Baby-led design

A lot of baby-related products seem to have been designed with a mood-board of purity, simplicity, cleanliness, innocence, delicacy. Colours used are often white, or off-white, or cream white, or milk white. A kind of dreamy, christening-gown aesthetic.

I was going to call this approach baby-led design (in the spirit of baby-led weaning) and feel fairly smug about my clever name. Except, this issue isn’t stemming from babies, it comes from – I presume – product design teams aiming to appeal to adult buyers of baby products. And I don’t have a clever name for that situation.

Anyway, an example came to me several weeks ago although I’m just coming around to writing about it. It’s the size of silicone teats on formula bottles. The type we use have the size range – 1, 2, 3 etc – faintly etched in an opaque shape found, with great difficulty, at the bottom of the teat. It’s even more difficult at 3am, under a weak kitchen counter light as I try to give my daughter a ‘dream feed’. There was no reason for the designers to have made it so difficult. They could have indicated the age range of the teat by making it bright green.

It’s a bit like that egg-shaped baby monitor I wrote about recently. Looks nice. Feels nice in the hand. Deeply impractical.

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