Do you love free things? I LOVE free things! One of my most favourite free things which pops up in my email inbox a few times a year is tickets to the various baby expos that are on. In fact I just registered for free tickets for new weekend!
I went to my first when I was probably four or five months pregnant with J, and to say it was overwhelming is a massive understatement. I had product information thrown at me, I had samples, product specials and was blown away at the variety of brands and companies represented. I dutifully took everything which was thrust at me and popped it into my complimentary arrival bag to be sorted through at a later time. Since then, I’ve attended at least two or three expos each year and gotten so much out of them.
What started as a need for information has readily developed into a thirst to know what new and innovative products are coming onto the market, and a drive to discover new small businesses to support. Most recently I attended for the first time as a business owner and wannabe-blogger with a vested interest in the networking opportunities. It drove me to get to know the people behind the brands more than ever before.
If you’re a mum, or soon to be mum it’s absolutely worth checking out the next expo near you. It’s not just for babies either, there’s plenty of entertainment for older kids but also the opportunity to try out things like scooters, bikes, bouncers and movement based activities like Kindergym. There is always a huge variety and new things to look at each time.
The exhibitors generally include well known information providing brands who can give advice on the spot (usually there are representatives from Australian Breastfeeding Association, Tresillian, SIDSkids type resources), big name brands such as Panadol, Nurofen, a nappy brand or two, and plenty of commonly available brands and products mixed in with newer and smaller boutique brands. There are first aid courses on offer, workshops and talks given by well known parenting advisors such as Pinkie McKay, Tizzie Hall and Harvey Karp.
Expos a great opportunity to test products, talk to the people who designed them and you often get a pretty reasonable “expo special” price. For new parents who are looking to buy big ticket items like strollers, nursery furniture etc there is often an opportunity to purchase demonstration items (my pram was a demo and it saved me 40% off the RRP, plus I could take it home that day).
Most recently I attended the Essential Baby & Toddler Show at the International Convention Centre in Sydney. For the first time in a long time I was there without kids and I found some amazing new, innovative brands and products. These were my top five:
A childcare revolution which is the brainchild of Andrea, a mum very local to me. Leor is in home care by experienced child care workers and is designed to be flexible to your needs, they cater from six weeks to six years and offer half, full or extended day options and tailor content to meet individual children’s learning needs. Can be optimized for children from different families also
The lovely Alix has developed a product unlike any I’ve seen yet. Mashblox are a silicone cube (oven, microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe) which can be filled with food and treats for little hands. They encourage self feeding, independence, encourage problem solving and fine motor skills. They’re super popular in my home, J is adamant all food tastes better in cube form.
- Sensitive Choice
A beautiful little blue butterfly logo I’ve noticed on products but not always payed a lot of attention to, Sensitive Choice is a community service offered by the National Asthma Council Australia. They are committed to identifying products which are Asthma and allergy friendly. You’ll probably recognize a lot of brands on their list including Koh/Ekoworx, Dyson, Aware cleaning products, Daikin, EcoStore, Fess, Hoover and Tontine.
- Love to Dream
Another innovative Australian mummy start up! I loved the Swaddle Up suits for both my boys (though from a sleep consultant view I’d recommend an arms down snug traditional swaddle if bub doesn’t settle arms up), and I’m so excited to get K into the Sleep Suit as weather warms up
This was a whole new find for me and I’m SO EXCITED about it! Danish designed, it’s a wearable night light. Three different brightness setting and a golden light to avoid triggering wake up signals, it’s perfect for overnight feeds. Its compact and secures to the clip with a magnet so can easily be removed and put down to serve as a night light while you attend to other tasks like nappy changes
If you register in advance to the expo email lists, there are ALWAYS free tickets on offer. If you pay to go, you’re nuts (or a busy mum who missed the cut off date). There are a number of Expos which service multiple cities. Follow the links for more details.
One Fine Baby (Sydney & Melbourne)
Essential Baby and Toddler Show (Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane)
Pregnancy, Baby and Children’s Expo (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth & Brisbane)