Baby Registry Trends: Podcast Episode #169
January 25, 2023

Baby Registry Trends: Podcast Episode #169

Kristin chats with Lexi Tabor of Hatchling CLE about the latest baby trends and services.  You can listen to this complete podcast episode on iTunes, SoundCloud, or wherever you find your podcasts.

Welcome.  You’re listening to Ask the Doulas, a podcast where we talk to experts from all over the country about topics related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and early parenting.  Let’s chat!

Kristin:  Hello, hello!  This is Kristin with Ask the Doulas.  I am so excited to chat with Lexi Tabor today.  Lexi is the founder, postpartum care specialist, certified lactation support counselor at Hatchling CLE.  Welcome, Lexi!

Lexi:  Hi, Kristin.  Thank you so much for having me.

Kristin:  Our topic today is all about registries and prepping for baby showers and what you need and what you don’t need, since a lot of your business – it’s not mentioned in the title – is being a baby registry consultant, in addition to all of your skills in lactation and postpartum doula work.

Lexi:  Yeah, it’s something that I actually – so I started postpartum work in 2020 and got my lactation certification in 2021, but how this all started was that I’ve been – I was a career nanny for 12 years, so I got to work firsthand with a bunch of baby stuff with various families.  Families of newborns and toddlers and things like that, and they were always asking me about which things they should have or what works for this and kind of figuring it out there.  I starting offering, I guess, consults.  I started asking my friends who were expecting, “Do you want to send me your registry?  Do you want to do this together?  I like to do that.  I know a little bit about products,” and that kind of evolved into what I do now.  And then I realized, oh, I have this business.  I might as well add that as an add-on.

Kristin:  It makes perfect sense since you already had so much firsthand knowledge working with nanny families and postpartum doula clients in their homes with the products.

Lexi:  Exactly.

Kristin:  So what is, as far as the percentage of your business, what would that make up, just to get an idea or a sense?  At least in my area, I don’t know of any baby registry consultants.

Lexi:  I’ve never crunched the numbers with it, really.  I guess it would be about 25%.

Kristin:  That’s what I would have guessed, yeah.

Lexi:  I’ve also started – I actually am starting to offer it now as – so it was mostly just a standalone service, but now I’m starting to market it more as an add-on for my current clients and kind of giving them a discount and saying, like, hey, you know, would you like me to look over your registry, or do you want to build this together?  It helps me get to know their needs on a whole different level when I’m working with in-person clients, too, which is kind of cool.

Kristin:   Yeah, that makes sense.  I know as birth doulas, we have add-on prenatals if a client wants help working on a birth plan or a birth preference sheet.  So it make sense to do add-ons in that way.  So you know so much about the industry itself as far as marketing goes and what’s going on with baby products and services and the registry market in general.  What tidbits do you have to share with us, Lexi, on the market itself?

Lexi:  So I guess my experience and my personal values also kind of drive what it is that I do within registry consults.  So I’m trying to get away from the $12 billion industry of baby stuff.  How many times have you heard a parent say, “I didn’t need that,” or, like, throwing their baby items at their friends who are pregnant because they never used it?

Kristin:  Constantly.

Lexi:  Or have so much stuff, right?  Especially in this country, unfortunately, we’re not really set up to succeed postpartum.  It’s all about the things and making everything look good and all about the birth, which are important, but then you have this baby that you come home with, and then you’re like, okay, now what?  So what I try to plant the seed – I try to plant the seed with clients to kind of reframe it as, yes, you’re going to need things, but most of what you will need is support.  Getting them in touch with people in their area or even virtually if, depending on their location, they don’t physically have access to those services.  And just kind of reframing, like, what is it that you actually need and also what is it that will work for your family, right?  Because there is also a lot of people ask their friends what they’re going to need, and if they had other babies or have taken care of other children, they tend to go towards those products, which sometimes work, but every baby is different, so it’s kind of tailoring their registry to their exact needs and their familial buildup, the logistics of their housing, their relationship situation.  All of that is all custom tailored to them.

Kristin:   Yeah, the Snoo doesn’t work for every baby.  You know, different swaddles or baby carriers can be very specific to the individual needs, even if you have multiple kids.  There could be preferences in your household.  So I know that you have ties to Be Her Village, and I’m so excited to take your baby registry training through Be Her Village, and that is all about really incorporating services and experts within the birth and baby field versus registering for things.  For registering for a doula or a lactation consult or postpartum doula and so on.

