7 Ways Companies Are Getting Rich Selling Baby Products That New Parents Don't Need
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5. A changing table.
Kalon Studios makes a bamboo changing “trunk” that can be converted into a toy chest, for $740 plus shipping, but even a non-luxury changing table will set you back some $100. “We have one but it’s only for storage,” admits Ashley Ridosko, a Wisconsin mom with a second baby on the way. “I hated it, it’s high up, you have to hold onto your babe the whole time while fumbling for things.” Experienced parents use the bed or the floor.
6. Breast milk test strips to detect alcohol.
The brainchild of UpSpring Baby, a company that also makes postpartum belly wraps (to help you lose weight faster), $39.99, and Walking Wings, a dog-like harness you use, like a puppeteer, to direct a baby’s steps, $24.99. These strips (20 cost $24.99) are for home use to make sure there’s not too much alcohol in a mom’s breast milk. But the body metabolizes alcohol quickly and doctors agree that a small amount of alcohol in breast milk is harmless. “It is a useless product and should not be recommended,” Jack Newman, a Canadian doctor who specializes in breastfeeding, writes in an open letter on Facebook: "a ploy to have mothers worry and spend money for nothing.”
7. An obstetrician.
Not a product, but an obstetrician is far from a must-have, despite America’s bias in favor of medical doctors. Over 70 percent of births in Scandinavia, which has much better fetal and maternal outcomes at a fraction of the cost, are assisted by midwives . Because they use fewer unnecessary interventions, spend more time with women in labor, and are committed to vaginal birth, midwives are the safer and healthier choice, argues Marsden Wagner, former director of Women’s and Children’s Health at the World Health Organization. Unless a woman’s pregnancy is deemed high-risk, or there is a medical emergency during labor, the majority of women may not need to have an ob-gyn at the birth.
“Having a highly trained surgeon obstetrician assist at your birth is about as sensible as hiring a pediatric surgeon as a babysitter for your healthy 2-year-old,” Wagner writes. Midwife-assisted birth is also a lot less expensive. The average charge for a C-section birth in America: $51,000. The average charge for a vaginal hospital birth: $32,000. The average charge for a homebirth midwife: $4,500.
"Everything you really need for your baby, you already have,” says McKenna Rowe, a mom of two in Talent, Oregon. Rowe tries to avoid buying her children toys, insisting a wooden spoon works just as well (use it as a drumstick, shovel, light saber, or teething toy). “Eliminating the clutter, the waste, the mess to clean, and the over-stimulation in my home has worked wonders in my mothering journey,” she says. “In my opinion, the simpler the better."