By guest blogger and Mother & Baby Tester – Emma Button
I am very privileged to be a Mother & Baby awards tester. Not just because I was selected from thousands of applicants. Not just because I get to test and keep a number of products I wouldn’t otherwise have bought. Not just because it gives me a sense of pride each time I see a product bearing the M&B award badge, knowing that I helped them to achieve it. No, I am privileged because buying equipment for a young family is an expensive and stressful business. Most parents in Britain don’t get the luxury I have of trying out a wide range of products before they make their purchase.
I really enjoy testing Mother & Baby products. It gives me a sense of power, a sense of belonging. I know that the experiences I have and the judgements I make affect the decisions of hundreds, if not thousands of other parents who have to make the decision about the products on which to spend their hard-earned cash without having had the same luxury of testing all of the options first. With this comes an enormous sense of responsibility…
This time last year I tested breast-feeding and bottle-feeding products for the Mother & Baby 2009 awards. My daughter was a few weeks old. As I tried each product I would let my new mummy friends know about my experiences ˆ good and bad. It soon became apparent that the other new mums I spoke to were genuinely interested in my encounters. It was at that point that I decided to start my own blog to share my observations and, late last year, I shared some of my Mother & Baby testing experiences in a series of reviews, including ‘My Breast Feeding Best Buys’ http://www.mellowmummy.co.uk/2009/11/my-breast-feeding-best-buys.html.
It is an amazing feeling when you realise that people are making purchasing decisions based on the things you say. It is an incredible feeling of power accompanied by a heavy weight of responsibility. What if I recommend something that they hate? What if I have been swung by looks and in fact the product is rubbish? What if people feel they have wasted money on a product I told them was fab?
The answer of course is that, as parents, we are all different and have different uses and expectations of a product. So long as I am thorough and honest with my testing then my experiences are genuine, my advice cannot be criticised and the results of the Mother & Baby awards will be fair and representative.
This year I am testing both highchairs and Group 1 car seats. Both of these products are bulky and expensive which requires that (a) I have a large space to store them all and (b) I have a group of other parents who are willing to help me test them all. Thankfully, I am in the process of a house move so a few more boxes littered around my house will make very little difference. To help me out with the second point I enlisted the help of those self-same women who were hanging on my word in 2009.