Lexi:   Yes.  So this course that I’m going to be teaching that you are also taking is – it was kind of born randomly, naturally, in a meeting that I was having with Kaitlyn and JD from Be Her Village.  I don’t even remember what the chat was about.  I think it was just a casual chat, and by the end of it, we kind of had a private conversation, and we’re like, hey, should we make this happen?  And so the focus of the gift registry expert certification through Be Her Village is, again, it’s not going to be, “Don’t buy stuff; only do services,” and all about Be Her Village, because that’s not practical, either.  It’s going to be about exploring the different subjects.  Each week, we have a different breakdown of things from, like, sleep, feeding, things for parents, baby travel, play and development, all of those different things that we’ll take a deep dive into, and each week, we will discuss support resources versus product resources versus, like, different options that you can give people and give people who are taking the course the tools to implement this into their business, as well, so they can kind of spread the word of also planting seeds of, hey, like, you – what do you think this product would do for you?  In some cases, it might be more appropriate to have a service instead.  Like, oh, it sounds like this is something you might actually be looking for that this product could do, but also this person, I know, would do a great job at it, kind of thing.  So just connecting families with that kind of support, as well.

Kristin:   I know we get a lot of questions from doula clients at Gold Coast about everything from the best pump to bottles and a lot of swaddle questions.  So what are you seeing from clients as far as really, like, the most overwhelming registry items?

Lexi:  A lot of my clients are registering through major registry sites that work well, but again, they’re not custom tailored.  So it’s just kind of more of crowdsourcing and what’s in at the moment.  As someone who specializes in feeding, bottles and pacifiers that are in at the moment are actually like the bane of my existence.  But that’s also a good talking point and a point to bring up.  It’s a good lesson to educate.  It’s a good point to educate parents on.  Like, oh, this is really popular right now.  Did you know XYZ about this product?  Or here are some pros and here are some cons about it; what do you think?  There are a lot of questions; bottles, pacifiers, swaddles.

Kristin:  Car seats, I’m sure.  Strollers.

Lexi:  I actually don’t get a lot of questions on car seats, which is surprising.  Usually it’s how to install my car seat, but not which one to get.

Kristin:  And you think of everything that’s interchangeable; anything from a crib that turns into a toddler bed to the car seat with stroller combo and things like that.  So I’m sure that you get some of those questions when you’re in clients’ homes.

Lexi:  There’s so many different choices out there, too, which is – you know, it’s good and it’s bad.  We’re kind of met with this decision paralysis.  Some people like me really enjoy doing the research and kind of scoping out all these products and things like that, and for most expectant parents, it’s just so overwhelming because they’re already dealing with so much.  And going down Google wormholes for six days about which car seat is the best and whatever – if you hire someone who knows this information, they can tell you all that without you having to get into this anxiety blackhole.

Kristin:   Yes, because your time is valuable, and reducing stress, especially during pregnancy, is key.  Win-win to hire an expert who’s really gone through all of the ratings and reviews, and obviously, recalls.  Keeping up with the recalls is, I feel like, almost a full-time job.  I just got an email today about two more recalls.  So keeping on top of that for our clients is also important.

Lexi:  Yes, and that’s something, again, a lot of parents don’t know about these things until we tell them, so hopefully people who are listening to your podcast will now know, if you don’t already, sign up for the weekly emails from the CPSC website.  It’s really easy.  They send you a weekly email, and you get to see what products or recalls.  Sometimes it’s children’s products; sometimes it’s like an ATV, which is not relevant.  But I actually had – I looked on there, and I noticed there was a washing machine that had a fire hazard, and I noticed – I was like, oh, I’m pretty sure that’s one of my client’s washing machines, so I sent that along to them.  So it’s not just baby products, but even if you register things, like your car seat and your baby carrier and if you have any baby containers, things like that, it’s not just baby products that they sent out notifications on.  So it’s good to know about any of these home products that you may be using.

Kristin:  Yes.  Very helpful.

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Kristin:  As far as trends with showers, what are you seeing as you’re helping clients navigate planning for their baby shower or diaper sprinkle, whatever it might be?

Lexi:  A lot of people are – I think there’s – there is a shift away from, like, the traditional baby shower, right?  So it’s not – this is not your mom’s baby shower kind of thing.  I think people are starting to do more research, and millennials are, I think, trying to be more intentional about the things they bring into the world and the things they expose their babies to and things like that.  As years go by, research comes out, and we know differently.

