Today I went to BabyFest, a huge baby & family convention here in Portland. There are similar shows all over the country, including another in the PNW in Seattle this September. Overall, I had a great time and recommend any pregnant mommies and partners to go if you’re able. There were plenty of vendors selling their products or services (no problem with that!), but there were also a ton of booths that were just informational and/or giving free samples, full-size products, demos, and more. After spending a few hours there, here are my tips for making the most out of your time.
Tip #1: Bring a partner or friend
I did not stop at every booth and I still brought home more than I alone could have carried (see our haul to the right). I was so thankful for my husband, because I for sure needed an extra set of arms – both for carrying around the info and products we grabbed as well as keeping track of things while I participated in demos. We even stopped off at our car part of the way through to drop off the VIP bag, since it was so loaded!
Unless you’re bringing a stroller or other carrying device, bringing a partner or friend to BabyFest will help immensely, since most of these events don’t have a place to store your gear.
Tip #2: Keep an eye out for free stuff you’ll actually use
Just by walking through the fest, you’ll be bombarded with information, samples, and offers at every turn. And while that’s not a bad thing, it can get overwhelming. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s worth grabbing, so evaluate what the product is before taking it. Admittedly, there are probably a couple things I would’ve passed up (can koozie, anyone?) – but overall, these are all things I full plan on using and/or want to have in case breastfeeding doesn’t work out.
I was pretty excited to bring home a ton of Earth Mama Angel Baby full size samples – organic and local! We also got a variety of breastfeeding gifts from Babies R Us, and formula/supplement products from Enfamil and Similac. Check out the photo to the right for all of the completely free things we snagged from BabyFest.
Tip #3: Yes, the VIP bag is worth it
Luckily I was gifted a “Premium VIP” BabyFest couple pass by my sister-in-law, because I was thrilled to receive a huge swag bag filled with a reported $300+ worth of full size products, a ton of coupons and discounts, and countless baby samples. I could tell just by looking at the size of the bag that I would be excited about what was included. Heads up, though – this bag did have similar or bigger-size products as I found samples of at vendor booths. Maybe give it a once over before stashing it in the trunk of your car so you know which sample lines (and yes, they do form) to skip. Click on the photo to the right to see all the fun stuff I came home with.
Tip #4: Take care of yourself
Yes, my husband accompanied me and carried everything, and yes, there were plenty of locations I could sit to rest, and yes – there was even a great concession/restaurant accessible from inside and outside the exhibit hall… That doesn’t mean my pregnant feet weren’t yelping by the end of the 3 hours I spent at BabyFest. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the further along you are in your pregnancy, the harder standing/walking for hours on end is. And at 32 weeks, I was happy to leave when I did. No, we didn’t go to the big “baby shower” giveaway at the end, but I wasn’t ready to hang out for another hour until that started.
Big picture here is – do what’s right for your body. If you’re tired, sit down. If you’re hungry, get something to eat. If you have to pee for the millionth time, don’t hold it – just do it. And for goodness sakes, be sure to stay hydrated!
Tip #5: Connect with people!
A photo posted by Samantha Reddy (@veganbabymama) on
By participating in a couple service demos (belly strengthening, essential oils, and a quick spinal review), I was able to connect with real people who could either be my providers or great resources during and after my pregnancy. I’m not always the greatest at connecting with strangers, but I did make a couple of contacts at BabyFest that I’m already planning on following up with before baby comes in June.
Plus, I was able to meet up with a sorority sister at the babywearing station. She was consulting and giving demos on different baby wraps and carriers and we were sure to snap a selfie before I headed out for the day. Your own existing network may be tapped into the local parenting community, or you can start building a web of resources for yourself by just talking to new faces.
So that was my experience – all in all, I’m really happy I went. Have you been to a similar event? How did it go for you? Sound off below!