Portland dad's baby bottle brainchild gets a grip on the market

PORTLAND, Ore. - It's said necessity is the mother of invention, but for one Portland dad, it might be the father.

A few years ago, Travis Hendricks noticed his 3-month old daughter, Mathilda, wanted to hold her own baby bottle but couldn't get her little hands around it.

"I thought, well, I should make some little handles for it," Hendricks recalled. "I took one of her existing toys and fashioned it to make a bottle fit into it, and handed it to her and it became her bottle."

Like a lot of kids just learning to talk, she called it her "ba" (pronounced "bah"). And everywhere they went, other parents noticed it - and asked where they could get it.

"It was really the businessman in a Starbucks in Seattle who was really serious about where I got it, and after talking to him, I realized if I don't make this for people, then he was going to," he said.

Travis formed a company, called "the original," with two partners and the "ba" was born, hitting shelves about a year ago both locally and online. And it's selling.

Fellow dad and friend of Hendricks, Ray Gordon, is a fan.

He said it was a milestone for his child when he started using it. "It's like sitting up or anything, or walking, a big moment - you're like, WOW!" he said. "He definitely started learning how to use his hands a little bit more, because of it."

Gordon said the ba has also given him a small measure of freedom. "It liberated one hand," he said with a laugh.

The ba, which costs $15, is available at Canoe in Portland, Chuck's Place in Lake Oswego and online at Amazon.