CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

When baby is big business

PUBLISHED: 12:21 17 December 2010 | UPDATED: 14:47 20 February 2013

making the right choices for you

making the right choices for you

It could be argued thst today's children have never had it so good, but modern parents now have more choices than ever before too. Jill Parsons looks at the booming baby business in the cotswolds


Modern parents are often regaled by tales of previous generations making do when it came to babies. If the legends are to be believed, babies were expected to spend their early months kipping in a draw with only a cotton reel to play with and a jar of rice as a rattle.

While the reality was no doubt a rather more cosseted start to life, it's certainly true that new parent know that having a baby heralds the start of a spending sprees that will last a generation. With clothes, classes, childcare and all manner of wonderful accoutrements befitting the well-heeled baby available, parents know that babies are the ultimate investment from the moment they arrive.

Many parents turn away from the big cities and head to the country with their offspring in tow, and the Cotwolds is a notably child-friendly place, with excellent childcare and schools, plenty to do and lots of fresh air.

So it's no surprise that there are a number of businesses carving out a niche for themselves in the booming baby business.

Antenatal Choices, a company specialising in antenatal courses involving both pampering and practicality that are run at the Lygon Arms Hotel in Broadway and started by two young mums from the Forest of Dean, was one of the first in the country to highlight the concept of "babymooning". The idea, which originated in America, was to offer pampered adult breaks before the sleepless nights, fatigue and general chaos of a new baby begins.

Co-founder Jean Heaman, who has recently sold the company but still runs the weekend courses that are currently held every three or four weeks at the Lygon Arms, says that the tranquillity of the Cotswolds, coupled with the luxury of staying in a top hotel, gives couples the perfect opportunity to relax while taking practical steps to prepare for their baby's birth and beyond.

"It gives new parents the chance to learn about becoming a parent and what that could involve for them, while making it a pleasurable and restless experience, especially for the mothers-to-be. There's plenty of demand because either parents are not finding the information or classes they are looking for through the health system, or they have very busy lives and find it very difficult to find something that will fit their own plans.

"Also, a residential course helps you to take a step back from your busy life and take valuable time out as a couple. The idea is to provide high quality antenatal classes in a luxury hotel setting in small groups, leaving couples plenty of time to de-stress and focus on the birth of their baby. We cover a range of birth and postnatal topics including birth positions, pain relief, the role of the birth partner and what to expect in the first six weeks after the baby is born, as well as the chances to have lots of pampering, which is just as important."

Cotswold mums-to-be are also making good use of the latest chance to have a sneak preview of their future arrivals through a range of detailed scans of their babies.

Babybond, in Cirencester, offers the chance to have 2D and 4D scans to provide pictures and videos of the child before its arrival, in an atmosphere that is very different to a hospital. "Babybond is providing a beneficial alternative for people who want the bonding experience, without the antenatal screening protocols already provided by their hospital," said Jenny To of Babybond.

"Nearly all of Babybond's sonographers still actively scan in obstetrics within the NHS, so that Babybond's clients are reassured by the knowledge that the sonographer will observe a professional duty of care at all times - and provide a fabulous bonding experience for the parents."

Other issues are paramount once the baby arrives. There may be a wealth of childcare available, but how do you find suitable, affordable help around the house? For Jo Lawrence-Mills, her own experiences with au pairs suggested that there was definitely a gap in the market for a more personal service.

"Finding au pairs can be quite stressful, especially as it can be hard to identify a family's needs. I set up my agency, Toto's, five years ago so that I could get to know families and, rather than bombard them with candidates, make a good selection for them. Having been through it myself, and starting my business when my youngest was one, I knew what to look out for.

In return for a placement fee, Toto's will locate suitable candidates, using reputable agents in a number of countries, for a particular family and will be on hard to offer advice on making it work smoothly.

Jo points out that there are particular issues facing au pairs who come to the Cotswolds, particularly given that it is a largely rural area. "Au pairs come to this country to learn English and it is important that they go to college, so very often a car will need to be provided. They will also have to make more effort to make contact with other au pairs in the area, some of who may be quite isolated. We try to offer as much support as we can and make sure it's a mutually beneficial experience for all concerned."

Contacts List

Antenatal Choices: www.choices-antenatal.co.uk

Toto's Au Pair Agency The Bell House, Luckington, Wiltshire SN14 6NT

Tel: 01666 841225 fax: 08700519495 email: jo@totosaupairagency.co.uk

Babybond Cirencester: 85 - 87 Cricklade Street Cirencester GLOS GL7 1JF

Tel: 01285 643 800, Email: cirencester@babybond.com

0 comments

More from People

13:00

Helping clients through divorce, separation and disputes over children, we talk to 8 divorce lawyers in the Cotswolds

Read more
11:12

We’ve some extraordinary, and inspiring, women in business in the Cotswolds. We talk to 7 female trailblazers in local industry who offer the business advice they’ve lived by

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

25 years in business is no mean feat – and the owner of Lauren’s Catering has lost none of his ambition

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Julian Dunkerton has moved his family’s cider-making business from Herefordshire to the outskirts of Cheltenham, where it boasts a state-of-the-art production unit and a stylish new shop. But don’t think the heart of the business has changed one whit: it still honours the core values Ivor and Susie Dunkerton held dear when they planted their first apple tree, nearly 40 years ago

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

If you want to spread some Christmas cheer to those in need, here are some fantastic charities in the Cotswolds to donate to

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Harnessing the power of social media, charity awards and dreaming up new projects - it’s all in a day’s work for Gloucestershire children’s charity Pied Piper and its corporate supporters

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Cotswolds’ very own Prince of Wales turns 70 this month, so we looked back on some of the highlights of his life and career, and wondered what birthday pressies we would buy for the man who has the world at his feet

Read more

Thanks to the impact of ground-breaking comedy This Country, the quiet market town of Northleach has become one of the Cotswolds’ hottest film locations. Katie Jarvis is sent to investigate

Read more
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

When landowners are looking to sell their land, and want a transparent journey that delivers them best value, Rosconn Strategic Land is here to take them through the process.

Read more

Radio DJ Paul Gambaccini has secured a payout from prosecutors over unfounded allegations of historical sex offences. The presenter, 69, was arrested in 2013 over a claim he sexually assaulted two teenage boys in the early 1980s. Mr Gambaccini always denied the claims, calling the case “completely fictitious”. He spent a year on bail before the case was dropped. Two years later he gave this interview to Katie Jarvis

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Barn Theatre’s artistic director, Iwan Lewis, talks to Candia McKormack about a rather special project aimed at bringing the Cotswold community together in commemoration of the Great War’s fallen

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The environmental charity set up to protect Stroud’s industrial heritage now enhances the lives of its own volunteers. Katie Jarvis meets chief executive Clare Mahdiyone to hear about her Cotswold Life

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Alex Caccia was in two minds about setting up Animal Dynamics as a limited company, but a shark attack warning changed all of that. Tanya Gledhill meets a man on a mission to change propulsion, one animal at a time

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

He quit his job with a few thousand pounds in savings and an empty garage. In less than a year, Nick Grey’s technology company Gtech was flying. Tanya Gledhill meets him

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search