Jennifer Rein is due in August to deliver twin girls. She works 50 hours a week as a hospital administrator in Manhattan and has a supportive husband, but just doesn't believe she has enough time to get adequately prepared for her babies' arrival.
"It's extremely overwhelming," Rein said. "I just had no idea what to expect, there are so many different marketing messages out there about all of these products that you need, and the way to do things. And, at this point, you don't know what to believe."
So Rein hired a company called inBloom Baby Planners to help set up her baby registry and nursery, arrange private CPR classes for Rein and her husband, do product research to make sure her babies' new toys are safe from things like lead. And, last but not least, the company will help Rein find the right baby nurse and nanny.
Expecting Mothers' Helpers
The company, inBloom Baby Planners, was started by Yael Denbo and Alden Rosen, who say they jumped on what they saw as a major need. "It's for women who are very busy," Rosen said. "There are lots of two-income families. The amount of time you can spend just searching day care facilities or finding the right child-care giver can be endless.
"In this very fast-moving environment, inBloom offers a way to create more time in parents' lives, in preparation of the arrival of their child," she said. "We do the leg work for families that allow them to enjoy pregnancy and be excited about the new addition to their family."
Denbo said, "We help find mothers' assistants. People want help at home even if they have an assistant at work — they need help getting out their baby announcements, returning the amount of presents."
On the Web site, inBloom also advertises services such as planning showers, bris or baby-naming ceremonies, arranging doulas, lactation specialists, personal trainers, nutritionists and personal maternity shoppers, helping to child-proof your home, and more.
Carley Roney, the editor in chief of TheNestBaby.com, says she is seeing more companies like inBloom popping up around the country. "The trend is now for moms-to-be to get baby planners to help them through those last final weeks of pregnancy," Roney said.
She says it's a natural extension of the popularity of wedding planners. "There's so much to do," Roney said. "They are working women for the most part, and they need a lot of help."
Capturing the Moment
Roney says that as professional urban women start to have babies later in life, they have more disposable income and are going all-out to make the arrival of the baby an over-the-top, special event.
"Baby planners themselves start at around $100 an hour to take care of all those things for you like getting your registry organized or booking your appointments for you," she said.
Lori Bloomberg hired inBloom to kick the maternity experience up a notch. She's due to give birth to her third boy any day now and asked the company to help her capture her very own Demi Moore style "Vanity Fair" moment: a photo shoot of her by a professional photographer in Chelsea, Sharon Shuster, who specializes in maternity and newborn photos.
"I really wanted to have this moment in time captured on film," Bloomberg said. "When you look back you can't even believe that's what you look like. "
The baby planners take care of things their clients didn't even necessarily know existed. They set up appointments for Bloomberg at Edamame Maternity Spa for maternity massages and "tummy treatments."
"It exfoliates your tummy, moisturizes and increases circulation," Bloomberg explained.
Rosen and Denbo say no task is too unusual for them. They helped one mother find a psychic to help her choose her baby's name. They are even willing to help women negotiate maternity leave. But they draw the line at changing diapers.