Because the best solution is always talking.

Here’s the one thing about life that I’ve learned over the past ten years:  for every person you meet, you’ll encounter a different opinion.

Each opinion is born of that individual’s unique history and experiences, the knowledge they have, and the prejudices they harbour. Just as no two people are exactly alike, neither are any two experiences.

Bounty is a prime example.

Earlier this year, the parenting club hit the headlines because some people felt that Bounty was failing new Mums. Bounty reps routinely visit new Mums on maternity wards, distributing ‘Bounty packs’ of samples, along with child benefit forms.

Some blogs I read argued that this was an invasion of privacy; that it was not sufficiently clear that the Bounty reps were commercial representatives, rather than NHS staff or ‘official’ agents. Some parents felt their privacy was invaded, they were pressured to buy products, or there was a lack of sensitivity shown to them by the Bounty reps at a time when they felt tired, vulnerable and emotionally exposed.

Other blogs presented a more positive view of a new Mum’s encounter with Bounty. Some new parents found the product samples welcome, and enjoyed meeting another visitor with their new baby. Many women reported finding the forums on the Bounty website to be very useful and supportive during pregnancy and the early days of pregnancy.

A few weeks ago, I was approached by Bounty who told me they were creating an independent advisory panel that will advise Bounty on its daily, face-to-face interactions with new parents.

The advisory board is being chaired by Dame Karlene Davis DBE, former general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, who will be joined by Francine Bates, chief executive of The Lullaby Trust, Carole Garrick, head of midwifery and associate director of the Western Sussex NHS Trust, and David Barker, former head of partnerships at the Royal College of Midwives.

Those are some fairly impressive experts who I’m confident will give Bounty good, independent advice.

But what’s missing from the board is the voice of parents themselves – and so I am pleased to say I will be joining the Bounty Advisory Board.

What does that mean? Well, over the next year, I’ll attend a series of meetings with my fellow board members and we’ll talk about what Bounty does, what it could do better, and how the company can better meet the needs of  parents.

I’m not an ambassador for Bounty. The company is very clear that they’re not expecting me to act as an advocate – they just want to hear the honest views of parents like me (and you).

So that’s what I’ll do.

I’ll be asking all my blog readers and Twitter followers what THEY think about Bounty, and then my role is to go to those meetings and amidst all the medical jargon and NHS policy talk, I’ll be the advocate for people like us.

I am pleased by some of the changes Bounty is introducing to try and drive up standards – new uniforms, the distribution of Sleep Safety leaflets to all new parents, the creation of a midwife-staffed helpline for new parents, and feedback forms for parents so they can immediately tell Bounty if something good (or bad) has happened.

But there’s more work to be done.

I am a big believer that in life, you can’t like everything or everyone. But standing on the sidelines never created real change. That only happens when people start to talk – and listen. And I hope that’s  what’s going to happen over the next year. I can’t remove Bounty from maternity wards, but I can try to be a part of the process that makes their presence there a more positive experience for more people. And that process starts here, with my blog readers. Tell me what your experience of Bounty was as a new parent. Given the current system, what could be improved? What changes would you like to see?

[Disclosure: I have requested that my fee for being a part of the Bounty Advisory Board be donated to The Lullaby Trust, in memory of Matilda Mae. I won't receive any financial payment for taking part in this project. I'm just there to represent parents, and ensure our voices are heard.]

 Pic credit: Shutterstock

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the HIBS100, Foodies100 and Tots100 - an online community of more than 15,000 UK bloggers. She is also a busy single Mum to Flea, the world's coolest eight year old.

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53 Comments

    • says

      Thanks Lindy! As you know, I’m a big fan of talking to companies direct when there’s a problem or issue that might be fix-able!

  1. says

    I can’t say that I really remembered the bounty lady either time I gave birth in hospital, but I certainly followed the furore on twitter a while back. I think any organisation which is listening to it’s detractors and trying hard to improve, should be applauded, so good on you for putting the views of parents forward.

    • says

      I’m similar – I don’t have strong feelings either way about Bounty reps (I’m not sure I remember mine) so I hope I’ll have a fairly balanced voice.

