MOMS GET SCOO...

MOMS GET SCOOP ON BABY CARE

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THE GAZETTE
July 26, 2004

MOMS GET SCOOP ON BABY CARE
Two local broadcast journalists channeled their frustration
as new parents into a slick, up-to-date video on infant
care. It’s now being used at clinics across Canada
By Lisa Fitterman

Lianne
Castelino makes me feel very tired. I’m sure
she’d make you feel tired, too, if only you
knew her. How could she not? Currently on maternity
leave with 41/2-month-old Jenna, she cooks,
cleans, feeds, schleps, soothes, breastfeeds
and, with business partner Andrea Howick, is
a bustling entrepreneur whose nascent educational
video and DVD business is starting to go big
time.

Their product, called Bringing
Baby Home
, comes from the idea that newborns
don’t come with operating manuals. On the market
since January, it’s the first in what the women
hope will be a series that contains tips and
advice about raising children – including the
all-important (for me, at least) Toilet Training
101.

CREDIT: JOHN KENNEY, THE GAZETTE
Andrea Howick (left), with Matthison, and Lianne
Castelino, with Jenna, cover no fewer than 120

topics in their 71-minute video Bringing
Baby Home

Castelino, 34, a longtime TV journalist,
first came up with the idea while attending prenatal
classes eight years ago with her husband, Louis Payette,
in preparation for the birth of their first child.

“The videos they showed were so outdated,”
the mother of three says during an interview in her
Montreal living room. “They were from the 1970s and
advice like placing babies to sleep on their stomachs
is quite outdated, given that it’s been linked to SIDS
(Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The instructors kept
telling us, ‘Disregard this,’ and ‘Don’t do that.’ I
told Louis we should do something.”

While on maternity leave with Mathieu,
now 7, she pitched her idea to Montreal-area hospitals.
But the timing wasn’t right: health-care dollars were
being slashed and no matter the interest, underwriting
an instructional video about baby care simply wasn’t
a priority.

Castelino didn’t give up. She’s stubborn.
One day in December 2002, she described her idea to
Howick, 33, with whom she’d worked briefly in TV, and
a beautiful partnership was born. They wanted to use
the sensibilities they formed in TV to make a video
about everything from bathing and breastfeeding to how
to get new daddies involved in childcare.

“Basically,” says Howick, who is mom to
3-year-old Luke and 10-month-old Matthison, “this was
the result of our frustration as new parents. These
are things we wanted to know, and things you couldn’t
call your own mom to ask at 2 o’clock in the morning.
It’s all about reassurance.”

“We’re journalists,” Castelino says. “We
know how to get to the point, how to give nuggets of
information.”

They used about $100,000 of their own
savings and enlisted the help of new parents and professionals
– nurses, doctors, family counsellors and even a car-seat
expert from the Canadian Automobile Association. The
result is slick, informative and quick, which is best
of all, given that time always seems to be at a premium
these days. (Well, it does, doesn’t it?)

No less than 120 topics, including how
to wipe crud from your baby’s eyes to when to book appointments
with doctors, are covered in only 71 minutes, but you
don’t feel rushed or overwhelmed. That’s the point.

Since the launch, they say the experience
has turned a bit surreal. Bringing Baby Home
is being used as a teaching tool in clinics across the
country, and other companies, including Kimberly Clark
Corp., the maker of Huggies diapers, are expressing
an interest.

Lianne Castelino makes me feel very tired.
I’m sure she’d make you feel tired, too, if only you
knew her. How could she not? Currently on maternity
leave with 41/2-month-old Jenna, she cooks, cleans,
feeds, schleps, soothes, breastfeeds and, with business
partner Andrea Howick, is a bustling entrepreneur whose
nascent educational video and DVD business is starting
to go big time.

THE GAZETTE

Published by:Lisa Fitterman