Ollie The Owl by The Gro Company – Review

We bought Ollie The Owl (on Amazon here) to try and help N get some good sleep (and us!). We bought this before he was born as we heard that white noise is good to help babies sleep at night. And to be fair, shortly after I wrote my poem called ‘An Ode to Sleep‘ N started sleeping through, as you can see in my post about the first time he slept through.

However, having bought Ollie The Owl I thought I should try to give it a review for you to help you decide if you want to get one.

It is good but there are some issues. Hence, I’m giving it four dads out of five.

Ollie The Owl – The Basics

So in essence this is an owl shaped device that you push various buttons on its feet and wings to make different noises.

You can have an orange light on Ollie
You can have an orange light on Ollie

The noises, for example, consist of a tune, some plain white noise, the sounds that they would be familiar with in the womb, such as the mums heartbeat. You can also change the volume.

It also has the ability to have an orange glow to the tummy in case that helps make your baby feel comfortable at night.

The key thing though, the unique selling point is that the Owl will come back on automatically with the last known settings if your child cries. Basically it listens for a cry within three hours of it last being on and will come back on to try and soothe your baby back to sleep.

Ollie The Owl – Usability 5/5

Ollie plus wings and feet buttons
Ollie plus wings and feet buttons

This really couldn’t be much easier to use. All you have to do is push either its wings or feet once, twice or three times.

The one challenge is remembering which wing and which foot do what! However, you’ll find that you will remember which wings and feet to push to select your usual approach to help your baby sleep. Whether that be a dim light plus quiet white noise, or a loud lullaby. You’ll just remember and do it automatically.

As such, it’s very easy to use.

Ollie The Owl – Convenience 4/5

It’s an all in one unit which makes it good. Interestingly the actual part that makes the noise isn’t that big, it’s the big soft Owl that makes it the size it is.

It could do with a flat bottom!
It could do with a flat bottom!

There is a loop at the top of the Owl so that you could attach it to a cot. It fastens with Velcro. However, I personally wouldn’t attach it on the cot just in case N took it off, got it into his cot, and something happened. As such, it would be handy if it had a flat bottom so it could sit easily on a surface (if you put it down on a flat surface now it leans and often falls).

Now the key point to Ollie the Owl is that it should come back on when your baby cries. It does to be fair. It also comes on when your baby trumps. It also comes on sometimes if you’re coming to get into bed later at night (as our little one is still in with us at four months). Sometimes ours has even come on when I’ve heard no sound at all. A bit weird.

Also, the key point is that it should help the baby get back to sleep without you going up to see them when they wake up. Sadly, this doesn’t work for N. I’m not going to say that will be the case for all babies, I’m sure it works for some, just not for N, or at least not yet. However, we think it does help him go to sleep in some way when we are there, i.e. if we didn’t have it then he would take longer for him to go back to sleep. That’s what we think anyway. However, I suspect any white noise device could do that. We’ve tried apps on our phone when we don’t have Ollie and it has worked.

Ollie The Owl – Quality 5/5

I genuinely can’t fault this at all for quality, not one little bit. The part that makes the sound (into which you put the batteries) is feels very solid and sturdy, no rattles for example.

The soft Owl part is made well, of good materials and is very soft. The sound is of good quality and the buttons you press in the wings and feet feel solid enough.

I really can’t fault the quality at all.

Ollie The Owl – Value 3/5

At £34 (on Amazon at time of publishing) it’s not cheap by any measure. I certainly think that having some sort of device that creates white noise is a good thing as (i) it’s background noise so other sounds in the house don’t disturb N and (ii) it seems to be noticeable that he sleeps worse when there is no white noise. However, do you have to pay £34 for it? I’m not so sure. You see N doesn’t go back to sleep on his own yet just by the sound of the owl. He’s nearly five months old now and there’s no impact in this way, if he screams, the owl comes on but he just keeps screaming.

Perhaps this will change when he is older (hopefully!). As such, we are not yet getting benefit from this element, unless when he makes a tiny noise, the owl comes on and soothes him. Perhaps it’s just when he is really kicking off it has no chance, but for the smaller disturbances maybe it works and we don’t see. As such, I can only confirm that it doesn’t soothe him back to sleep when he really kicks off.

As such, given the price and the lack of perceived benefit from the automatic noise feature, there are cheaper white noise devices out there. Maybe it will change and we will see more use from this automatic feature in the future though.

Ollie The Owl – Summary

Well, let’s put it this way. When we are packing to go away it’s one of the first things we pack. If he sleeps well then we sleep well, and if this helps in any way then we will use it.

We do think it helps, particularly him getting to sleep to start with and then supports us when we are trying to get him back to sleep if he wakes up. The fact that it’s automated helps too so you can focus on getting him to settle without fumbling around in the dark trying to find it in the middle of the night. However, as I say, this automatic feature has not stopped us needing to intervene that we have noticed.

Are there things that would improve it? A couple, recognising a cry rather than the baby trumping or a cough would be good. Also being able to stand it on a flat surface would be good too.

Would I recommend one though, knowing the limitations? Yes I would recommend it on the hope the automatic feature has more impact when he is older. You’ll get use out of this every single night for a long time, so buy high quality.

Read my other reviews here.

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