Kristin:  Exactly.  Wanting eco-friendly products.

Lexi:  Yeah, things that are, I guess, more clean and nontoxic as far as detergents go; even sometimes fabrics and crib mattresses.  So it’s kind of cool to see that shift because even 12 years ago before my niece was born, I look at the things we did, and I was like, oh, man, so much has changed even in that amount of time.  So now it’s – there is a lot of research.  Unfortunately, sometimes with that comes a lot of anxiety.  But I think people are trying to be more mindful in how they spend their money and also spend time with their children and the things they expose their babies to, which is why I also think the service is really valuable because you’re kind of starting off on the right foot before your baby is even born.  Kind of help parents out.

Kristin:  Exactly.  I know one of my clients set up a registry, and her focus was to try to make it as eco-friendly as helpful.  She was happy to have regifted items, you know, from her friends who already had babies and really was all about registering for services.  So she got a lot of postpartum doula support and other services that were helpful.  Meal delivery, housekeeping, and so on.

Lexi:  And those are things, again, a lot of first-time parents, without knowing somebody who’d had those services themselves, might not even know that that’s an option or they might be like, oh, that’s kind of weird to put housecleaning on my baby registry.  But it’s not.  You know?  You’re sitting around.  You’re at home all day.  You’re looking at all these things that you – a lot of parents are like, I feel like I should be doing this, when their job is really to be resting and healing if they gave birth.  Yeah, everything from meal services, cleaning services.

Kristin:  Diaper services for those who do cloth.

Lexi:  Yeah.  Anything – any and all of the above.  I actually came across – I think it was a couple years ago – another registry where it is specifically made to register for things that are preloved items, and on there, you can write – whoever gifts it can write whether they want it back or not or whether you can donate it or whatever, which I thought was really cool.  Especially for big ticket items, if you know the home it came from and there are no allergies in your home and their home that mishmash, and if you know that they use safety protocols – like, not having to buy a crib is great.

Kristin:  Definitely.  That’s a costly item.  And even thinking about – the market has changed so much since I’ve had kids where things can be rented.  Like a Snoo, for example.  I’ve had clients rent versus buy a Snoo.  And so some of those higher-ticket items can be returned after use.

Lexi:  Yeah, it’s nice to see that, and also a lot of parents are using Mercari and Poshmark for things as well, like swaddles, which you’re still buying it, but it is preloved, so you’re not necessarily – you’re giving that money to another parent, and not a corporation, which is kind of cool, and keeping those things out of landfills, which is also wonderful.

Kristin:  Exactly.  Any tips as far as things to avoid registering for?

Lexi:  There are very few blanket recommendations that I make.  Kaitlyn from Be Her Village and I were talking about this.  She’s like, “I want to know what’s on your black list.”  The only things, honestly, for me, are things that have safety issues with them.  So obviously, anything that’s been recalled, you can go on the CPSC website, put in a product that you want to register for or that you’ve heard is really good, and you can re-report if there are any on their website of those.  For me, it’s not necessarily the actual product; more so how they’re used, so, like, those sleep pods, like the Dock A Tot, they’re now sold as loungers because they’re not allowed to use the language of sleep pods.  But a lot of parents still use them for sleep.

Kristin:  Right, which is challenging.

Lexi:  Yeah.  So, again, it’s navigating that conversation of while this product is in your home, this is the appropriate way to use it.  This is the safe way to use it, and here’s how it should be – the uses you should avoid it for.  I think the only one that I struggle with the most are formula dispensers, for two reasons.  Number one, babies under the age of three months, or if they’re immunocompromised, they need a special way to have formula prepared, so it’s not actually about boiling the water, letting it cool down.  You’re actually supposed to scald the powder because that is what can have bacteria in it.  And formula dispensers don’t prepare things in that way, right?  So they’re not making it safely for babies under three months, unfortunately.  And also they’re not accurately dispensing the amount of formula that it’s supposed to all the time, so it’s really hard – like, you can’t keep track of that.  You don’t know whether your baby is having too much powder in there, not enough powder.  And that’s tricky.  And in the long run, you have to clean it after every three bottles, so in the long run, it’s not really more efficient, unfortunately.

Kristin:   Right, and if it’s not cleaned properly, then it leads to all of these other issues, like bacteria.

