Pre-Baby Baby Planners: The Next Frontier

Hi Readers — Here you go, the next new profession: Baby planners. As wedding planners are to weddings, baby planners are to babies, helping future moms arrange their homes, buy the goods, and prepare themselves mentally and physically for the coming bambino, at least according to etnrnsikey
this fascinating piece
in Tampa Bay Online.

On the one hand, I sympathize with the moms-to-be. Babies R Us — a store that didn’t even EXIST when I was born — is filled to the brim now with 10,000 items. It would be nice to have someone clearheaded cut to the chase. (“Is a 3-month nipple dangerous for a 2-month-old?” “No.” “Do I need an infrared baby monitor?” “No.” “Should I be playing some language tapes to my fetus?” “Nyet.”) And yet…here we go again with the professionalization of something pretty basic.


Let us just reiterate here: You can hire someone to make the nursery perfect but the nursery doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be a nursery. The toys can be used, the baby shower can be a potluck affair and the birthing plan can easily end up out the window, same as most military plans do once the battle has begun. As with life itself, it’s fine to plan, but it’s also good to remember humans have been raising mini-humans for hundreds of thousands of years, and until now we managed to do it without hiring someone to pick out the perfect rocking chair.

Or even, way back when, the perfect rock. — Lenore

71 Responses to Pre-Baby Baby Planners: The Next Frontier

  1. Marcy December 4, 2009 at 4:18 am #

    “A mother today looks a lot different than a mother 15 years ago,” Beach said. “She is powerful. She is strong. She is knowledgeable. Women today know it’s OK to ask for help. That’s a victory for all of us.”


  2. Paul December 4, 2009 at 4:18 am #

    Somebody to knock some sense into us and tell us not to buy so much crap before our first kid would have been worth their weight in gold

  3. Michelle December 4, 2009 at 4:23 am #

    My biggest problem when I was pregnant with my son is that I didn’t know WHAT to buy. I had one of my friends (with a kid) take me to Babies R Us and tell me what to register for. If I didn’t have her, I would’ve missed minor things. I never felt a need to have everything be perfect, but I was pretty clueless.

  4. N December 4, 2009 at 4:26 am #

    Parenthood has turned into a huge marketing scheme. I know with my first, I really thought I had to have everything, and everything had to be new, or I wasn’t doing it right. Or maybe I wasn’t going to love my baby enough or correctly or something. Those insecure feelings of mothers-to-be are feasted upon by marketers. There is so much waste created, and so much money wasted, by the expectations of new parents that it has become obscene.

  5. Carrie December 4, 2009 at 4:38 am #

    Buying a ton of new stuff and having someone dictate your next steps is overkill, but having a birth plan in a society where births have gone from natural functions to medical interventions is a good idea. Consulting with a midwife our doula for birthing support is a good idea. It’s nice to have an advocate. Now having Martin Short’s “Father of the Bride” wedding planner for a mother-to-be planner… Not so much. Put that money into a savings account for your kids’ educations.

  6. aDad December 4, 2009 at 4:42 am #

    This sounds like stuff that the parents-to-be’s moms and aunts and friends with kids would have done back in the day. Do we really need a professional for this?

  7. Delphine December 4, 2009 at 4:46 am #


    I love the idea of midwives. I didn’t even know about them until a friend of mine decided she wanted to become a midwife. Upon research, I found hospitals in America give 1/3 of their pregnant people c-sections, some give as many as 1/2 of their pregnant women c-sections! Totally appalling. I think I’m probably using a midwife when I get pregnant in the future. Considering my minimalist style, most likely my future nursery will be filled with old junk people give me.

  8. Michelle December 4, 2009 at 4:48 am #

    I am expecting my third in June. I will be buying absolutely nothing for this child because: 1) I have hand-me-downs from my two previous children and (more importantly) 2) I discovered that we don’t really need 90% of the things that we were told we HAD to have. Diaper changing station-worthless. Who wants to trek up two flights of stairs to change a diaper every hour? Mobile – even more worthless, as both kids hated it. Mittens to keep them from scratching their faces- what a joke. They learned how to flail their little hands hard enough to whip them off. Other useless items that we were told we wold DIE without included: tummy time surfboard, sleep positioner, vibrating baby seat, Bumbo, fleece carseat cover and bottle sanitizing microwave bags. I would love to have all the money back that was spent on all that junk. It is sickening to me to think that most people are convinced that they need to have these things in order to be good parents. It is absolutely not the case.

  9. Vinnie Bartilucci December 4, 2009 at 4:53 am #

    For a generation so willing to question authority and doubt everything they hear, they swallow a lot of crap. It all comes down to if it’s what you want to hear, you don’t question it as much.

    Of course, there’s always been people telling us what we need. One of Albert Brooks’ classic scenes features a salesman (played by his own brother, the man better known as “Super Dave” Osborne) talking him into hundreds of dollars of the “right” running gear.

