Alli Pelletreau’s goal at the Buffalo Baby Expo was twofold Saturday – do a little networking and check out new information about infant care and products.
The Holland mother, also the chapter manager of BUFFALOMOMMIES.COM, was able to do both during the event, which drew more than 500 expectant, new and seasoned parents, and even some grandparents.
“There’s a lot of information about safety, day care and hospitals,” said Pelletreau, who helps run the online support group, as she carried her 8-month-old son, Eamon, in a carrier against her chest. “For me, coming to this is also about networking, and finding out what businesses are targeting. It’s a good opportunity to look at products in person.”
The Expo made for a convenient “one-stop shop” for parents, said Erin Harvey, senior marketing associate at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, which co-sponsored the event at the Hamburg Fairgrounds with Mothertime Marketplace Spring Consignment Sale.
Expectant mother Stacey Danner of Hamburg was busy gathering all sorts of information about birthing and hospitals, and checking out products. Her sister-in-law, Michelle Danner of Corfu, was impressed.
“This gives a lot of information for new mothers and about products coming out, even for people who are parents, because things do change,” she said.
In the maze of adorable baby clothing, the latest in infant carriers, organic foods and wellness exhibits, were educational components to boost parenting knowledge and offer support from before baby arrives to well after its birth.
Many expectant parents stopped to learn more about waterbirthing, an option available at Women & Children’s Hospital that is gaining in popularity as an alternative birthing method. Displays of the blue plastic pools with an internal depth of 26 inches and complete with a seat and patented form-fitting disposable liners were on hand. The hospital, which has been offering the waterbirthing option for five months and says it is the only Buffalo hospital to do so, is equipped with state-of-the-art fetal monitoring systems that can be completely submerged in water.
“A lot of people today were interested in waterbirths,” said Lynn Stroehlein, a registered nurse and certified childbirth educator for the hospital. “It’s a more gentle form of delivery for the baby and is easier on the moms.”
There also was no shortage of information on parenting classes, Mommy & Me post-partum support groups, and even classes for grandparents to get them up to speed on the latest recommendations on topics such as not putting babies to sleep on their backs, not bringing them into bed with adults, how to soothe them when their gums are sore from teething, and not overbundling them.
On one table sat four lifelike baby dolls in a row. Behind them sat Justine Tutuska, a certified educator of infant massage, explaining the benefits of massage for babies 6 weeks old through the age of 1.
“Parents are really interested about the benefits of massage, as more people look for opportunities to bond more with their children,” Tutuska said. “Infant massage is a great tool for adoptive parents, too, who missed out on birthing.”
Infant massage is beginning to catch on more, as more research shows the benefits of it, propelling the medical community to begin embracing it more, she said.