Rock-a-Buy Baby: Consumerism by New, First-Time Mothers
Rock-a-Buy Baby: Consumerism by New, First-Time Mothers, is the first known sociological exploration of need-based consumption for babies, despite the baby gear industry being a $6-billion-dollar business. Data stemmed from qualitative, semi-structured interviews with new, first-time mothers. The insights gained from the present study tell us a great deal about the needs that predominantly white, middle-class mothers socially constructed in anticipation of their first child, and the consumptive behaviors used to accomplish these "needs." Respondents had turned to similar resources (other mothers, online forums, consumer reports, books, magazines, etc.) to help them construct need and formulate decisions among commodities. The ways expectant mothers accumulated items are ritualized and made tradition. The baby shower and gift registration process (which all of my respondents participated in to some variation) are social constructions; these practices, which are so strongly tied to consumption, also constituted reality for mothers, and inevitably, their babies.