Having a baby is not unlike putting an astronaut into orbit—both baby and space explorer must face those first few uncertain breaths. (And then, of course, there’s a whole world of uncertainty ahead.) A recent innovation banks on this analogy.

Embrace Innovations co-founder Jane Chen’s latest endeavor, Little Lotus, puts an innovative phase-change material, originally designed for NASA spacesuits, in babies’ swaddles, sleeping bags and blankets to help them regulate body temperatures just like real astronauts. Created by designers from Timbuk2, Nike, and Maclaren, the product aims to help new parents with one of their top concerns: making sure their baby is not too hot and not too cold.


“Recently, all of my friends have been having babies,” says Chen. “I continually hear the same concern over and over again: how do I know if my baby is at the right temperature?”

And not only are Little Lotus baby products making parents less stressed and babies more comfortable, they’re also saving lives. The innovation was inspired by Jane’s first project, the Embrace Warmer, which was designed for babies in developing worlds who are born prematurely and in need of an incubator. Inspired by the Tom’s 1:1 model, for every $100 of Little Lotus baby products sold, $25 will go toward putting an infant in a third-world country in an Embrace Warmer. Over 3 million babies in the world die in the first 28 days of life—Embrace Innovations and its nonprofit arm, Embrace, is a dual initiative that tries to address this tragedy.

“Passion and hard work part are pretty self-explanatory but ‘do the right thing’ requires a bit more clarification,” Chen told IVY. “To me, I think we all have that internal compass that tells us when we’re in the right place, with the right people, or making the right impact, so I try to intuitively follow that.”

The Little Lotus baby line, which includes swaddles, sleeping bags, and blankets, ships in September and is available for order now on their website. Learn more at www.littlelotusbaby.com.


Jane is a past fellow of TEDIndia and earned a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Prior to her graduate studies, Jane was the Program Director of Chi Heng Foundation, which sponsors the education of children affected by AIDS in central China.