From professional blow-dries to ‘just left the womb’ photoshoots and personalised push presents, new mums in Dubai are taking advantage of VIP services from the comfort of the maternity suite.
Forget the traditional bouquet of flowers or celebratory bunch of balloons. New mums are now making the most of a range of five-star services that help them look and feel their best while making those first few hours or days in the hospital with their precious bundle even more memorable.
As a case in point, when the Duchess of Cambridge left London’s St. Mary’s Hospital in May 2015 with a tiny Princess Charlotte cradled in her arms, we couldn’t help noticing the bouncing blow-dry she’d received from hairdresser Amanda Cook Tucker.
When Kim Kardashian West gave birth to new son Saint in December 2015, in a US$4,000-a-night (Dhs14,692) luxury maternity suite at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, she also enjoyed access to selfie-ready services such as haircuts and mani-pedis.
Making a concerted effort to look your best immediately after delivering isn’t just a celebrity trend, however. Increasingly, it’s becoming the norm for those who need a little beauty boost after welcoming their new arrival.
In Dubai, Be Bar – Blow Dry Bar (mybebar.com) will visit the hospital to tend to the tresses of new mums.
“Lindsey Fournie and I, who founded Be Bar together, both have children and we know firsthand the benefits of having your hair done after having a baby. It just gives you a lift and makes you feel instantly more like yourself,” says Andrea Lindeyer, co-founder and creative director. “It’s so lovely having visitors at the hospital but if people came to visit you at your house you’d typically have the chance to shower, do your hair and put on some make-up, so why should it be any different in the maternity suite? No one wants all those first photos hidden away because they don’t like the way they look in them and if the Duchess of Cambridge can do it then why can’t we?”
The cost of a bedside blow-dry is from Dhs300 to Dhs450 and you can pick from a menu of seven signature styles plus braiding, which is great for those who want to look stylish but keep their hair out of their face at the same time.
It’s not all about beautifying treatments, however. Instead of booking a newborn shoot within the first few weeks, ‘just left the womb’ photography sessions now have the edge.
Zoom In Photography, which has bases at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai and Al Garhoud Private Hospital, manages up to 15 in-hospital newborn shoots a month and is noticing a rise in demand for the service. The photographers use a photojournalistic style and utilise natural light while keeping the atmosphere suitably comfortable and relaxed. A special rate is offered for those staying in partner hospitals while others pay Dhs2,000 a session.
“Our staff are experienced in newborn shoots, so they know how to catch mum in the best light and gloss over any imperfections, which dad might not be quite so experienced in doing,” says Anisa Al Sharif, co-founder, Zoom In Photography. “Plus we can ensure everyone is in all of the photos, rather than one person being at the other end of the camera. We understand that little babies are unpredictable sometimes and that new mothers can be sensitive in the first few days so we take our time with everyone.”
Remote baby monitoring company SnapSights (snapsights.ae) takes it a step further by offering a live streaming service from your newborn’s crib. Endearingly called The White Stork concept, the baby arrival announcement service effectively enables your nearest and dearest to make a virtual hospital visit from the comfort of their home – wherever in the world that may be.
“Thirty years ago a newborn was welcomed by an army of grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins right outside the hospital’s delivery room but now, in our globalised world, these family reunions are becoming increasingly rare, if not impossible,” explains Basak Sen Sasal, co-founder & general manager, Snapsights.
The White Stork concept comprises a simple system. First, a live streaming, wi-fi enabled camera is securely attached to baby’s crib side. The stream can be accessed through a smart device, such as an iPhone, via an app that requires a username and password to log in – the details of which can be shared by the new parents with their friends and families. The service costs Dhs1,300, which includes the full set-up at the hospital and you get to keep the camera when you are discharged so you can continue to use it at home.
Despite the trend originating in the US, push presents are becoming increasingly popular among new mothers in the UAE and the good news is we’re spoilt for choice. Those in need of inspiration can take the pressure off deciding what to buy, thanks to the new wave of personalised gift services available.
The ‘new mum’ Mama’s Box is packed with treats for mum and baby and can be delivered directly to the hospital. Typical treats for mums can include Lansinoh nipple cream, a Belly Bandit Belly Shield wrap designed to keep moisturisers and creams on your skin – especially great for post C-section mums – and a handmade pure soy wax candle. For new arrivals, contents can include a slogan onesie, a 100 per cent organic cotton soft toy, a JustEssentials handprint kit and Pearhead monthly milestone stickers.
The company requests some basic information about the recipients then creates a customised box to suit, with each one featuring a personalised note from baby to mum and another handwritten note explaining why the items have been chosen.
“It’s a lovely gift idea, especially considering that the first few hours after delivery are a rollercoaster of emotions,” says Chirin Khawatmi, founder of Mama’s Box. “Receiving a box packed with love, reminding the mama that everything she’s doing is appreciated and will be absolutely worth it, will hopefully make her very happy. We also want to show the new mum that although she’s now taking care of a precious life, there are also people taking care of her.”
The box costs from Dhs250 for four to five items and comes as part of the regular box subscription service or can be bought as a one-off gift.
Db Babies (dbbabies.com) also offers bespoke gift baskets featuring a selection of must-have products for mum and baby that can be embroidered in English or Arabic.
“Our customers want the very best, right from the start,” says managing director Jenny Haddad. “As well as personalised gift baskets, we can also hand deliver everything from the stroller of your dreams – which arrives fully assembled and beautifully gift-wrapped – to a top-of-the-range car seat that we can install in your vehicle in the hospital car park.”
With so many options available for new mums, the hospital stay has never seemed more appealing. In fact, we might just stay another night.
Words: Faye Bartle
Images: Getty and supplied