    It’s just that nowadays, there’s much less people laughing at this behavior, and much more following it religiously.

  10. sylvia_rachel December 4, 2009 at 4:58 am #

    My first reaction is that this is ridiculous — orders of magnitude more ridiculous than the concept of the wedding planner (which I also find pretty ridiculous).

    But if, on the other hand, a baby planner turned out to be that one person willing to say, for example, “Dude. Get a grip. You do NOT need a $300 bassinet, a $600 crib, and a $150 Moses basket” or “There is seriously nothing your baby could care less about than whether the nursery wallpaper matches the nursery curtains”, then that would be a Good Thing …

  11. Krista December 4, 2009 at 5:01 am #

    Wow. I’m expecting my first baby in May and I really don’t get what’s supposed to be so overwhelming about it.

    I’m buying diapers, a car seat, a playpen (instead of a crib) and some clothes. End of list. End of research.

  12. Denise Schipani December 4, 2009 at 5:02 am #

    And you know, when the baby gets a bit older, you can hire someone to childproof your house. You know, if you’re not bright enough on your own to figure out that you should put the Steuben glass up high. Sometimes I think maybe I missed my calling.

    You can also, by the way, hire someone to consult as you name your child. To choose the “right” name (that’ll look good on the college application?)


  13. Tam December 4, 2009 at 5:13 am #

    Denise, you’re on to something with the child naming. Who knew the name you give your child would be so political within a family?! I might’ve paid $ for a scapegoat. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  14. Michelle the Uber F**** Haus Frau(song ref,lol December 4, 2009 at 5:39 am #

    (Suprised someone remembered Super Dave Osborn!)

    Silly silly stuff, when I was expecting my son we really did nopt have anyone to help us out, but we managed to get prepared for the baby. Women don’t need hired proffessionals, just do your own research and know your options.

    Krista, I reccomend you at least get a crib, the mats in play pens are flat and hard, kinda crappy for sleeping on. They only last so long, mine until he was 9 months(walked by 8 1/2, though), and had to convert

  15. MFA Grad December 4, 2009 at 5:41 am #

    They have baby planner what nows?? Good lord – if there’s an afterlife, my mother is laughing her head off. A bunch of my friends just had their first children and all they seemed to need were what I always assumed were baby basics: stroller, crib, carseat (or some nifty combo), clothes, pacifier, a couple of toys, wipes and diapers (lots of diapers). All were picked according to need/budget/”hey, that Superman onsie is awfully cute…” A bit overwhelming? Sure – but never once did any of them ever say, “Gee, you know what I’d like to spend money on? Hiring someone to tell me what else I should spend money on for my kid because it’s too hard to figure it out on our own!” Whoever came up with turning baby-planner into an actual business is an evil supervillain genius.

    @ Denise – Seriously? They have people who make money as child-name choosing consultants? Where do people come up with this stuff???

  16. Mrs. H. December 4, 2009 at 5:44 am #

    “”Both my husband and I have intense professional jobs,” Blair said. “A lot of the things April does you can also do yourself, but it does take a lot of time and we just did not have it. ”

    This person doesn’t have time to choose a crib, but she thinks she has time to be a mother? She is in for a rude awakening (every hour or two for months, in fact)

  17. Krista December 4, 2009 at 5:45 am #

    @michelle Thanks, I should clarify, we’re getting the playpen because we’ll be moving across the country within about 3 months of the baby’s arrival. And it will have a bassinette attachment that should be a bit comfier for the squirt.

  18. Rachel December 4, 2009 at 5:53 am #

    We were pretty low-key with #1 and I still think we ended up buying stuff we didn’t need. I remember looking at the baby registry for the wife of a college friend and being freaked at all the stuff she thought she needed. 2 baby monitors. A pad to tell you if the baby stopped moving for more than 20 seconds. An electronic reminder thingy for feeding, changing, sleeping (hint, the baby will let you know). actually she had 4 different registries–we didn’t even have one, which was a great thing in the end.

  19. Michelle the Uber F**** Haus Frau(song reference) December 4, 2009 at 6:00 am #

    (Suprised someone remembered Super Dave Osborn!)

    Silly silly stuff, when I was expecting my son we really did nopt have anyone to help us out, but we managed to get prepared for the baby. Women don’t need hired proffessionals, just do your own research and know your options.

    Krista, the mats in play pens are flat and hard, kinda crappy for sleeping on. They only last so long, mine until he was 9 months(walked by 8 1/2, though) when figured out how to climb it. Unless you can find a mattress to fit a pen, I reccommend a crib. For just in case, add bottles and a case of formula to your list, even if you are intent on breastfeeding…sometimes the milk just doesn’t come and it’s good to have a back up.

