The more things change the more they stay the same. We have all heard that saying, but what we sometimes don't realize is that even though things stay the same, the ways we go about doing those same things change. For instance, 100 years ago when we needed to get to work most people would walk, ride a horse, take a train, or take a trolley to get there. Now we still need to get to work but most of us drive a car or take a subway. 50 to 100 years ago if we needed to get a message to someone we would send a telegram or a handwritten note.
Now we still might send a handwritten note but more often than not we send them an e-mail! In the "old days" a mom would get advice and tips through the network of family members and friends who more likely than not were in the same town or village and within a short distance from her. With families and friends being spread across the country and the world, moms are now using the Internet to bring back aspects of that network. As moms rely on the Internet for information, they are also looking to the Internet for ways to share and manage their busy lives. Here are some of the trends I see with regards to moms using the Internet when it comes to childcare.
1. Since word-of-mouth from other moms is the greatest influencer on a mom's purchasing decision, she is turning to Internet forums and baby-related sites such as BabyCenter and iVillage to ask questions, seek out answers, and look at product reviews. 2. Many women who wait until they are older to have children are experiencing higher instances of multiple and premature births. They tend to be more concerned when having to make the decision to leave their baby in the hands of a nanny or other caregiver.
They want to know what is happening to their baby and they want to know as quickly and easily as possible. 3. Many moms are busier than ever and often don't have time to think in between working and trying to get sleep so they seek out tools that will help them with baby care decisions. They have less time than in the past to deal with these problems and are therefore looking for quick and effective ways to get the information or advice they need to handle their unique situations. 4. Many moms are returning back to work earlier but want to continue breastfeeding and want to know how their baby is doing during the day.
They are hiring baby nurses and pumping at work. This means that keeping track of how much she pumped, when her baby ate, or how much her baby ate as well as who did what and when becomes critically important in order to ensure the proper nutrition and health of her baby. 5. More and more moms are finding and hiring nannies over the Internet and nannies and nanny agencies are reaching out to moms via the Internet as well. Nannies are given access to and are using the Internet at their client's home and are using it to do their jobs better, check their email, and communicate with their peers.
Nannies and moms are also spending more and more time communicating by cell phone and email in order to schedule visits and coordinate other childcare activities. Some changes take a long time and many seem to happen overnight. Since the beginning of humanity we have taken care of our children but the ways we take care of them has changed drastically with the introduction of diapers, formula, baby safety related items, and most recently the Internet. Who would have thought that over 36.6 million moms in the US will be regular Internet users in 2010? (source: eMarketer.
com). The Internet enables her to do research so she can be a better-informed parent and a savvier consumer (51% of the moms surveyed say the Internet changed the way they get information about products and services) and allows her to network with other moms, as well. The overall trend is clear: more and more moms are using the Internet to communicate with each other and to get the information they need to take care of their babies. Nannies and nanny agencies are participating as well and are using the Internet to reach out to moms and their employees. With families spreading out and moms finding it hard to get the one-on-one face time with baby, family, and friends, the Internet is stepping in.
It is a tool that is helping make parenthood easier and bringing back some of the familial and social relationships that are so important in helping parents raise healthy children in a safe environment. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The tools we use to aid in childcare are different now, but the goal of safety, health, and love are still the same.
Are you ready to embrace the change?.
The author of this article, Aruni Gunasegaram, is the President/Founder of Babble Soft, which offers web and mobile software applications that facilitate communication between caregivers by helping them with breastfeeding support bottle feedings, mom's pumping, baby sleep patterns, diapers, immunizations and medicine doses as well as baby's first year photo album.