Your child may not agree with this recommendation!
So, with a RRP of $69.95, you probably have one main question — is Ewan worth that kind of money? The answer is: maybe! Every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Having said that, Ewan the Dream Sheep was launched in 2009. In 2010 and 2011 it won several awards including the Practical Parenting and Pregnancy Gold Award 2011. More importantly, the internet is strewn with the glowing recommendations of hundreds, if not thousands, of previously sleep-deprived parents! It has definitely worked for countless others, and could very well work for you too!
Catie Browning, Victoria