During my first pregnancy, I had no idea how to welcome a baby into our family, or prepare for becoming a mom—nevermind what to put on the registry everyone kept asking me about. So I went online. After reading every bouncer seat review on the internet and pouring over bassinet pros and cons, I had what I thought was an A+ new-mom registry.
There were dentist-approved pacifiers. A top-of-the-line bottle warmer. The swaddle that hundreds of moms swear by. More baby stuff that wiggled and jiggled and rocked than I want to admit. And of course, the icon: A brand new rocking chair.
Then I had my daughter, and I didn’t use any of it. She didn’t want to wiggle, jiggle or bounce, I never opened the bottle warmer, and we used the bassinet for one week before moving her to her crib. I breastfed her everywhere except the rocking chair.
I was a new mother, sitting alone on the floor with my baby in a room full of gadgets, trying to figure out how I might take a shower or eat a meal.
Baby registries cater to the infant, not the mother
In the first year after birth, the average family in the U.S. spends $14,000 on their baby, and according to BabyCenter, most moms make more than one registry. One registry features, on average, upwards of 120 items for the baby—and often not a single item for the mother.
In the early days and weeks at home with my daughter, I realized there were plenty of things I actually needed after giving birth, but none of them were on my registry or the blogs or must-have lists.
I needed support from another person and supplies to help my body—and stitches—heal.
For an entire year after giving birth I lacked solutions for so many challenges no one had prepared me for: hair loss, skin changes, hormonal fluctuations, nutrient depletion, exhaustion.
Related: Your essential registry guide
The vast landscape of baby products seemed endless, but the new-mom essentials I actually needed were nowhere to be found.
Among those missing essentials:
A lactation consultant to take a look at my unsuccessful latch and help me fix it, and to reassure me that what I was experiencing was normal as I iced my extremely engorged breasts.
Someone to come cook me a nourishing meal and hold my baby for 2 hours so I could sleep.
Nutrients and nutrition to heal from major surgery and support my body as it produced breastmilk.
Answers to all the questions I had no one to ask.
I wanted to take care of my body, but it felt like I didn’t have time to care for myself and my baby, so my own health became my last priority. I needed somebody to help clean the damn bottles, burp cloths, and sheets, but mostly I needed rest and the tools to help navigate the enormous emotional shifts that had me questioning who I was daily, and wondering how I got there and if I would be a good mother.
Moms need more than cute stuff
I was determined to help make this experience better for other moms, which is why I created Anya, a company that supports mothers through the postpartum journey with guidance and product solutions to help with the complex and inherently challenging period after childbirth.
The baby product market—with its gadgets and gizmos aplenty—is a $74B industry, yet the emerging ‘new mom’ product market is so nascent there is currently no published market size.
Moms aren’t being honestly informed and prepared for the emotional and physical challenges they’ll face in the first year after childbirth, and they certainly aren’t being provided with solutions.
But research by the NIH shows a direct correlation between the health of a mother and the health of a child. When a mother receives proper nutrition and care, surrounded by a loving community to help care for her, she has the potential for more energy, a better chance of meeting her breastfeeding goals, less risk for mental health challenges, and better long-term health and well-being.
I created Anya because I know firsthand that what parents really need to bring home a newborn isn’t cute stuff, it’s critical support and care.
It’s time to normalize putting moms on the list.
About the author
Jane Baecher is the co-founder and CEO of Anya (thisisanya.com), a company that supports mothers through the postpartum journey with guidance and product solutions to help with the complex and inherently challenging period after childbirth.