Winner or not, all babies are beautiful

Bonds Baby Search 2014.
Bonds Baby Search 2014. 

Brace yourselves everyone and get your voting fingers ready.

It’s that time of year again when every new parent you know will spam your email, Facebook and Twitter feeds with requests to help their gorgeous bundle of joy become the Bonds Baby of the Year. Don't say you haven’t been warned!

The Bonds Baby Search launched in 2005 and has become one of the biggest photo competitions in the country with last year’s search attracting 65,500 entries and 295,000 votes.

Bonds Baby meme
Bonds Baby meme 

It’s understandable mums and dads across the country are keen to enter their gorgeous babies and toddlers in the annual search and give their little ones a chance to shine in the spotlight. After all it’s a parent’s job to believe their child is the most beautiful thing ever created. Who could blame them?

But to those who have been hovering over the keyboard with smiling baby pictures in hand and eagerly awaiting the opening of this year’s competition, I have two pieces of advice.

Firstly, don’t spend the next two weeks spamming your Facebook friends, colleagues, associates, former high school sweethearts and anyone you have ever met begging them to vote for your son or daughter.

After all it’s a cute baby competition, not a “how good are mum and dad at guerrilla marketing tactics?” competition. So keep your requests for votes to close family and friends and let your gorgeous offspring’s sparkling eyes and million dollar smile speak for themselves.

Plus it makes your non-competition entering friends feel pressured and guilty if they don’t make an effort to vote for every smiling baby that pops up on their Facebook newsfeed.

There is no doubt friends think your child is gorgeous and they probably love seeing photos you post of your little one growing up. But who has time to fulfill the hundreds of requests for votes that will come their way over the next two weeks? It doesn’t mean people love your baby any less, they are just leading busy lives.

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The second piece of advice is keep it friendly! Who could forget when the Bonds Baby Search led to racist and cruel taunts about some entries by a few mothers angry at how the competition panned out a few years ago?

It was a voting glitch during the 2011 baby search which caused chaos and led to one disgruntled mother writing that one of the winners was  "A child only a mother could love". Another baby was called an "ugly duckling."

The whole episode was very sad display of mums behaving at their worst.

The mother of one of the original Bonds Baby Search winners agrees the key to getting the most out of the competition is to not take it too seriously.

Mercedes Maguire’s daughter Ava was chosen as one of six Bonds babies in the inaugural 2005 competition but points out the win did not alter the path of her child’s life.

“Very few people even know about it, it's not something I dwell on at all. Of course I was really proud at the time, it felt like somewhat of an honour. And it was a fun experience, but that is all,” Mercedes says.

“My advice would be to make sure you put your baby up for a competition like this without getting too committed to the idea. If you'd be devastated if they didn't win or if your friends are being hounded over and over to vote, you may need to question your motives.”

So, proud parents, go forth and enter. But if the apple of your eye turns out to be one of the tens of thousands of babies who is not chosen as one of the cutest or most photogenic, don’t despair.

They will still be the world’s most beautiful baby in your eyes, and that’s what counts.

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