  20. Taking a Chance on Baby December 4, 2009 at 6:05 am #

    To the people who said OMG I don’t know what to buy for my child’s nursery…

    It’s called a book. They’re made of paper with squiggles some of us refer to as “words” on them. They explain in great detail what pregnancy is like and what all the tests you’re getting done are for. They give advice. There are other books for when the baby comes out…and several even discuss which products are good and which ones aren’t. For those of you who are allergic to paper, I humbly submit that there are BLOGS and WEBSITES with the same info.

    Why you would let BRU tell you anything is beyond me. They’re a store. They don’t exist unless you spend money. Therefore, they’re going to try to get you to spend as much as humanly possible.

  21. LauraL December 4, 2009 at 6:10 am #

    here’s a current discussion of just what really is needed:

  22. Helen December 4, 2009 at 6:17 am #

    That is quite hilarious. Maybe they could also offer counseling on buying the perfect push present and which tutor to hire to get your kid through the interview for pre-school.

  23. Joie December 4, 2009 at 6:22 am #

    Baby planners, huh…
    Well, I do wish we knew more people that raised their children like we do. We use the Attachment parenting method, mostly.
    So, we found we did not need a crib, bottles, pacifiers, bouncers, stroller or so many toys, etc.
    We did find we needed multiple slings, guard rail, many more onsies and jammies than we anticipated by far.
    When my little ones were ready, they went from our bed to their own big bed.
    I think it is more important to figure out how you plan to raise your children and then decide what you will need based on that.
    I also recommend renting a breast pump from the hospital first to see if you even respond to it. I spent $315 on my top of the line pump (that I did feel was important) and I didn’t even respond to it, even with help from lactation consultants and many tries. Ever since I have heard more stories like mine. So I thought I might pass that along to you. Thanks goodness I was and am able to stay home with my children.
    Best of luck to all of you preggo mommas!

  24. Ashley December 4, 2009 at 6:25 am #

    Ok, I feel compelled to defend my profession. I am one of those hated wedding planners, and it drives me nuts how many people are willing to bash what I do when they have no idea what service I provide.

    The simple fact of the matter is that it is incredibly rare for a woman to get married in the small town she’s lived in her whole life, which her friends and parents are still living in, and where she’s been to enough weddings to know who all the good vendors are OR have family with the time and resources to throw a wedding.

    On the day of a wedding I spend hours (usually 6 or more) setting up both the ceremony and reception location. For the record, at least where I live, the venue WILL NOT do that. Do you want your mom and friends (who presumably are coming in from out of town) to spend the morning of your wedding stringing lights from the ceiling?

    Most vendors refuse to do some of the presumed functions of their job. I have yet to find a DJ who’ll actually set the schedule of a wedding reception and follow it, or a hotel that will actually make sure the wedding is set up according to plan and on time. And then if you get married at a place that doesn’t have coordinator, like your local park district, you need someone there to actually set everything up.

    Also, what if you’re the first of your friends to get married, or never been to a wedding in your adult life (true for me when I got married)? How will you know who’s good and who’s not in your town? Well, I do. My knowledge saves brides money, and for every single full service wedding I’ve done, I’ve more than paid for myself. The last one I charged $900 and I estimate I saved her $1500.

    Almost all of my clients have been busy or in otherwise ‘non-traditional’ situations. One was building a house, physically, while planning a wedding. Several were grad students. One has a disabled mother and was living on the other end of the world (I”m in the US, she’s in Australia). Many have had kids and and every client of mine had full time jobs with friend with full time jobs and parents with full time jobs. Most haven’t had a creative bone in their body and wanted to spend somewhere between $50-$300 on non-floral centerpieces (which I construct, transport, etc.) instead of the $1000 minimum on those made by a florist. Also, almost all of them had guests who expected the moon; I had one guest once tell me to my face that my job was “bullshit” but this was the same person who expected everything to be set up prior to their arrival at an outdoor wedding, despite the fact that it’d been pouring out all day (and stopped one hour before the wedding started.).

    So really, hiring a wedding planner isn’t a luxury, stupid, or frivolous. It recognizes the changing nature of our society (seriously, who here lives in teh same town they grew up in, that their parents and all close friends live in) and saves you money and countless headaches.


    Back on topic, baby planners what/!?!

  25. Jamie December 4, 2009 at 6:37 am #

    I’m due any minute with my first and I’ve had to fight tooth and nail with the rest of the world to keep unnecessary baby crap out of my small 2 bedroom condo.
    I declined a shower, and people acted as if I was going to have to take out a 2nd mortgage to be able to afford to prepare for this baby.
    We accepted a few gifts (both first time grandparents were very generous) and some of our very close friends and relatives were eager to contribute, and for that we are grateful. We accepted alot of hand me downs and craigslist was a dream. But honestly, it was an uphill battle to keep things under control.

    The world says that everything will kill your baby..and truthfully, it will. Medicine given incorrectly could kill your baby, the cat sleeping on your babies face could kill your baby, the ceiling could cave in and kill your baby. Babies are delicate, and its probably not that hard to kill a baby. But honestly….with a little common sense, I have to come believe that its also not that hard to NOT kill your baby.

