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What to do about that stinky new baby smell

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As YouTube clearly demonstrates, people love babies: babies playing with kittens, babies giggling at the family dog, babies biting their siblings' fingers. So, why not improve them? After all, society is determined to enhance just about everything else. (Except for old people – they appear to be on their own.)

So where does that better baby trend get us? Perfume, for one, because really, who can stand that newborn baby smell?

As the Telegraph reports, parents will soon be able to spring for a pretty bottle of eau de toilette courtesy of Dolce and Gabbana – a blend of citrus, honey and melon, to "pamper every little boy and girl." Burberry is also hopping on the trend with the "warm floral notes" of their Baby Touch. (Wasn't it not that long ago that unscented baby products were considered the way to go, not just because, well, babies already smell pretty sweet but to avoid the chemicals? Trouble is, plain of soap and water, doesn't sell for about $60 a bottle.)

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This is only the latest in a trend to commercialize the very cohort of our species that should require the least adornment – and who are best left as long as possible without the imprinting that clothes and high-end cosmetics make the human. Baby toys are now designer; high chairs are deluxe. Just go shopping for a stroller, and you'll understand.

Meanwhile, Jezebel has posted this suitably snarky essay about a new website created by two mothers to show off their children and toddlers in the fashionable clothes. (Perhaps they are looking for a modelling contract? Certainly, they are seeking publicity, the website contains a link to press, which yes, this blog has now provided.)

But, this is a society struggling with rising rates of anxiety among teenagers, especially girls who are inundated with messages about what they should look like. Little kids now speak sagely about dieting. Eating disorders are on the rise. If anything, we need a serious conversation about limiting marketing to children not extended image pressure to our youngest. If baby gets gussied up, what happens when she turns six?

As Laura Beck wryly observes in the Jezebel piece: "It's never too early to teach your children vanity, self-obsession, and hyper-consumerism!" Sadly, she's right.

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About the Author

Erin Anderssen writes about mental health, social policy and family issues. More

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