February actually just ended, but I know no one wants to miss out on my bitching about mainstream parenting magazines!
For February, I got BabyTalk (Feb 2011) and American Baby (Feb 2011). Let’s see what I can find to complain about!
Special Note: Other than this note, Baby Bellyaching is exempt from any sort of disclaimers, examination of privilege, or acknowledging people’s different reasons and situations. This is just a space for me to bitch.
Sticker Shock: I don’t care how cute it is, I’m not paying $40 for a bath towel. WTF. Or how about an $850 bookshelf shaped like a tree?
Breeding Fear: Want to give your child a toy? Wait! Are you sure it won’t choke, strangle, stab, or poison your baby? Checklist to the rescue! Also, button batteries are flying out of your electronics and trying to kill your baby while you’re not looking. I’m amazed that this magazine assumes that you’re ever NOT looking at your baby. It’s so clear that ou is about to die at any moment, how can you look away?
There’s a whole article on germs subtitled, “Since a protective bubble isn’t an option, here’s what you need to know to keep your baby healthy.” The scary part is that they don’t even have the decency to make the protective bubble part sound sarcastic or humorous. I really needed to see a winking smilie there. That there’s no hint that they don’t mean it is WAY scarier than germs. The long list of germ culprits include relatives and friends, your hands, food, pets, the bathroom, kissing your baby, grocery stores, restaurants, malls, festivals, crowds, playgrounds, playdates, banks, and toys. Also, you shouldn’t get a pet until your kid is 5, but you should teach your 8 month old to wash ou’s hands.
Captain Obvious: An article called “10 Perks of Play”. Do parents really need to be sold on the benefits of play? Does play really need any benefits besides, you know, fun? The benefits listed include things like making your kid smarter (because we all know only smart kids are valuable), reducing stress (why is your kid stressed? maybe because you’re trying to stick ou in that bubble!)
Ultimate Irony: There’s a half page article subtitled, “Avoid the first-time parent’s costliest mistake: pricey gear”. Are you fucking kidding me? Which pricey gear featured in your magazine should I avoid, exactly? Seriously. I’m going to need a list, because rationality just went out the window.
One GOOD thing: A full page checklist of the benefits of babywearing. The carrier pictured is a crotch dangler, of course, but, hey, it’s a start!
Sticker Shock: A $280 painting to entertain your baby. A $118 lamp. A $38 cloth ball. I’m not kidding on that last one.
Breeding Fear: What do you suppose an article called “Baby’s Scary Symptoms” warns against? Uncontrolled crying might mean a corneal abrasion!! Bad reflux might mean phyloric stenosis!! A fever could mean pneumonia!! Diarrhea might mean dehydration!! Or have scary colors that mean something but we don’t know what!! A rash could mean erythema toxicum!! Or herpes!! A cold might really be respiratory syncytial virus!! An included photo is captioned, “Take a breather before you freak out.” Of course, don’t read parenting magazines during your breather!
Overpriced Advice: (Otherwise known as “Why they didn’t hire me to answer these questions.”) “During dinner, our daughter cried. I left the table to nurse her, and my husband made a snarky remark. I think he’s jealous!” First, that’s not a question. Second, try a wrap so you won’t even have to leave the table. Third, you’re monogamous, right? So no big shocker there on the weird bouts of jealousy. Fourth, so? You’re not a little testy with all the new-baby stuff, too? Grow up. Or tell him to grow up. Or whatever. FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS!
“Except for the trip to the doctor, my newborn and I haven’t left the house. Each day is a blur of feeding, pooping, and sleeping. How can we make it out the door?” First, I can’t wait to find out about this “blur” thing that’s apparently a deep, dark parenting mystery. I find caring for babies to be wonderfully relaxing and slow-paced. I’m dying to learn what happens to parents to change that. Second, in the brilliant words of my friend Sarah: “portable baby”. Strap ou to you and go do all the stuff you used to do or that you want to do. There’s little reason why baby can’t go with you nearly everywhere and participate in nearly everything you do, and the sooner you get on board with that practice, the smoother it’ll be.
The Other Half: ADS!
Health/Beauty/Cleaning: 13 ADS.
Parent Replacement Items: 11 ADS One of these ads (that appeared in both magazines) was so offensive to me it’s going to get it’s very own post. Stay tuned!
Diapers/Stuff: 8 ADS Almost all of these were for wipes. Seriously, why do wipes need to be marketed so much?
Inappropriate/Inferior Food/Supplies: 6 ADS Separately, 3 ADS for pumping supplies. Including the really obnoxious one with the uber-hip guy with a “breastfeeding friendly” bottle in his uber-hip back jeans pocket that refers to breasts as “the girls”. Kill me now.
Misc. non-bothersome stuff: 6 ADS – Including a Boppy ad! Which actually shows a breastfeeding woman! Holy moly! OMG! And a My Brest Friend ad ALSO with a breastfeeding woman. The sky is falling.