According to a new study, moms are feeling tremendous pressure to purchase expensive and soon –to –be outgrown brand name clothing for their infants. Moms are also overspending on formula because they tend to choose a name brand over a store brand.
Researchers found that mothers are cutting back in nearly every other area of their lives so they can buy brand names.
The “Brand” New Mom study of more than 1,900 moms, conducted by Kelton Research, found that today’s new mom often makes decisions based on guilt rather than practicality, even when it is clearly proven that a high-profile brand offers no clear benefits over other far less expensive options.
Why do they do it?
The study found one major reason is the confusing and anxiety-producing advertising and promotional messages that are everywhere. New moms are particularly vulnerable. Their hormones are still adjusting, they are doing their best to take care of a newborn that wakes up all night, and many moms are scared of making a decision that might actually harm their baby. They are the perfect targets for creative advertising agencies. Who doesn’t want “the best” for their baby?
58 percent of expectant first-time moms admit they are consumed by thoughts about what products they need to buy their babies every day, and nearly 37 percent of moms express overall guilt about not being able to afford a specific baby product.
The economy is also adding to mom’s stress load.
- 59 % said they are worried about their personal financial situation.
- 53% confess that thoughts about their baby product budget plague them on a daily basis.
Moms may be stressing, but they are still overspending on name brand products. Three-quarters of moms surveyed have recently cut back on dining out, clothing for themselves, and entertainment. Only 13 percent have taken the same savings measures for their impending or new baby.
This study found that 85 percent of moms are far more tuned into ads related to babies or pregnancy than those with any other subject matter, and this increased attention to advertising can produce emotional stress. When it comes to this constant bombardment of baby-related advertising: 23% feel overwhelmed. 20 % feel anxious. 20% feel confused. And 35% of experienced moms admit that because of advertising they spent more than they had originally planned when their first child was a baby.
“This study sheds light on what moms are going through from both an emotional and economic standpoint,” said Sandra Gordon, national baby products expert and author of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products, 10th edition. “Moms are so intent on absorbing as much baby-related information as possible, and making the right purchasing decisions, that it can be easy to overlook inexpensive options that are just as safe and effective for their baby.”
More than half of moms are much more likely to buy store brands for household products, but don’t feel comfortable substituting store bands when it comes to their baby.
Less than 25% said they were open to buying store brand formula.
Baby formula is one of those products that some moms really struggle with. 43% say they feel guilty for using formula instead of breastfeeding their infant - which may be one of the reasons moms are willing to overspend on brand name formula. The other reason may be they just don’t trust that store brands are as good for their baby.
“These numbers are very consistent with what I see in my practice, and a clear indication of the challenges today’s mom faces with regard to the barrage of advertising messages she regularly sees,” said Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “We know that when it comes to taking care of babies, breastfeeding is considered the gold standard. The reality, however, is that 80 percent of moms will use formula at some point, and it is not something they should feel guilty about. Also, they certainly don’t need to buy the most expensive formula just to alleviate that guilt.”
The study found that 68% of moms believed that the more expensive the formula the better the quality. 49% of new first-time moms believe name brand formulas offer more nutrition.
Is either one of these beliefs true? No.
The key, Dr. Trachtenberg said, is to educate moms with the facts on formula and provide them with all of their options, rather than making a decision based on which brand is the most heavily advertised and may be the highest priced.
“According to the Infant Formula Act, all infant formulas manufactured in the United States must contain the same key nutrients and adhere to the same quality and safety guidelines. This survey found that less than a quarter of the moms were willing to buy store brand formulas, which indicates that there is a significant knowledge gap. Far too many families are spending twice as much as they need to for infant formula, just to get a brand that is advertised,” said Dr. Trachtenberg. “Just like generic prescription medications have changed the healthcare landscape by proving more expensive does not mean better, store brand formulas can play a huge role in helping parents take the best possible care of their babies, as well as their budgets.”
New moms have a lot on their plate, as well as new dads. Both are experiencing a life changing series of moments that revolve around a totally dependent infant. That’s actually the good news. Overspending on baby products is not going to ease the stress, and it’s not going to be better for baby. Don’t worry you’ll get the hang of parenting. For now you can spend less on clothing, diapers and formula and give yourself and your budget a break.