There’s a new Gerber baby and some parents are going crazy – Low Calorie Diets Tips

Kelsey O’Hagan first heard about the Gerber photo hunt from a nurse at a doctor’s appointment for her now 12-month-old son Everett.

“She said, ‘Oh my god, you have to submit him, he’s so cute, he has such a good personality, and you could win $25,000,'” said Ms. O’Hagan, a 30-year-old housekeeper-housewife from Methuen , Mass. As part of the application process to become the baby food company’s new “spokesperson baby,” she sent in a photo and video of Everett taken in April.

“I knew he wasn’t going to win – not because I don’t believe in him, but I just had a gut feeling that it was impossible,” she said.

Her instinct was right. On May 4th, Gerber announced the winner of its 12th Annual Gerber Photo Search: Isa Slish, an 8-month-old beauty with clear blue eyes, long lashes and an adorable smile.

Isa was born on the “Today” show without a femur or fibula in the right leg, a condition known as a congenital limb discrepancy, delighted the hosts, while her mother Meredith said money was being “set aside” for her daughter’s surgeries.

Isa beat out more than 225,000 entries since Gerber announced the contest a month earlier, on April 4.

Perhaps it was the speed of the announcement (previous competitions have lasted two to five months), or the fact that many of this year’s cohorts of eligible “babies” – a term used loosely – were born in a Covid-19-riddled world, but This year’s announcement drew more than a few grumbles online. That happens often, but this year the response on social media channels like Instagram has been much sharper than usual.

The original Gerber baby, a 94-year-old charcoal drawing by Ann Turner Cook, who died Friday at the age of 95, has some cachet in the parenting world, but the current Gerber photo quest, launched in 2010, is plenty younger .

The competition, said Shannon Frieser, a representative for Gerber, “allowed us to learn more about the hopes, dreams, challenges and differences of babies and families from many different backgrounds.”

Over the past decade, the number of entries has also fluctuated wildly, from 110,000 in 2017 to 544,000 in 2019. The winners reflect the experiences of children from across the country, including an adopted child, a child with Down syndrome and a ” Miracle Baby” who was born to a mother unsure how her cancer treatment would affect her ability to conceive.

Prize money ranged from $25,000 to $50,000, and the two most recent winners were also named “Chief Growing Officer,” a job that appears to require featuring Gerber foods on social media.

On Instagram, comments on this year’s winner had an edge. The most insensitive comments were deleted, but two main arguments remained: how was the competition decided so quickly and why do toddlers never win? And with that setback, the comments section turned into meta-discussions with harsh criticism and defensive justifications.

But there was also frustration behind the comments. “They picked the winner and she’s gorgeous, but I thought it would be cool if they even posted runner-up or top three or whatever in their stories,” as proof that other babies are being considered were, Ms. O’Hagan said.

She recalled a response to her own comment on Gerber’s Instagram, which said her son never had a chance and that Gerber had already picked a winner before the contest started.

The response, which she said was quickly deleted, claimed Gerber worked with an agency for the competition. (Answer from Gerber: “Gerber does not use an agency to select the winner of the photo search. Our judging team consists of Gerber employees.”)

Brittney, a 23-year-old stay-at-home mother of two from Sikeston, Missouri, shared the frustration. “I was just really disappointed this year,” she said. “And I noticed that a lot of other mothers felt the same way. It’s not like the baby they picked is a problem. She is a beautiful little girl.”

“It gets a little lazy every year,” she added, because “I know Gerber had to collect at least hundreds of thousands of pics and videos, and it didn’t take long for them to pick a winner.” Out of concern for their kids’ privacy asked to be identified by her first name only.

Gerber said in a written statement to The New York Times, “Each year, the Gerber speaker baby is selected by a diverse panel of Gerber employees who ensure that all submissions are thoroughly reviewed. With more than 225,000 entries this year, we have expanded our jury, which carefully screened all entries to identify children from birth to four years of age who best demonstrate a bright personality and expressiveness. It is important to us that we give each submission the fair chance it deserves. Rest assured – we didn’t miss a single smile.”

Kevin Wagner, a 24-year-old father from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, entered the contest because people would say, “You look like the Gerber baby!” to his 2-year-old daughter. “That really made us want to try that, right, get our shot.”

But he too was abandoned. Babies have an advantage, said Mr Wagner, who works as a mover. “That way they can test the baby formula,” he said. “You haven’t really picked a 2-year-old or 3-year-old kid when it’s going to be 4. They say it’s a cute baby contest, not a sad story contest,” he said.

In 2011, the first winner of the competition, Mercy Townsend, was 2 years old, although since then all winners have been under the age of 1. Gerber said in a statement, “All babies are considered equally in the Gerber photo search and we hope to have another toddler speaker in the future.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has touched every parent who enters the Gerber photo quest. Brittney, for example, gave birth with a mask. And the frustrations of pandemic parenting continue: a childcare crisis; women are leaving the workforce in droves; the fact that children under the age of 5 still cannot be vaccinated.

And now the massive formula shortage — a slow-motion disaster that began with a recall in February and exacerbated supply chain problems caused by the pandemic — is the current stressor, and Brittney, along with other mums, drives hours to various stores just to get it do Try to find a can of formula.

“I feel like a lot of parents were desperate because of the formula recall,” she said, “to get the money from the Gerber search,” adding that the problem was broader.

“For infant formula, diapers and wipes it has been difficult when people are hoarding toilet paper and even the older generation is hoarding baby wipes. It’s a dangerous situation and you have these angry moms. The pandemic has really hit parents harder than anything else. It hit her hard.”

The eruption of emotion online made it clear that a contest with slim odds is also a linchpin for frustrated pandemic parents to share a little of their story. They have worked and suffered with very little institutional help, and they want to be seen and recognized for their efforts.

When Ms O’Hagan’s son was born in June, instead of going home with her, he had to be cared for in the neonatal unit for three days for further testing and monitoring. She went to visit and asked if there was any chance of getting a room so she could stay with him. The nurse said no, she said, citing new pandemic protocols.

She said it was hard going through it as a new parent, but Everett has been better since then. “We don’t go out and socialize much. We’ll see a handful of people we know. It’s a different life. There are many emotions.”

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