    They sell a safety device for everything and the motto of the baby industry is….isn’t your babies life worth it? Won’t you feel terrible if something happens because you were too cheap to spend X dollars on this device?

    And the answer is of course my baby’s life is worth more than any amount of money, and of course if something happens to my baby I’m going to feel terrible. But I can’t buy something for everything, so I will take reasonable precautions.

  26. Olivia December 4, 2009 at 7:31 am #

    I agree with what some people wrote here – that if this baby planner was going to be someone who would tell the mom she did NOT need 90% of the stuff in Babies R Us in order to keep her kids alive and mentally stimulated, it isn’t all bad. But somehow, I have a feeling these are more going to be the ones suggesting matching nursery sets and top of the line everything. After all, if you can pay for a baby planner, you can probably pay for the rest of it, even if you don’t need it.

    In our case, baby number 3 is due in about six weeks and we haven’t even pulled the crib out of storage yet. We’ll get to it, either before she’s born or while I am in the hospital before she comes home. Oh, and her nursery? My room. I think she’ll survive. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Alexicographer December 4, 2009 at 8:14 am #

    @Ashley I’d be an advocate of simpler weddings over wedding planners, but eh, if people are willing to pay for your services, more power to you, and to them. I’m delighted to assume that given what they want you provide good value.

    Baby planners in comparison seem something of an oddity. I’m willing to concede that if one wants an elaborate and perhaps out-of-town wedding, then there’s a bunch that needs to happen all at once in one (or several) places. But except for the birth/medical aspect of the little one’s arrival (which clearly isn’t what these planners are about), there’s precious little a new baby needs that can’t be delayed until a week or a month (or more) after that arrival, so I don’t get the value of a baby planner, especially in an era when strollers, crib sheets, and so forth can in a pinch be ordered online.

  28. Diane December 4, 2009 at 8:17 am #

    Having been a professional nanny for 11 years before my daughter was born I didn’t get suckered into buying a bunch of unnecessary stuff for her. Her crib came from a yard sale, most of her clothes from consignment shops, her highchair, car seat and travel crib came from a parents swap meet at a neighborhood church. I highly recommend parents swap meets. A lot of quality sometimes barely used things for very little money can be found there. The only wasted expense was buying bottles and pacifiers; she would have nothing to do with either.

    She’s now a happy, healthy, witty, sarcastic 11 year old with no lasting memory or permanent psychological damage from her hand-me-down infancy.

  29. Kashmir December 4, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    My kid wore hand me downs from garage sales for the first three years of life. His crib was a loaner. His first bed was a 40 year old rescue from the curb. I did have a wipe warmer but stopped using it after the first winter. The invaluables? Multiple bottles, sippy cups, cabinet locks (yep, I put them up and it was a good idea, too. Remind me to tell you about the time I caught him eating spackle.) and a bottle drying rack. The rest of it I could have borrowed.

    $30,000 on a nursery? Hellfrakkin’ NO! That’s just ghod’s way of saying you’re making too much money.

  30. Kristie December 4, 2009 at 8:33 am #

    Denise, it’s funny that you mention the Steuben glass. MIL actually has a collection that she kept on a series of low shelves in their living room, and she was bound and determined that it’d stay there. FIL intervened, and it’s put up high now.

  31. KarenW December 4, 2009 at 8:47 am #

    “This person doesnโ€™t have time to choose a crib, but she thinks she has time to be a mother?”
    Mrs. H, I love this point. But chances are, she will just hire somebody to raise the kid, too.

  32. pentamom December 4, 2009 at 9:15 am #

    “Mrs. H, I love this point. But chances are, she will just hire somebody to raise the kid, too.”

    But when will she have time to give birth?

  33. Mama2Ways December 4, 2009 at 9:28 am #

    Sometimes I think that parents feel that if they buy a lot of pricey and name brand things, it’s compensastion for the feelings of inadequacy that parenthood brings.

  34. Olivia December 4, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    “Sometimes I think that parents feel that if they buy a lot of pricey and name brand things, itโ€™s compensastion for the feelings of inadequacy that parenthood brings.”

    Probably true – but I don’t think it would bring such strong feelings of inadequacy if there wasn’t an entire industry out there telling moms that they cannot trust their own instincts, that unless they do things a certain way and buy certain products they are harming their children, and that EVERY SINGLE THING is likely to kill those children if the experts aren’t heeded at every turn.

    I swear there was a time when people figured mothers knew what they were doing, even if they were pretty new mothers. And if they didn’t, they asked their families. Now we’re supposed to ignore everyone but the experts. No wonder mothers are feeling so inadequate when it comes to the job of parenting – yes, it’s hard no matter what, but make a new mom feel like she can’t trust her own instincts, and it’s a LOT harder.

