baby planners, busy moms use baby planners
Michael Appleton/AP

Baby Planners Are Latest Accessory for the Wealthy and Overwhelmed

August 26, 2008 03:58 PM
by Cara McDonough
Pregnant? Stressed? Expectant moms with disposable income are the latest group turning to professional planners.

Moms-To-Be Get Professional Help

When brides-to-be get bogged down with the details of planning a wedding, they often turn to wedding planners for guidance. Now, pregnant women can do the same, and are looking to a growing number of baby planners to help them assess toy and furniture safety, develop a baby registry, even help choose the baby’s name.

“Being someone who hasn’t really been around babies or kid products, I just didn’t know what to choose,” said Emily Carines, 32, to The Boston Globe. “I was overwhelmed by the little things—which toys to buy, which are developmentally helpful.” 

That’s why she hired Kristen DiCicco, the cofounder of The Baby Coordinators, a baby planning business in Natick, Mass. According to The Boston Globe, baby planning first became popular in England but is catching on in the United States.

The service usually appeals most to older mothers with disposable income. Another baby planning business in the Boston area, Perfecting Expecting, charges $500 for putting together a complete baby registry, $100 for help with maternity shopping and $500 for baby shower preparation.

Although some believe baby planning could become as widespread as wedding planning, the business certainly has its harsh critics, including Swarthmore University sociology professor Barry Schwartz.

“It is bad enough if parents feel like they can’t make a decision without consulting a book. Nobody is willing to trust intuition, judgment, doing it the way their parents did it,” he said to the Chicago Tribune. 

But for some mothers, the service is invaluable. Denver resident Linsley Adams, pregnant with twins and on bedrest, hired Sweet Pea Baby Planners to help her design her nursery and shop for baby supplies, the Tribune reports. Adams said when she had questions about which car seats or strollers to get, she called her baby planner every day. “It made the whole situation less stressful,” she said.

Background: Baby planners make debut in England

The baby planning industry first became popular in England, where, for a few of up to 2,500 pounds, “parents-to-be can sit back while every detail of the pregnancy, their child’s birth and their new family’s early years is arranged on their behalf,” reported the Guardian in January 2007.

Keely Paice, founder of Baby Planners, said that many young professionals in England today do not live near their relatives and thus don’t have easy access to family advice. “Young mothers are under more pressure than ever to do the right thing for their babies, but the amount of advice, and its conflicting nature, is overwhelming,” Paice said.

Related Topics: Children’s birthday parties, concierge doctors and babymoons

Baby planning is only the latest in a list of concierge planning services available to those with money to spare.

Corinne Dinsfriend owns Over the Top Productions in Orange County, Calif., one of many party planning services across the country that specialize in children’s birthday parties. Clients can spend as much as $10,000 to have Dinsfriend plan the perfect party, CNN reports.

Parents and children have a lot to choose from when they hire a professional birthday planner, said Lyss Stern, another party planner. Children’s parties may feature cotton-candy machines, a rented movie theater or a visit from a real astronaut, to name a few. The result is that some children’s birthday parties “now rival weddings in scale and price.”

Extra services for extra money are available in the medical sector, too. Some physicians determined to offer the kind of personalized care available to past generations now provide concierge-like services such as 24-hour access, small clinics and house calls. The services, however, have been criticized for perpetuating inequalities in medical care, as they are often only available to wealthy patients who can afford to pay extra.

And baby planners aren’t the only indulgence for expectant parents. “Babymoons”—romantic trips taken by prospective parents prior to the baby’s arrival—are becoming more common, The New York Times reported in May, 2007. 

Some hotels and inns now provide babymoon packages. The trips are often centered around activities that might not be as easily accessible once the baby arrives, such as spa treatments, candlelight dinners and rounds of golf.

Reference: Preparing for baby


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines