Last week I was supposed to sit down with The Baby Guy, Jamie Grayson, over a much needed choco-lunch at Jacques Torres. But as fate would have it, my babysitter bailed on me via text message that morning. So, instead we had to discuss all things baby over email, the old fashioned way. My goal was to pick his brain on how a single gay man became one of the most well known baby planners in NYC, learn more about his new site The Baby Guy Gear Guide, and to hopefully get a little free advice for you ladies…You can thank me later.
AS: So you studied acting in college, does that come in handy when you’re trying to comfort neurotic parents?
JG: As an actor, one thing I was always fascinated with was why people behave the way they do. I think this translates very well to my job as a baby planner because I deal with MANY types of families and “behavior.” Luckily, 99% of the clients that have hired me have been completely lovely individuals.
AS: Tell me about your time at Buy Buy Baby and Real Birth? How the heck did a single gay man end up working at a baby superstore and a childbirth education center?
JG: Well, BBB actually hired me as an actor to demo the Bugaboo Frog at the height of its popularity. Over the nearly 4 1/2 years I was employed there, I learned about every single item in the store because I felt the need to be completely honest with people. Because I was so honest, I had a waiting list sometimes 3-4 months long for registry appointments. Eventually, I began to tire of the retail mentality of “sell people expensive crap they don’t need” so I quit. As for my time at Real Birth, it gave me an entirely different outlook and appreciation for what I do. I went though all the classes there several times, so although people perceive me as a “baby gear head” (which i am) I know the other side of pregnancy and birth much more intimately than one would think.
AS: What is your official job title? Baby Gear Guru, Baby Concierge…you tell me.
JG: Oh lord. I have an aversion to the term “concierge”–at least for what I do. To me, a concierge is VERY subservient, and that’s not how I work at all. I am not going to run errands for you, or find a focus group for your baby name or any of that nonsense. I am, for lack of a better term, a Baby Planner. Aside from that, I am a Baby Gear Guru. (Editor’s Note: He’s being modest…NY Magazine named him that in their Best of NY 2010 issue, can we say famous?). My favorite title by far though is Guncle (Gay Uncle) to my adorable nugget twin nieces in Minneapolis.
AS: I’ve read some of your strong responses to Pregnant in Heels on your site. What’s your beef with Rosie Pope and the show?
JG: First and foremost: I have no beef with Rosie. I know Rosie and I think she’s great. My issue is that it seems NO ONE is fact-checking anything that is being presented on that show. When Rosie says, as an “expert,” that a c-section is easy because you “just lie there”—I am sorry. Information like that is EXTREMELY dangerous and damaging to the birthing education of this country. Our c-section rates are INCREDIBLY high, and to flaunt this horrible info for what is major abdominal surgery with major risks is irresponsible. THAT is what I have issue with. We are in a society that learns through what media presents. To think that a pregnant woman could watch this show, take her advice as legit, and apply it without doing her own research scares the hell out of me.
AS: Tell me about your new site, The Baby Guy Gear Guide, and why you decided to start it.
JG: Well, I’ve been with StrollerTraffic.com since it was conceived (pun intended), and have a lovely time as their Gear Guy. However, I receive shipments daily of baby products and there’s only so much I can write about for ST. So, I started my new site a month ago. I try to present a completely honest, unbiased view of gear and assorted other things I feel the need to chat about, while keeping it light. There is so much crazy in the world, why not have fun reviewing breastfeeding pillows?
a) Top 5 maternity must haves for mom for getting ready for baby’s arrival
1. Support team—be it doula, partner, friends, etc
2. Pre-made meals in that freezer!!
3. Classes—it’s important to take a great breastfeeding class and childbirth education class
4. Organic skin care for moms—Earth Mama Angel Baby rocks
5. An open mind…things will not go as expected all the time, so be open
1. a place for baby to sleep
2. swaddle blankets
3. a way to feed the nugget–be it breastfeeding or great bottles, i do not judge
4. a great baby carrier
5. diapers—cloth, disposable or hybrid
AS: What has being uncle to twins taught you about the reality of having children, beyond what you learned “in the field”?
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