Friday, 25 February 2011
Consumerism for babies
It's been a while since my last post because of a particularly busy period of work and the arrival of a new member of the Docwra household. The process of having a child has opened a door to a whole new world that many non-parents may be unaware of - and consumerism seems to have a strong hold over this new parenting world!
Take the Bounty pack for example - these are packs of free goodies given to new parents at the hospital just after their baby has been born. The Bounty pack reps are allowed to wander through the maternity wards distributing their packs - and they do this in a way that not only seems to have the blessing of the NHS, but that also seems to be an integral part of its maternity service.
This is a serious piece of misrepresentation, as in reality the Bounty pack is simply a commercial tool. It says it provides 'expectant and new mums with...important information, expert advice, support and try before you buy samples', but in reality it is simply a bag of samples and advertisements for baby products. Take out the promotional items and you are left with nothing of any informational value. And these promotional items are being presented to a captive audience, who are new to their role as parents and slightly vulnerable, masquerading as information from the country's trusted health service.
I was so suprised at how a piece of commercialism was allowed to get into such a sensitive part of our health service in this way that I asked a midwife about it. They (slightly sheepishly) agreed that these packs are basically just a load of adverts and product samples.
I'm not having a go at our health service - it is one of our great institutions and the care we received was absolutely brilliant. I just feel this is a great example of how the influence of consumerism can seep into every aspect of our lives - from the minute we are born - and that we need to do something to halt its spread.