Baby bling... kerching!

WHEN Dolce & Gabbana recently launched a perfume for babies, the online reaction in Italy was enthusiastic. “A perfume for my babies,” gushed Angelablue60.

Dolce & Gabbana acknowledged babies smell beautiful and there’s no need to cover up their natural scent but said the notes of bergamot, honey and musk would accentuate babies’ smell, making them “even more irresistible and heart-meltingly sweet”.

Contacted by Feelgood, Rose Kervick, MD of, asked members on Facebook for their thoughts on perfume for babies. Responses ranged from, “Why would you put perfume on your baby? The smell of your baby is the best smell in the whole world, no perfume can beat it!”, to “Kiddy perfume ... what’s going on … let them grow up slowly ... ”.

The unanimous verdict, summed up in one word, was ‘ridiculous’ — indicating baby perfume is unlikely to be a runner here. Just as well, says Sue Jameson, tutor with parenting group Cuidiú. “Babies have a keen sense of smell. It’s one of the ways they connect with carers. I’d question the use of strongly scented products.”

That’s not to say though that we don’t go in for other versions of baby bling. Mothercare says you can completely kit out your infant for just €1,230 — this includes a pushchair travel system (with a car seat) for €189.99 and a cot for €69.99 — but many parents shell out for travel systems that cost well over this sum. While the Bugaboo Cameleon 3, favoured by stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Julianna Margulies, retails at around €1,000, the Bugaboo Donkey costs even more at €1,399.

“I see plenty mothers arriving at venues, taking baby out of the car in its car seat, clicking this into wheels, it becomes a buggy and off they go,” says Jameson. “It’s hugely convenient — , they don’t have to take baby out of one contraption and into another.”

But does it do baby any good? “I wouldn’t personally advocate it, knowing babies need lots of human and social contact. Baby goes from car to wheels without ever being picked up.

“Babies are spending a lot of time out of arms,” says Jameson, whose friend recently bought a double buggy for €75 in the Vincent de Paul shop because “babies don’t wear out buggies — they grow out of them”.

Some mums are opting for advanced baby monitors. An example is the Luvion Grand Elite Baby Camera. It has a monitor so you can see your baby, as well as talk to them, play lullabies, turn on the light and it also indicates the temperature in baby’s room. Promoted as “extremely stylish”, it costs €199.

“There’s a huge array of colourful things to tempt parents into feeling they must have them to feel they’re doing the right thing by their baby,” says Jameson.

Jenny Woodbyrne, project worker on a Teen Parent Support Programme run by Barnardos, agrees. “Some mothers feel the more they provide, the better mother it will make them. If they have all this stuff, they feel more secure. I can see how it could happen if you’re the first in a group of friends to have a baby — there’s no one to ask, ‘What did you do?’”

Do we really need to go over the top accessorising our baby? Is it necessary to get a €65 Moses basket, which baby will use only for a short time?

Or a €49.99 nappy bin with cassettes, which seals each nappy in a multi-layered film — is this a good idea in a world where we’re encouraged to be more eco-aware?

And then there’s the InnoTab 2 Baby, an iPad for babies, complete with 16 infant-related apps. Manufacturers promise “parents will appreciate the chance to save their own tablets from sticky hands… special attention has been made to ensure it is robust and durable for little hands including a protective gel skin”.

Sue Jameson does not agree with infants looking at screens: . “Anything that interferes with socialisation isn’t good. And children are very good at devising their own imaginative play.” co-founder Sandra McKenna finds Irish mums quite savvy about what to buy for baby. “Pre-arrival, 81% of our mums said they made a methodical list and bought each item on it. But the list was functional as opposed to lavish. The most lavish purchase we heard of was a mum of twins, buying elaborate and matching cribs for her impending little ones. But these are certainly not the norm for Irish mums looking after their cubs in the post Tiger era.”

In fact, says McKenna, the biggest treat most mums spoke about is buying a nice changing bag for baby’s arrival, which doubles as their handbag. But there are bags — and there are designer bags. You can get the Orla Kiely baby changing bag, “the number one must have for celebs and personalities around the world” for €199 or cough up €269 for an Il Tutto changing bag.

If you’ve simply got to spend a bit more, make it something practical, recommends Jameson. “Invest in a changing table at a good height, useful because it will protect your back.”

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