I'm down to hang with Snow White, but my baby's not.As if it weren't bad enough that hospitals hand out formula samples, new moms are now getting pushed something else: Disney merchandise! The Walt Disney Company is hitting hospitals nationwide with its brand-new Disney Cuddly Bodysuit, a onesie that will be given away by the thousands before it officially launches on Amazon.com in May.
What I find more disturbing than a free onesie , however, is that the representatives are giving bedside demonstrations asking mothers to sign up for email alerts from DisneyBaby.com, which appears to be an online store disguised as a helpful pregnancy/motherhood website. This is an example of a much bigger problem: The maternity ward is not a place for anyone to be receiving sales pitches.
I know that Disney will someday be a part of my daughter's life, whether it be a love of The Little Mermaid or a desire to go to Disney World (which, by the way, I totally support; it's a playground for adults, too!). But the maternity ward is a bit early to be suiting her up in Disney merchandise.
I'm not saying I don't love free stuff. However, the maternity ward is a sacred place. Not a place to prey on new moms with merchandise. Consider this: if I'd just given birth and had plans to exclusively breastfeed, then find a packet of formula in my hospital gift bag, I'd be pretty offended. If an exhausted new mom is having trouble getting started on breastfeeding and the formula is right there, she's more likely to try it. That has the potential to damage the chances of successful breastfeeding altogether. Luckily, I delivered at a hospital that was extremely pro-breastfeeding, but if I hadn't, I might have been tired enough to accept formula, too!
The point is, we are vulnerable after delivery. And we are so tired that we just might say yes to anything. Companies like Disney and some formula giants know that; they've done their market research. But marketing and maternity ward are two things that should not go together. Enough people drop in to poke and prod you and your baby after delivery that the last thing you need is someone trying to sell you something.
I do not want anything given to me while I'm trying to bond with my baby, even if it's something as harmless as a onesie with Minnie Mouse on it, because the implication is that I might be willing to buy something from that company later. Instead, I'll take the ugly striped hat as a memento.
How do you feel about hospital freebies like the Cuddly Bodysuit?
Something my kids handmade
A fun holiday at home with my family
Some time off!
Something just for me, like a plush robe