Kate Tuttle: A story this month in a Montreal newspaper highlighted a growing trend (and newly invented profession) similar to that of the now-ubiquitous wedding planner: the so-called "baby planner" -- or, as some practitioners title themselves, the "baby concierge." Ooh la la!
Baby planners will, for a fee, navigate the tricky waters of buying baby gear, assembling a baby wardrobe and figuring out your diaper situation. (If you use cloth, do you need a service? If you use disposables, what's your delivery method?) They'll even line up a lactation consultant and baby group!
It may sound silly, but some experts say they can understand why there's a market. "[Preparing for a baby] is really overwhelming, especially when consumer products are so bound up with moral, ethical, aesthetic and safety concerns all at the same time," Michelle Meagher, assistant professor of feminist cultural studies at the University of Alberta, said in the article. "A baby concierge is a logical response."
Think about it: When we were kids, our parents had very few choices when it came to strollers, highchairs, car seats (I don't think there even were car seats when I was a baby!) and other baby gear. Those who wanted to breastfeed had to seek help from their own female relations or some trusty old books. This relative lack of options, far from feeling constraining, sounds fairly attractive now -- especially for those of us who live in neighborhoods where having the "wrong" stroller can instantly cut you out of the running for hanging with the cool moms.
I don't think this kind of service is for everyone. (Speaking for myself, I really enjoyed researching and shopping for my baby's gear and wardrobe.) But for new parents who literally have no idea where to start -- and those whose budget far outweighs their pre-maternity leave free time -- I can see the value. In fact, I just might consider going into the baby-planner business myself. What better job for the savvy-shopping stay-at-home mom?