For the super-rich, preparing for parenthood means serious spending
How the 1% give birth: For the super-rich, preparing for parenthood means some serious spending. Gem-encrusted, £4,000 Moses basket, anyone?
Having baby-name consultations is a big thing. It’s come over from Los Angeles,’ explains Tiffany Norris matter-of-factly.
‘I had one couple who were so fixated on finding a unique baby name that I ended up hiring a linguist, a poet and a marketing expert, and we all sat round brainstorming names until we found one the parents loved. Then they ended up not using it and choosing a very normal name instead.’ Sadly, Norris can’t reveal either chosen moniker, as the parents are ‘in the public eye’.
This is the world of the super-rich, where money is plentiful and outlandish demands prevail. As The Mummy Concierge (@mummyconciergehq) it is Norris’s job to hand-hold her ultra-wealthy clients through pregnancy and new parenthood. In the process, she has become unshockable.
‘The other day I was helping a client find a pregnancy psychic,’ says Norris. ‘She wanted to know whether she’s having a boy or a girl, but it’s too early for a scan.’ Another expectant mother is having ‘weekly maternal sound baths to help her and the baby feel chilled’. No harried midwives or stuffy NHS waiting rooms here.
The babies born into mega-wealthy families spend their early months travelling on private jets, holidaying in the Maldives and sleeping in nurseries bigger than your average studio flat. But, as Norris points out, being worth millions doesn’t protect parents from having ‘exactly the same freak-outs’ as their more mortal peers.
Her clients, who include hedge-fund managers, celebrities and heiresses, all have one thing in common: they want the best for their children. And in the world of the one per cent, that means spending an awful lot of dosh.
Having baby-name consultations is a big thing. It’s come over from Los Angeles ,’ explains Tiffany Norris matter-of-fact (file photo)
One of the first things they turn their attention to is the nursery. This will always involve a specialist interior designer.
At Dragons of Walton Street in London’s Chelsea – a nursery-design favourite among the millionaire set – you can buy a Moses basket that ‘positively glimmers with hand-cut crystals’ for £4,100. Or perhaps a bed shaped like a helicopter for £60,000? Better still, head to nearby children’s furnisher Blue Almonds for a bespoke cot with the family crest and hand-painted child’s initials (a plain one is from £955).
For a more modern Scandi look, celebrity parents choose Cam Cam Copenhagen, whose plain white cot will set you back £1,250 at Harrods. Any ultra-rich baby also needs a set of wheels, whether that’s a £3,000+ buggy from Cybex (‘glamorous, sleek and very well-made,’ says Norris) or a bespoke get-about from an independent designer incorporating the parents’ desired ‘paint colour, function and aesthetic’. Price tag? ‘From £10k upwards,’ she says.
It’s not all about the gear, though; even more important to the one-per-cent parent is finding the right staff. A nanny with the correct credentials (think Norland-trained, master’s degrees, multiple languages) can be subject to bidding wars between rival families with an annual salary of ‘up to £400k’, says Norris. And that’s before you consider their lifestyle of luxury hotels, superyacht suites and gifts ranging from Smythson notebooks to Chanel handbags.
Then there are the specialists, parachuted in to deal with the challenges of baby-rearing, such as £500-a-day potty trainers and £680-a-session sleep consultants. A major reason that clients come to mum-of-four Norris is because of her ‘little black book of the most incredible baby experts’, as she explains. ‘These are the people who have year-long waiting lists, but I’ve honed relationships with them, so if I call them up they’ll say, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll fit your client in’.’
For the super-rich mum-to-be, pregnancy and birth are not an excuse to look anything other than perfect. Pregnancy stylists are in demand, helping them look flawless even with a nine-month bump (popular brands include The Row and Gabriela Hearst). More surprising is that plenty of the babies get their own stylists, too.
‘I have a client whose three-month-old baby has a wardrobe worth over £50k,’ says Norris. ‘The baby’s stylist will go in every week and select outfits, then display them all beautifully so mum can dress her child.’ After all, little ones need to look good when attending their private members’ clubs, kids’ versions of which have sprung up in London’s posher neighbourhoods. There’s the £6,000-a-year Purple Dragon in Chelsea, whose features include a pool, climbing wall and golf simulator, and the up to £5,000-a-year Cloud Twelve in Notting Hill, where under 11s can enjoy ballet, cookery and art lessons while their parents lie back in the therapeutic spa.
Next year, Jesse’s House will open in Parsons Green, offering a crèche and jungle gym for the kids alongside reformer pilates and co-working spaces for the adults. Given the demand for such exclusive clubs, smart parents sign up for membership while the baby’s still in utero.
Billionaire baby starter pack
Cybex La Parisienne e-Priam, £3,290
Thought Bugaboos were bougie? Cybex’s e-Priam pram features a hand-cut organza woven canopy and 3,632 crystals.
Snoo Smart Sleeper Baby Cot, £1,395
‘An extra set of hands’ is how this cult-fave cot is billed. The hi-tech crib mimics the womb with gentle sound and motion to soothe little ones to sleep.
Loro Piana cashmere romper, £660
Yes, of course they’ll be sick on it within five minutes, but that doesn’t stop the wealthy buying wardrobes of baby cashmere to match theirs.
Josefina changing bag, £380
Naturally, the Parisians have made changing bags chic. This foalskin and cowhide number has compartments for nappies, bottles and wipes.
Owlet smart sock and baby monitor, £459
Surely the Nasa-level baby monitor, this features a ‘smart sock’ to monitor a baby’s oxygen level, heart rate and sleep trends.
Of course, all the money in the world can’t save you from giving birth – although, done the one-per-cent way, even that sounds quite appealing. The up-to £30k-a-pop Portland Hospital, where everyone from Victoria Beckham to the Duchess of Sussex have had babies, ‘is very much like a hotel experience’, says Norris. ‘It doesn’t look like a hospital at all, and the food is amazing.’ Meanwhile, the Kensington Wing at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is the top choice when discretion is key. ‘There’s a private room with a private lift that’s great for celebrities,’ says Norris. ‘It has mood lighting, a sitting room and a double bed for your partner.’ Hiring the Kensington Suite costs £2,200 a night, on top of the £9,350 fee for a C-section and extra charges for everything including dressings (from £50) and stitches (£900).
Thanks to the Princess of Wales, the most famous private maternity unit is the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington. ‘It’s popular as people want that iconic photo on the steps – obviously, they pay for a professional photographer to take them,’ says Norris.
While the UK’s super-rich are not confined to London, they certainly wouldn’t consider giving birth anywhere else. Norris cites a current client who lives outside the capital but plans to have her baby in the Kensington Wing. ‘We spent a day looking around all the luxury hotels in Chelsea, and now she’s booked one for the two weeks before her due date so she and her husband can stay there,’ she says. Other clients ‘have chauffeurs on standby or are helicoptered in’ so they can ensure the birth takes place at a leading hospital.
Post-birth, even with a hospital room that costs thousands a night, many will want it ‘transformed to look more like home’, whether that’s introducing preferred scented candles or putting up pictures of their family. It’s the perfect backdrop for a postnatal photoshoot.
‘We’ll bring in a make-up artist and hairstylist to make the mum look wonderful,’ says Norris, while ‘photographers who have shot for Vogue’ are hired to take the pictures.
A lovely keepsake for the ultra-rich family, of course, but also a snapshot of an extraordinary world.
Source: Read Full Article