  35. Dragonwolf December 4, 2009 at 9:57 am #

    “But when will she have time to give birth?”

    Don’t you know? She’s squeezing in a C-section next week during her lunch break!

  36. mindystricke December 4, 2009 at 10:05 am #

    I think services like this are just more evidence in the breakdown of community. Once upon a time (and hopefully still for many of us), you would be given this help by the people around you– for free.

    Related to this though is the fact that although there are many items that are a waste, there are others that are really useful precisely because the culture we live in has less community. When I gave birth last year, I too went the basic route like many of you. I had almost nothing when the baby was born, and then received lots of hand-me-down clothes and loaned items, which was great. But I have to say that for all the people who said before my daughter was born: “You don’t need anything! She can sleep in a box!” I found that certain items were totally crucial for helping us to survive in the first year. The fact is that when you don’t have a community of aunts and cousins and your mom living right next door to pass the baby off to when you need a break, that the used swing comes in really handy and the borrowed exersaucer helped keep me sane.

  37. Teacher Tom December 4, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    My daughter spent the first year of her life sleeping in a walk-in closet.

  38. sylvia_rachel December 4, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    You know, the more I think about it, the more I think this would be a good job for me. I mean, my minimalist approach to getting ready for a baby would save people a TON of money. “Don’t buy a crib now,” I’d tell them. “Wait a few months until you figure out whether the baby’s ever going to sleep in it. Do you have any friends you could borrow a bassinet from? Great! We can cross that off the list. You don’t need fitted sheets for the bassinet; just use a clean pillowcase. Here’s a list of stores that sell second-hand baby stuff; you should be able to get three kinds of baby carriers second-hand for the price of one new one, so you won’t be stuck with an expensive one that you hate. You don’t really want that stroller, do you? Look at it, it’s the size of a Humvee! And anyway, those crappy wheels are going to get stuck in the snow in about two seconds.” And so on.

    @Ashley — I’m sure wedding planners are very helpful for some people. I just can’t see paying someone to plan my wedding when my mom was so happy to do it for free ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, I got married 12 years ago, so what do I know?

  39. BMS December 4, 2009 at 10:49 am #

    I am every day more grateful for my adopted kids. They came home at 6 months and 5 months of age. I didn’t have to worry: “Ohmygod I had a glass of wine when I was 3 weeks pregnant and didn’t know it what have I done??”. I didn’t need to obsess over a birthing plan, and feel like a failure if the birth didn’t go the way I intended. Because the arrival date was not precisely known, people didn’t really go crazy loading me up with a lot of junk I didn’t need. We gratefully accepted a good car seat and an exersaucer, along with a few other little things. But everything else – bought used, or did without. We made sure the kids had a safe (free hand me down) crib to sleep in, and then figured out what we needed as we went along. Somehow, they lived.

  40. Tracy Lucas December 4, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    I have a 14-month-old, and I live with extended family, so the idea of “baby proofing” is a joke. There are eight of us. There are so many objects belonging to soooo many people lying in sooooooooo many places… there’s NO way.

    Solution? We taught him to leave stuff alone.

    No, we don’t leave him unattended in the kitchen for hours at a time, but when we’re in the living room and he’s playing on the floor, he knows which areas/items will get him yelled at and which ones are his toys.

    I also didn’t buy anything new; actually, not anything at all, if I remember correctly, other than a couple of cutesy outfits that I found on clearance at Wal-Mart. We do lots of consignment sales, and when he outgrows the stuff, we sell it again and get older-kid items at the same sales. I’ve been spending the same exact $200 on the boy since he was born!

    My friends know me well enough to have been okay with the idea of even giving me some used stuff as gifts at my baby shower — from used bibs to a hand-me-down bassinet that several of my relatives slept in — and I loved that about those folks, that they knew me that well. Other friends bought new items, (which, hey, I also loved — free stuff that they didn’t have to get me!), but those friends were also parents, and therefore knew which things actually mattered: warm clothes, a few different styles of bottles so we could see which he would cooperate with, and seven or eight mega-boxes of Costco diapers. I don’t think I actually BOUGHT a single pack of diapers until the child was six months old, and wipes until even later.

    All that said, I will admit to being one of those who used a Angelcare monitor (the one with the motion detector and alarm if the baby stops moving and/or breathing that someone mentioned.)

    Reason? I have a backstory — that I won’t get into here — with infant bereavement (though I haven’t lost a child myself), and I also had paranoid first-time mom post-preg hormones coursing through my blood. You know that thing where you wake up in the middle of the night those first few months, and watch the chest rise and fall, just in case? I did that about HALF as much once we had the monitor.

    Do you know how much more sleep that got me, an exhausted post-C-section mother!? TOTALLY worth it. Totally.

    Not to mention, it went off a few times on me… a couple of times were false alarms. Once wasn’t.

