Beno Fun Stuff

Lessons from Project Baby Beno Part 2

In Part One we learnt how raising babies is tough. Okay, so not much of a revelation there to anyone that’s tried it, but as Baby Beno is having an unusually long sleep, here are a few insights and tips from the early days…

1. Be on your guard as early as possible
At just one day old, Baby Beno was getting a lot of attention, from nurses, midwives, paediatricians etc. All as expected and all fairly routine. One surprise visitor was the Bounty pack woman.

Of course at that stage your relief juices make you happy to speak to just about anyone, which is good news for £50m+ company who’s representative wanders the maternity wards taking names, date of birth, email addresses, even nappy preferences, all in exchange for a couple of product samples and wedge of coupons.

If you can be bothered, you could probably save a few quid, but at no stage are you told just what the hell is gonna happen to that info (answer: sold to businesses to allow them to market stuff to you). A child benefit form gives it the semblance of credibility and the hospital is happy to allow it to happen as they get £1 for every pack distributed.

Companies wishing to get into the pack pay £10k for the privilege and must provide all samples to bounty free of charge. Not a bad little earner for everyone, except probably parents.

2. Get your story straight
The NHS is such an anachronistic marvel, you’d expect that something like it could never succeed in modern times. And yet the services, advice and awe inspiring expertise they essentially give you for free is a wonder to behold.

Yes, you have to pay for parking and television, the volunteers’ shop is now a WH Smith, vending machines on ever floor and there’s a Weldrecks pharmacy, and its a fact that it wouldn’t work without workers from overseas, but really it’s still pretty good value. So please then don’t blow it by asking the same ‘are you on medication’ 10 times and giving us conflicting advice – on where Baby Beno sleeps, how to feed Baby Beno, and whether or not the time is right to push Baby Beno out of its, ahem, lodgings for the past nine months. Thanks.

3. Avent rules
A few years ago we visited Avent’s factory. At that time it was predominantly a bottle manufacturer in an impressive building and winner of numerous awards (thanks to being the first company to develop silicone bottle teats). Now it’s THE name in baby stuffs. We’ve got Avent bottles, breast pump, steriliser and bottle warmer. All with the naff, if easily identifiable logo.

Establishing a trusted brand is hard, and if there’s one thing a parent wants, it’s reassurance that they’re not harming their little one (this doesn’t impact as much at the other end, by the way, where nappy brands of all kinds have been happily pooped on).

Avent seem to have mastered that reassuring touch, even if the cleanliness/safety of their gear is largely down to tired/stupid parents being able to use it correctly. Assembling breast pumps, sterilisers etc, isn’t easy so give yourself plenty of time. In fact, start now, even if you’ve not got a baby.

4. Breast may be best, but gadgets are great
We could get all shouty and flustered about breastfeeding leaflets (written in Comic Sans) and health workers advice on breastfeeding with their ‘officially I have to say this, but actually I did that’ comments, but probably best not to go there. Instead, technology has come to our aid with gadgets to soothe Baby Beno, monitor Baby Beno and even track Baby Beno’s feeding, pooping and sleeping routines.

Top of our list is the breathing and movement detector that is hidden away beneath Baby Beno’s mattress. It may not do a lot, except shock us when we forget to turn it off, but anything that helps reduce that fear and chance of cot death is worth it’s weight in gold.

The iPod touch has also been a god/stevejobs-send for photos without flash and the Avent app which allowed us to record times of feeds, poops & sleeps – until we got too tired to even bother. Baby Beno also enjoyed signing up to twitter (@bumwipebeno) in order to express her thoughts more coherently and succinctly.

5. If in doubt, take her to Grandma’s.

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