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Your Baby and the Other 4 Million

The Wall Street Journal had a revealing article on “What Baby-Products Makers Won’t Tell You.” They found that the “bringing up baby” industry is huge, with “4 million babies born every year.” Here are a few of the ten things they mention:

1. “Data from the retail-industry IBISWorld and Euro monitor show that U.S. baby spending including products, grooming, formula and durable goods was at least 23 billion in 2013…This is a broad renewable market for companies that make baby products.” Keep this question in mind: is your baby’s need the reason for new products, or are new products simply a way for developers to make more money?

2. Does your baby really need fancy toys? “It doesn’t take much to capture a little one’s imagination. In fact, simpler is better, some experts say.” Kids bring toys to life; even a cardboard box sometimes will do.

3. It’s okay to follow your own instincts. There is “a whole advice industry that caters to expectant and new parents. Sometimes guidance is just what frazzled new parents need. The problem is that anyone can call herself a consultant, so parents need to do their due diligence.”

4. “Teething is normal–but we’ll tell you it’s a crisis.” A Google search reveals one million results for “teething,” and yet some pediatricians say that these teething products aren’t only unnecessary, but sometimes even dangerous. Many products contain benzocaine, a local anesthetic. “When teething, babies most commonly experience itchy gums, not pain,” says Wendy Swanson, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’ Hospital. “They can satisfy the itch with chewing on a cool wet washcloth.”

5. Does your child need organic? No long-term studies prove that babies who consume organic foods fare any better than those who eat non-organic foods.

6. “Apps won’t teach your baby language…” New products for child development are flourishing, but “child-development experts say infants are too young to learn the alphabet.” I didn’t have these high-tech gadgets for my babies, but they were not hindered without them.

7. Instead of using apps, your child can learn and prepare for school simply by observing the environment around them and then talking about the events they see.

Writer Florence Simmons has firsthand experience of the important, proactive steps that are needed when raising a family. As a mother and pastor’s wife, she knows children need a structured environment and early groundwork for learning.,