    I think the lesson in Lenore’s post is to yeah, get the things that matter to you.

    But for God’s sake, don’t get the things that matter to EVERYONE, and certainly not BRU!

  41. Alison December 4, 2009 at 12:12 pm #

    “A mother today looks a lot different than a mother 15 years ago,” Beach said. “She is powerful. She is strong. She is knowledgeable. Women today know it’s OK to ask for help. That’s a victory for all of us.”

    Fifteen years ago, I was pregnant with my first child. I had no idea I wasn’t powerful, strong, or knowledgeable. [insert eyeroll here]

  42. Alison Fairfield December 4, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    I used a baby planner, correction … I married a baby planner. What can I say, my guy loves to (in equal measure ) research and shop.

    Sure we over bought for our first child, but as we were planning on three it all worked out, esp our sleek Maclaren ($300!) stroller.

    Back in the day I was about the only mom in the South who wasn’t pushing around a baby-SUV.

  43. Mike December 4, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    A lot of baby product advertising is a variation of “If you don’t buy our products, your baby will DIE!”

    Baby is only safe if parents SPEND SPEND SPEND. Sorry, not buying it (literally).

  44. Robin December 4, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    I guess I was just too practical to buy a lot of stupid stuff. The best thing i did buy that I thought was indispensible was my glider rocker with the footstool. Wow. It was great. When my second was on the way I thought I just “had” to have a double stroller or I wouldn’t survive. We found a very inexpensive used one. The few times I used it at the mall it was more trouble than it was worth and that was about the time my first decided he didn’t want to ride anymore. If I was a baby planner I’d tell the moms to wait until the baby is actually here and then figure out what you might want.

  45. Casey December 4, 2009 at 1:26 pm #

    I have to admit that I would hire someone (if such a person was around) to come into my home now that my baby is weaned, just to help me figure out a better system for getting things done! I seriously don’t know how to get my house tidy (even remotely) get the laundry done while still feeding my child.

    I find the feeding part to be the most frustrating!!! I try so hard to cook her some healthy food that she will like at a reasonable time…most of the time I end up practically having a panic attack because it’s 10 min after her supper time and I have no idea what to make…then I make something and she refuses to eat it!

    So, I can see that it would be nice to have someone help me figure it all out. I mean, not so much what products I need, but how to get a handle on things when you have a baby who you want the very very best for. Ha, just this morning I noticed that I had washed my hair with my body wash – when you’re so behind/skatterbrained it would be nice to have someone to help you schedule you time reasonably:-)

  46. Karen December 4, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    When I was pregnant folks would ask me what “theme” I had picked out for my nursery. I would answer that my “theme” was “whatever anyone gives us for free” . . .

  47. Laura V. December 4, 2009 at 9:07 pm #

    my husband and i subscribe to the (tongue in cheek) “1 billion Chinese” theory of child-rearing — which is to say that there are 1 billion (or so) Chinese, the bulk of whom have access to far fewer parenting/child-rearing amenities, and yet they are probably the most-populous nation on earth.

  48. Marion December 4, 2009 at 11:10 pm #

    When I had my first child, I had to push against the current standards. I begged, borrowed, and bought used many things. People were shocked. “A used crib could be dangerous!” Nope, a NEW crib could be dangerous. A used crib had been of the market long enough that it had been test-driven by thousands of consumers. I can call the company and check for recalls, and if it HAD been recalled, I could have it fixed or replaced for free. a NEW crib hasn’t been test-driven yet, and could get recalled in the next few years.

    Yes, I put my kids in adorable outfits I found at yard sales. Why spend $50 for an outfit they outgrow in 2 months, when I can spend $2 for the same outfit at a yard sale?

    Temperature testers for the bath or for food? A complete waste of money. Diaper genies are actually pretty gross, a regular trashcan with a lid, and taking the trash out regularly, works just as well.

  49. jim December 4, 2009 at 11:26 pm #

    Well, hello there Alison Fairfield. Fancy meeting you here! This talk about diaper genies (whatever that is) versus trash cans reminded me of something I taught Alison – if you are going to have a kid, plant a pine tree in the yard. When you take the trash-bag-with-diapers out to the big can outside, rake up a handful of pine needles and throw it in the trash can to kill the baby-poop smell. Unfortunately, Alison’s two oldest were long out of diapers before this occured to me, but it will keep your trash can from smelling like an outhouse.

  50. sylvia_rachel December 4, 2009 at 11:55 pm #

    @Karen — LOL! I got a bit of that from the in-laws. Then I would remind them that we lived in a one-bedroom flat and there wasn’t going to be a nursery, and then I would laugh my a$$ off when they followed up by suggesting that we should buy a nice crib and put it in the living room “so we could have our space”. o_O

  51. CLT December 5, 2009 at 12:03 am #

    “If this is something you feel is going to put a strain on your budget, absolutely there’s no reason to feel it’s a must do.”