Lexi:  Honestly, other than things that have been safety recalled, which you can read all about those online, I don’t really have any blanket recommendations.  It is more so about, like, what fits for a family, what works for them, and how things are used.

Kristin:  Love it.  So Lexi, based on your background as a lactation support counselor, what are you loving within the feeding area?  I know you mentioned some of the newer products were a concern, but what do you love?

Lexi:  My favorite bottle to use is one of the least expensive.  They are the Evenflo glass bottles, just the glass, four-ounce.  You can use it with a slow flow Evenflo nipple, or you can use it with a Dr. Brown’s nipple.  I really like those.  They are a great shape for feeding.  That makes it optimal for babies that are fed from the body and for just piece feeding them and having a good latch.  And then the Nanobebe pacifier, if you are choosing to use a pacifier.  I really like that one for the shape, and it also kind of forms to the face really well, which helps keep things in there.  As far as for lactating parents, I think Silverette cup.  I don’t know if you have heard of those or had experience with those.  They’re pretty cool.  They’re like these stainless steel kind of – it’s not really a nipple shield, but it goes over the nipple.

Kristin:  And collects, yes.  I love it.

Lexi:  Yeah, it collects it.  It prevents damage and it helps heel.  It’s – they’re really cool.

Kristin:  Awesome tips, thank you!  So any other ideas to share for our listeners or doula clients who are prepping their registry?

Lexi:  I would just encourage you to really look into local resources.  I’m going to plug Be Her Village.  I’m not sponsored by them, but I just really believe in their mission and spreading the word.  My favorite part about them is that the money goes directly into your bank account if you have a registry, and then if you don’t end up needing that service, you can spend it on what you need.  So if you plan on feeding your baby from your body and you end up not needing a lactation consultant, or end up using formula, you can use that money for diapers instead or a meal service or other things like that.  And it kind of also connects you with – it widens your horizons of what’s even available around you, which is pretty neat.

Kristin:  Right.  You can see all the experts in your area by searching for the different services.  That’s very helpful.

Lexi:  Again, avoiding that Google wormhole.  Love-hate relationship with Google.

Kristin:  It can be terrifying and overwhelming all at once.  Yes, avoiding Google and trusting expert sites and resources is what it’s all about.  So if our listeners want to get in touch with you, you obviously do virtual work as well as in person.  How can they best reach you, Lexi?

Lexi:  The best way, I think the most active way to reach me, is on Instagram.  My handle is @hatchlingcle.  And then my website, too, which has all of my contact info on it.

Kristin:  And you’re located in Cleveland, so not too far away from us in Michigan here.  We actually have sunshine today.  It’s been a long time.

Lexi:  I know.  See, I looked outside this morning – well, I went to work before it was dark, but after a while when I was at work, I looked out the window, and I was like, oh, my gosh, I can’t wait to leave just so I can be in the sun.

Kristin:  Right.  It’s so needed.  Well, I loved our chat.  I can’t wait to learn from you at the certification course.  So I am all about adding different knowledge bases to my profession, so the baby registry service is something that I don’t have the background that you do on, so thank you for making this available to doulas and other childbirth professionals.

Lexi:  You’re so welcome.  I can’t wait to see where this is going to go.  This is the first time we’re offering this, so it’s kind of a new ride for us, too, and we’re all very excited to get this going and spread the word about it.

Kristin:  Awesome.  Any other resources to share before we pop off?

Lexi:  Not that I can think of off the top of my head.  I am constantly sharing resources in my Instagram stories, though, so check that out.

Kristin:  I know you’re on LinkedIn, as well, and you share some content there for the business professionals.

Lexi:  Oh, one other thing I’ll plug – sorry, it just popped in my head.  I also do some work with major care doulas, which is – we call it a postpartum doula in your pocket.  So if you don’t have a postpartum doula in your area and you’re looking for virtual on-call support, that’s a wonderful service, and they have a whole guide of the first few months and what that looks like.  It’s a daily guide, and everyone who works on there is also great.

Kristin:  Awesome.  Thank you, Lexi, and appreciate you sharing all of your wisdom around the baby registry industry.  Take care!

Lexi:  Thank you for having me!

Thanks for listening to Gold Coast Doulas.  Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.  If you like this podcast, please subscribe and give us a five-star review.  You can also check out our Baby Registry Consultation services. Thank you!  Remember, these moments are golden.