CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When Charlotte mom Stephanie Keel was laid-off from Bank of America, she decided it was time to re-invent herself and come up with an entirely new career.
"I was the one my friends always went to when they had questions about baby things. What kind of car seat to buy, what recalls they needed to be aware of," Keel said.
She had an educational background in biology, the social networking skills she learned at her bank job, and a keen interest in all things baby.
Then she learned about a company called Sweet Pea Baby Planners. Based in Colorado, it's one of approximately 40 baby planning businesses in the United States. The concept started in Europe around 2004 and has reached across the pond to become popular here.
"I can help families with everything from researching recalls and setting up the nursery, to helping older children adjust to a new baby in the house and transitioning children into nursery schools," Keel said.
One of her clients, Kelly Davis, was in need of some major help.
Kelly and her husband, Carolina Panther Thomas Davis, are expecting baby #4. Thomas Davis is recovering from a football injury and Kelly is nursing him while still busy running the family's charitable foundation and keeping the household in working order.
"I knew I needed help getting everything ready for the new baby. With it being our fourth we thought we knew it all but we found out we didn't," Kelly said.
Along with setting up and organizing the nursery, Stephanie is assisting Kelly in transitioning two-year-old Thomas, Junior into his new "big boy" bedroom.
"Stephanie was able to help show Junior where his new bedroom would be and she had him help in moving his things so he felt more comfortable about losing his room to the new baby," Kelly said.
Stephanie doesn't pretend to be an expert. She is a hand-holder and researcher who has the time to find the answers some busy moms don't have. When she doesn't have the answers, she has an army of experts and companies at her fingertips to find them.
"I was able to bring in a baby-proofing company to make sure the house is safe and ready. I have lactation experts I can reach out to. I even have photographers I work with who can schedule special photo sessions," Stephanie said.
It's a service any mom would want to take advantage of, but can every mom afford it?
Full-service packages like the one the Davis family purchased, can get pricey. However, Stephanie says she does provide a la carte services for approximately $80 per hour, negotiable depending on a family's needs.
Please click the links at the top of this page for more information about baby planning.