    The fact that they felt the need to include this line speaks volumes about our society. And the planner interviews midwives and nannies? Did she pick their spouse, too? In the time it would take for the planner to get to know the client well enough to make a good midwife match, the lady could have interviewed ten herself.

  52. Mindy Stricke December 5, 2009 at 12:31 am #

    As an aside, I just want to point out that for some of us in snowy walking cities, the huge stroller with the big wheels is necessary if you actually want to be able to get out of the house and cross the street (over the huge snow banks). I get a little defensive about my stroller sometimes when I’m in warmer climates with it and it looks like I’m pushing a dune buggy. But in an urban area that stroller is our car!

    Which is why although I’m not a fan at all of consumer culture, I am into products that help make a moms lives easier and less stressful (and less isolating). And for each mom (and dad) those items are often going to vary completely–what is one person’s indispensable is another person’s waste of time and money. Which is why we should all lend each other these things to be able to try them out first.

  53. Brian December 5, 2009 at 1:19 am #

    My wife and I used a Doula with our second kid (first kid was an emergency C section, and we were happy to have a doctor who would even consider a vaginal birth after that). As a professional pregnancy helper (imagine a birthing partner who had been through a hundred pregnancies), she was great.

    During that time, if she had also helped us figure out what crap we needed and didn’t need to buy, that would have been yet another great help. We didn’t ask, but in retrospect, I wish we had. because we certainly ended up with too much junk.

  54. K December 5, 2009 at 2:52 am #

    My first kid: full nursery, crib, changing table, monitor, stuff, mounds of plastic crap. Had a carrier, swing, seats, and other household obstacles. We had a duffel-sized diaper bag with all kinds of stuff and nonsense.

    By the third kid – I’d narrowed things down a bit: he co-slept (had a travel-yard in our room for naps), had some onesies, receiving blankets, and a few diapers (an extra and a baggie with a few wipes for travel, my breasts were always along). We changed him on our bathroom counter (on a pad), and carried him in a sling. He played on the floor with the dog.

    All three kids are doing fine. I don’t think we damaged the first too much with all of the extraneous devices.

  55. K December 5, 2009 at 2:55 am #

    Casey – Read “super baby food”. My kids had mostly home-made baby food (cheap and easy – and I work outside the home). Frozen in ice cubes so you can thaw as needed. Add some smushed cooked sweet potato, soft tofu, banana, and avocado – mine thrived.

  56. sylvia_rachel December 5, 2009 at 4:32 am #

    @Mindy Stricke — I live in Toronto, where the snowplow-heaps are of legendary proportions, and your comment articulates exactly why I never used a stroller in the winter at all ;). I spent some serious money on a pair of really warm, grippy snow boots, though…

  57. quantuminspiration December 5, 2009 at 6:18 am #

    I think the best thing one can do is read The Ringing Cedars Series by Vladmir Megrรฉ. It will change your life and how you see things. (I am in the process of changing my life for my 2 boys.) aiko

  58. Gail December 5, 2009 at 7:23 am #

    @Sylvia – Try Ottawa!! Bicycle/jogging trailer + a pair of boot grips were a necessity for getting my kids to school and preschool. Between the year I was pregnant with my second and my husband needed the car for work, the year of near-record snowfall, and the year of the bus strike, I wouldn’t have survived without those things. On the other hand … baby wipe warmer, WTF? I had one in my closet for years, that came as a hand-me-down, and I never figured out why anyone would feel the need for such a thing.

  59. sylvia_rachel December 6, 2009 at 2:07 am #

    @Gail — yeah, I’ve been to Ottawa in the winter. Brrr. If I ever did want to use a stroller, I would for sure opt for a good-quality jogger over one of those SUV-type “travel systems” (like the one my sisters-in-law bought us as a shower gift, which I used for about three months of my daughter’s life: the summer just before she turned 1, when I was still on mat leave, there was no snow, and she had stopped shrieking until she turned purple the millisecond her body made contact with the stroller). I was fortunate, I guess, not to have two close together — I was able to carry DD in the sling until she was old enough to clamber over the snowplow-heaps herself. (It also helped that it took her 2 years to hit 20 pounds. But wow, what a weight-loss aid…)

    I am so totally with you on the baby wipe warmer — WTF? The first time I heard someone mention those, I thought they must be making it up, as a joke …

  60. silvermine December 6, 2009 at 3:04 am #

    I think it would be handy to have someone say “Hey, you don’t need a $300 diaper pail” but something tells me professional baby planners probably just encourage you to buy more crap, not less.

