Parenting, Inc by Pamela Paul

An overview of the craze for consumption that has overtaken American parents.

I would’ve read Parenting, Inc even if I didn’t have a baby, because I find spenders (and hoarders, too) to be endlessly fascinating. I’ve also been interested in child development since I was in high school, and of course as a new mother I was really curious to see what Pamela Paul discovered about the baby industry.

Surprise, surprise–people will say anything to make money! And parents are more than willing to spend it. We are opting out of a lot of this insanity by consciously choosing to be as thrifty, frugal, and natural as possible, mainly because we really want for me to be able to stay at home and homeschool Superfast Baby. However, I will admit that I have an abundance of baby carriers, including a Vatanai Teesta, as well as some Muttaqin Baby diapers, so I am not immune to the lure of the luxury baby item.

I wish she had talked more about the way that formula is marketed, because this is the biggest racket in the parenting industry. Instead, she takes the usual potshots at La Leche League and implies that lactation consultants are in it for the money. But this is just a small nit to pick within a book that does a great job of dissecting the emperor’s new clothes.

I almost sold off the (unwatched) baby DVDs I got as a shower gift, but then found myself in an ethical quandary. If I get rid of them, it’s because I think they are not good for babies to watch, but if I sell them that means some other baby will be watching them. And if I throw them away, I’m adding plastic to a landfill. I decided to keep them for when she is older than two, because we don’t intend to be TV free and they don’t have commercials. Oh, it’s so hard to be the editor-in-chief of Modern Jackass Magazine!

2 thoughts on “Parenting, Inc by Pamela Paul”

  1. I’ve been interested in reading this one. The part about the formula interests me. I am currently breastfeeding my 3 month old, and plan to at least until he’s firmly into baby food. I won’t past about age one, because working full time makes pumping a PITA. Hopefully I can get him close to milk age and avoid buying formula as long as possible.

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