I’d never seen so many preggers bumps in one place.
On Saturday Peeper and I joined what seemed to be every pregnant woman and new mother in Portland at the NW’s Biggest Baby Shower. Hundreds of families piled into the Left Bank Annex (where, mercifully, they turned on the air conditioning after a little while—I was unbearably hot with my drooly space heater strapped to my front). We bustled around, checking out companies, organizations and services tailored for expecting and new parents.
Despite it not being so up my alley—I don’t usually love packed crowds of people—I had a good time. I was glad I went early, before it became difficult to sidle up to a booth. (I took the above photo around 12:30, by which time it was hard to maneuver my babywearing self between other babywearing selves.)
I learned a lot—not just about products but techniques, too (e.g. essential oils for napping and a tip about using acupuncture for lactation problems), but you have to strike up a conversation with the people at the booths to learn about this. Overall, then, it’s not for everyone, but if you want to know more about baby gear and get your hands on products to try before buying, or you want to talk to the people who know a ton about baby stuff, I do recommend going.
If you’re bummed you missed the event, or you live outside of Portland, you can hit up the baby shower in Seattle on September 27.
Here are a few of the highlights from the shower. ABC Doula Peeper and I hadn’t seen Kimberly, the postpartum doula who ran the mom’s group we attended for six months, since we graduated. Peeper, unfortunately, was too tired to show much of a reaction, but I was thrilled to catch up. Kimberly was an enormous part of my journey becoming a confident mother, and I’m unspeakably grateful to her and to the community she helped foster at mom’s group. (I wrote about mom’s group here, here and here. OK, I wrote about mom’s group a lot.)
Birth without Fear Essential Oils Peeper had to skip her first nap for us to go, and it was my hope that she’d sleep in the carrier while I walked around. She doesn’t have a great track record with this napping method, though, so I was anxious as she somehow kept her eyes open.
After talking to the ladies at the Birth without Fear Essential Oils booth, though, I gave lavender essential oil a shot. I diluted it with coconut oil and rubbed it on Peeper’s jaw (it’s meant to alleviate teething pain in addition to helping us sleep) and on the soles of her feet (where, supposedly, it absorbs into the rest of her body). For good measure I dabbed my chest with the oil, too, as she was facing me in the carrier.
I’m happy to report that Peeper took a solid nap! We’ll be using essential oils more often.
Britax and BOB We use a hand-me-down car seat so I’d never heard of Britax, a high-end car seat system, but I did know about BOB strollers. An off-road stroller was the one thing my husband wanted as we planned our registry. We ended up getting a used one on Craigslist and we love it. We push Peeper in it over uneven terrain as we go on hikes or disc golf. She stays comfortable as we roll over hills, tree roots and bumpy grass. I was excited to say hello to the folks at BOB and saw that they have a new accessory, a metal bar you can attach to the stroller that supports a car seat. Cool!
NW Mother’s Milk Bank I’ve never donated milk to the milk bank but have many friends who did, and I love the important work they do. Mamas with an extra stash of milk donate it and the lovely folks at the milk bank get it to babies in need, usually preemies whose mom’s milk hasn’t yet come in. Breast milk is so important for babies, especially those who were born early and have even less of an immune system, so I’m glad that organizations like the NW Mother’s Milk Bank facilitate safe milk sharing.
Mamalates I asked Wendy Foster, the owner of the Pilates-like fitness studio Mamalates, to check on my separated abs, or diastasis recti. (As it turns out, your abs can separate during pregnancy and sometimes don’t stitch back together, leaving your core weak and back sore.) Turns out there’s still a two- to three-finger-wide gap down the center of my abdomen. The visit emphasized that I need to be more consistent in doing exercises and wearing the binder Wendy sold me a while back (which is like a corset but helps the muscle fibers come back together). It’s hard to prioritize my fitness when deadlines fill my calendar and Peeper wants her mama, but I’ll be going to a Mamalates class sometime soon.
Babywearing Stollers—BOB and otherwise—are great, but I was thrilled to see so many other women with babies slung on them. Wearing your baby in a sling, carrier or wrap can facilitate bonding, keep babies healthier, lessen a mother’s risk of postpartum depression and help new parents get more done, according to the non-profit Babywearing International. For those who were expecting, representatives from Ergo, Onya and others were there to talk about their carriers. Experts from the Milagros Boutique helped people decide which of the many choices might be best for them. And folks from Milagros/Sante Mama led a workshop on babywearing for parents who packed the seminar room.
Happy Family Peeper chows down on Happy Puffs (she started to sign “more” when asking for them) but had never tried any other products. Her little hands got quite the workout asking for more Happy Yogis, both the strawberry and banana-mango flavors. We’ll definitely be picking up some of these the next time we’re at the grocery store. (Word to the wise: The nearby WinCo sells Happy Puffs for $1.50 cheaper than the natural food store does.)
Gymboree After Peeper woke up from her nap, she was ready to get OUT of the carrier. Thankfully, Gymboree had set up a play area for kiddos, complete with beach balls, bubbles and a padded mat (no konked heads on concrete floors, thankfully!). It was here that Peeper took FIVE STEPS IN A ROW OH MY GOSH, the most she’s walked in one go. She also loved crawling around under the parachute. If you’ve never tried out a Gymboree class, I highly recommend it! (Leslie is the owner here in Portland area and leads classes at the Tanasbourne location. She’s fantastic.)
I received a free pass to the event but was not paid. As always, all opinions on this blog are solely my own.