    Oh! On the bottle sanitizing microwave bag — useless for most people, but very valuable for a working mom who pumps milk 3 times a day and wants a fast clean up. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m also due with baby #3 in about 8 weeks (but the other two came early…) and we can’t find the bolts for the crib. Heck, the baby can sleep in a drawer or a laundry basket if she has to. The kids never liked the crib anyway…

    I’m sure we bought way too much with #1. It really didn’t have to do with keeping up with the other people or anything. I was just scared and I like to over-plan. He was a pretty high-needs little thing, so having a bouncy chair and a sling and a rocker was actually helpful. ๐Ÿ˜€ But I’m sure there was other stuff we never used or could have lived without. ๐Ÿ˜›

  61. Mindy Stricke December 6, 2009 at 3:56 am #

    That’s funny, I always thought that my jogging stroller was considered an SUV stroller, since it’s so big. I live in Toronto too, by the way–and almost everyone I know has a jogging stroller if they live in the downtown area. And I’ve heard of some store owners banning them from stores.

    We could probably make a pretty funny list of ridiculous baby items though, starting with the baby wipe warmers. Another one I don’t understand is the refrigerator lock. My baby is definitely not strong enough to get into the fridge, and even if she could I’d certainly notice.

  62. sylvia_rachel December 6, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    @Mindy — strollers have probably evolved since I last used one (my daughter’s 7 now). I always found mine a giant pain in the a$$, but that may be largely because I used it so rarely that I never quite got the hang of folding it up one-handed (allegedly a feature) or manoeuvring it easily. I had friends and acquaintances who swore by their (various types of) strollers … I just found the sling and the Baby Trekker SO MUCH EASIER if we had to do anything other than walk around the neighbourhood not going into stores ๐Ÿ˜‰

  63. Gail December 6, 2009 at 10:36 am #

    @sylvia_rachel – strollers are constantly evolving. After 8 years of near continuous use (kids are 4 years apart and I was walking some major distances that required them to ride even when they were a bit older), I’ve finally stopped using them but I still get stroller envy when I see some of the ones they have now. I would have loved to be a sling kind of mom, but they were way too heavy and quite frankly I never really got the hang of it.

  64. buy cradle swing December 6, 2009 at 8:27 pm #

    Best article. I like and happy.

  65. Ian B December 7, 2009 at 3:49 am #

    I set up a camera on my eldest when she was a baby, and I wished it had infrared. Wasn’t for keeping tabs on her so much as seeing what kind of insane sleeping positions or trouble she managed to get herself into when left to her own self.

    As entertainment goes, It was WAY better than cable.

  66. Ian B December 7, 2009 at 3:57 am #

    I agree with the comment earlier that suggested that what every parent needs in a baby planner is someone to slap some sense into them and dissuade them from buying thousands of dollars of useless crap. And tell them what’s truly important, like avoiding the car seats that have a nasty history of decapitating its occupants in a side-impact collision (yes, you can get those at BRU!) and spending the money on something truly important.

    It amazes me how so many parents will spend weeks agonizing over the perfect nursery decor, and then buy the first carseat they see without doing any research, because it had a cute pattern on it and it matched the interior of the Benz.

  67. Ian B December 7, 2009 at 4:01 am #

    As for childproofing experts, you already have one in your house. Look for a small person, about 2 feet tall and tooling around on all fours. She’ll point out the weaknesses in your defensive posture, and then demonstrate to you how to circumvent the defenses once they’ve been fortified.

  68. Mrs Embers December 7, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    Ian B- I’d love to know what carseat decapitates kids…

    Sadly, matching the interior of one’s Benz isn’t the only reason for not doing heaps of research- some people can only afford the cheapest options. It seems that when new technology comes out that makes carseats safer (ie higher side-impact ratings and hey, maybe not decapitating kids), it’s only available in higher-end products, the ones many people with kids just can’t afford.

    Strangely enough, I’m willing to bet that if a company made a carseat that had an insanely high safety rating at a reasonable price, tons of people wouldn’t buy it simply because they felt like they needed to spend more money in order to be a good parent.

  69. buy cradle swing December 7, 2009 at 11:43 pm #

    Look! Pre-Baby Baby Planners: The Next Frontier

  70. Emily December 8, 2009 at 5:13 am #

    I’m expecting my first child, and have spent quite a bit of time perusing the stacks of childbirth books at Barnes & Noble. And yes, Virginia, there are pregnancy planners – which struck me as absolutely ludicrous! There’s only so much planning one can do before nature takes over and dumps all our plans on our head. But the illusion of control, it is seductive and pervasive…

    I suppose one could say that these products are good for keeping track of things a mommy-to-be needs to buy, helpful hints and interesting articles, OB appointments, and important phone numbers. But I have other systems in place already to keep tabs on that stuff, so I figured why bother? I barely used my wedding planner, so I know it’d be a waste of money to by a preggo planner.

  71. bassinets January 5, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    No one should be surprised by a high end service like this. There is a service for any life style and if it helps the new parents manage with a busy schedule then more power to them. It may sound unnecessary to some but these new baby planning companies are set to do very well in certain markets. Hopefully they will provide a valuable service and not just gouge their clients.