  2. says

    What an amazing thing to be involved in! It’s great that Bounty are listening and are wanting to change for the better! Personally I loved the Bounty ladies who I came to me after all three of mine :)
    Sonia recently posted..Eden Hall Day Spa ReviewMy Profile

  3. says

    I had c-sections with both my girls. The first time I didn’t see the Bounty lady as it was Christmas Eve and I was one of the only people on the ward. The second time she poked her head round the curtain while I was resting and my husband was holding the baby, she told me she would come back later. She came back the next day, and I mentioned that I didn’t really want any photos done because I am an amateur photographer myself. We ended up chatting about photography for a while and I found her to be nice and not at all pushy. I am sure that like in all professions, there may be some that let the side down, but my experience of Bounty was that they were an insignificant part of my time in hospital. Yes the packs were full of junk and a lot of wasted paper, but I got a few good samples that I did use.
    I am sure that for women who have seen the negative side of Bounty, that having this panel will be nothing but a good thing. I am sure that they have seen the uproar that happened a few months ago, and will put procedures in place to make sure that they make some changes. The panel can only be a good thing, as anyone who put’s new Mums first and listens to them is a positive idea.
    And what a thoughtful thing to do with your fee. Good luck with it and I look forward to hearing what you all come up with.
    Katie recently posted..33 Months- Racing Closer To Three.My Profile

    • says

      I found some of the samples handy, too – as someone with allergies and with a baby prone to allergies, it’s nice sometimes to test things before buying a big pack :)

    • says

      It’s my pleasure. I think we all spend a lot of time thinking, “If only there was something I can do,” and honestly? It’s nice to have something I *can* do.

  4. says

    I have always found Bounty to be supportive and informative. I still get emails now telling me what Matilda Mae might be doing if she were alive. I cannot bear to stop them and it helps me to imagine what she might be getting up to now. Thank you so much for donating your fee to The Lullaby Trust and thank you for working with Bounty. I think they need the support and opinions of good strong mummies x You are an inspirational one for me x

  5. says

    I had a fairly positive experience with Bounty, didn’t really chat to the lady or anything, but could have done without all the advertising – I had tons in the recycling at home and it felt a terrible waste.

    A family member had a horrible time. The Bounty lady didn’t identify herself and told her and another lady their baby needed a photo taking ‘for security purposes’. The other lady fell for it whereas family member didn’t. So in some ways as this happened before my experience I was ready for anything bad whatever state I was going to be in when they came round.

    The other lady received some awful photos and a bill to pay for them a few weeks later.

    I think as long as the Bounty Ladies are clear about what they’re doing then it’s okay. But bad ones should be easily reported. I’m not aware of this being done by family member, whether it’s because it’s the last thing you’re thinking about as well as a new baby.

    Congratulations on this role, I really hope it does make a difference!
    jo recently posted..How To Lose A Lemur by Frann Preston-GannonMy Profile

  6. says

    Good for you.

    I’ve got a lot to say about this actually, having experienced Bounty 6 times over 15 years. I’ll come back to say it though and if I don’t, try to prod me. (Have to go and cuddle a grumpy boy just now).
    Merry recently posted..Who am I? Who are you?My Profile

  7. says

    Go Sally and Go Bounty!!

    I had good experiences with the bounty workers that I saw. Like everything growth and change is needed every so often and thats a good thing as this keeps the company/brand always on their toes to do their best.

    Please do shout if we can help in any way :-)
    Jaime Oliver recently posted..Smoke Free … Who Me?My Profile

    • says

      Thanks Jaime. you can help by telling me your thoughts, and experiences and suggestions. I’m really there to be a voice for all of us :)

  8. Chelle says

    I think it is a brilliant thing to be involved in. The only way we can make things better is to talk, listen and help this type of company make a change by being involved. No one wins if we stand by the sideline and complain so it’s great that you have been asked.

    Lovely of you to donate your fee to the Lullaby Trust too.

