Do you need a baby planner?
Concierges: they’re not just for hotels and high-end condos anymore. Meet the ‘baby planner,’ a professional who offers concierge services to expectant moms and dads. Baby planners can help manage all the things you need to get done before B-day, from wellness-related tasks, like registering for prenatal classes and hiring a doula, to nesting chores such as planning a baby shower or decorating your nursery.
Who might hire a baby planner?
‘Lots of our clients are really busy,” says Samantha Leeson, owner of Toronto-based BabyReady. “Our service gives them the opportunity to have someone else take care of the little things that need to be set up in advance of their baby’s arrival.’
Although the burgeoning baby-planning industry has gotten flak from some parenting experts who accuse it of commodifying pregnancy ‘ probably due to a few baby-planning websites that overemphasize the swag aspect of gift-registry planning ‘ real moms and dads see definite benefits, says Leeson.
‘Some of our clients work long hours, or are new to the community and need help finding the resources they need. And with families being so far flung these days, we also get out-of-town family members calling to ask for our help coordinating showers in Toronto,’ says Leeson.
In fact, says Leeson, BabyReady only added shower planning to its list of services after repeated requests by clients. ‘I’m into the parenting aspect of it all: having the baby and successful parenting,’ says Leeson, a doula, birth educator and breastfeeding coach. ‘So when people asked me about the baby showers, I thought, Really? You want me to plan a baby shower? But it was something I found I have a knack for, so I ran with it,’ she says.
What can a baby planner help with?
A professional baby planner can help clients with almost anything from the prenatal through post-partum stage, says Leeson.
Before the baby’s due, a full-service agency like BabyReady can:
- Offer birth preparation classes and doula services (or help you find service providers in your community),
- Help design your nursery (with eco-friendly choices for your baby’s health),
- Help plan your baby shower,
- Book prenatal massages, photo sessions, personal training, diaper pick-up services in your neighbourhood, car seat inspections and more.
After the baby’s arrived, full-service agencies also offer, or locate service providers who offer:
- Breastfeeding support (BabyReady’s Leeson is a La Leche League of Canada group leader),
- Nighttime care for baby so mom can sleep,
- Household help for shell-shocked new moms and dads, including healthy meal deliveries, baby-wearing workshops (which sling or infant carrier would work best for your body type, how to use it safely, etc.), postpartum massage, personal training, and car-seat inspections (which can be ongoing as your child grows).
How much do baby planners cost?
In big Canadian cities (where most baby planners are located), expect to pay about $75/hour for planning services.
Shower packages tend to start at $500 for a basic event and can run as high as $5,000 depending on size, venue, menu and other details.
Class fees vary between shorter breastfeeding or baby-wearing classes and multi-week prenatal courses for couples.
Is a baby planner for you?
Not everyone needs a baby planner. For those with time to spare, or a team of helpful relatives and friends, a baby planner probably isn’t necessary.
But if you’re time-starved and find yourself overwhelmed by the minutiae of pre-baby details ‘ especially if work is also ramping up for you, pre mat leave ‘ a planner could save you a lot of stress.
They can also potentially save you money since an experienced planner can expertly pinpoint the right nursery, transportation and baby care products for your needs, cutting down on mis-purchases.
Although baby planners don’t come cheap, the convenience they offer can be a lifesaver. Take car-seat inspections. Some parents can easily book ahead and make the trip out during the limited hours that many free car-seat inspection sites offer. But for those parents who lack the time, having the option of paying a baby planner to send a certified car-seat inspector to your home, at your convenience, can be a lifesaver (literally).
New parents need all the help we can get. Baby planners are the latest option when it comes the savvy mom- and dad-to-be’s support network.