  9. says

    I’ve got to say, reading this as a parent, this is an incredibly empowering post. Personally, I didn’t experience any of the pushy sales that I’ve read and heard about from some other parents, the Bounty lady I encountered on the ward was respectful and kind, leaving me alone when I said I didn’t want a photo. But whatever your experiences or opinions about Bounty – for or against – I think the fact they are willing to make changes and listen to parents is a GOOD thing. And it goes without saying that you’ve earned yet more of respect for donating your fee to The Lullaby Trust. x
    Molly recently posted..Scooter: 1, Hypermobility: 0My Profile

  10. says

    This is great news – it’s reassuring to know that the parents’ voice will also be heard during the review. I myself had no issues with Bounty with either of my stays in hospital, but I understand that this hasn’t always been the case for others, and an improved service is crucial at such a momentous time in people’s lives. Best of luck in your new role.
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  11. says

    Without wishing to sound like a sixty-year-old mother who doesn’t get out enough, I am so proud at this moment. Proud that you have taken the opportunity to speak for others who are desperate to have their voices heard, proud that you are asking for opinion when you have so many of your own(!) and so proud that you are donating the fee to such a worthwhile cause. *wipes tears* *goes back under her rock*
    Domestic Goddesque recently posted..Take a fresh look at the new look Tesco Finest rangeMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks Kelly, I don’t mind admitting I thought very carefully about whether it was the right thing to do – mostly because of course, in standing up and doing something like this, you’re a target for criticism, but it’s so heartening to have had such a positive response, and I’m really looking forward to going to those meetings and sharing opinions for all of us, not just me :)

  12. Helloitsgemma says

    Well done Bounty excellent group of women, completely appropriate to the women bounty is aiming to support. Brilliant response to the storm of the last few months. What a great opportunity.

  13. says

    I have quietly watched the bounty debate with great interest.

    I had two homebirths so never met the bounty lady or had a bounty pack. (I want to know what’s in them!)

    I think it’s really great that you are able to put a ‘real’ voice of ALL mums over to the rest of the board. Well done Sally.

  14. says

    This sounds like a very positive and promising thing. I’ve never had a problem with Bounty or with their packs. The lady that came to see me was really nice. I can believe some found theirs to be pushy or even rude in some cases and if there are pockets like this about that need to be addressed then I think the advisory board could really help with that.
    Notmyyearoff recently posted..You Turn AroundMy Profile

  15. says

    Good for you Sally, that’s great news. What a fantastic initiative to be involved in and with some inspiring individuals too. I found the Bounty packs beneficial for the most part. The photo rep that came to the hospital was lovely and didn’t force us into doing anything we didn’t want to do – it was our decision after all. A total contrast to a photographer doing a Christmas Day babies feature! Shout if you need anything and best of luck – not that you need it :)
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  16. says

    Sally it is wonderful that you have a place to influence what happens with Bounty in the future and donating your fee to such an important charity is so thoughtful. I think Bounty has a place somewhere in the system but I really question whether it is on the maternity ward when you feel like you have just been run over by a truck. If Bounty are serious about distributing useful information to women about SIDS and hopefully other relevant info like PND resources women won’t read it if it is given to them on the ward – they don’t have time once baby arrives. Can this information not be handed out in Bounty Packs by your midwife at a check-up or by a Bounty representative at the GP surgery BEFORE baby arrives? Yes, this means that babies who come early won’t necessarily get their pack but I think that giving mothers-to-be info before rather than when they are hostage to the situation in hospital is more sensible if you actually want people to read the information packs?

    • says

      Hi Kirsty, Thanks for your comment. As I said in the post, the decision as to whether Bounty is on maternity wards isn’t within my remit or power, but what I can do is try and ensure Bounty is working to make the experience of all women more positive. Not all women feel run over by a truck or like a ‘hostage’ in hospital but some do, and I think it’s important to consider what steps can be taken to ensure they aren’t put in a situation they don’t feel comfortable with.

  17. Victoria Dearaon says

    Hi

    Just to give you my experience Bounty rep at southend was only really there to sell photographs, if we got a pack I don’t remember.
    What upset me was we were in hospital for a week after birth and we thought it would be nice to have some photos and were talked into an £80 package. When the pictures arrived they were of poor quality both photographically (we paid for digital images which were over exposed and would require lots of photo editing skills which I don’t have) and the prints were grainy and flimsy. I had not realised they were just reps with a camera and not trained in photography in any way. I felt exploited by them as they provided such poor products for what was a lot of money.
    Thanks for taking our views forward.