Hi friends! Sorry for the radio silence on the blog lately. We have been sharing germs, and fighting them off, for a couple weeks now. Gooooood times. The good news is, we are (almost) all restored to health, and ready to share with you the latest super-fun adventure: Jordan and myself, babies in tow, took on MommyCon Chicago!

Jordan and Hanna

This was a first MommyCon experience for us both. I have watched many of the events from afar via social media, and it has been really cool to watch them grow and change. This year, the expo has expanded to include many more events in several new locations. Lucky for us, Chicago is just a hop, skip, and a 4.5 hour car ride away. Extra lucky for us, my hometown is a mere 45 minutes from the heart of the city, so we got to have a weekend with my mama and save some dough by avoiding a hotel stay.

So, how was it, you ask? Pretty cool! The event opened early, but we TGN bloggers, we like to take it easy, so we rolled out towards the show around 1 pm. The babies slept the whole drive, hooray! Parking was interesting, but we figured it out. The first stop was to collect our swag bags, which donned a whole lots of coupons and handouts, and a lot of really cool freebies. Some of the freebies were not especially useful for me at this stage of momming, but they will make wonderful gifts to pass along to expectant mom friends. Here were my favorites:

Hat and Granola
^ (let the record reflect that I am a sucker for free food – thanks for the Kind bar!)

Our next step was to make the rounds to all of the booths. Here’s the thing about MommyCon: there were many great speakers, hosting all sorts of seminars from infant feeding to babywearing to natural healing remedies (none of which we attended, because we are not good planners and had too much fun ignoring the clock). Here’s the other thing: aside from the seminars, this event is a natural parenting mall. So. Much. Shopping. This is not a complaint; I’m a shopper. It’s just a warning. I had expected to spend way less than I did. Whoops! Call it product research, am I right?

Otto
^ Product research at it’s finest!

Crowd

^ So. Many. Booths.


We made two passes through the booths. The first was slow, stopping to talk to some of our favorite brands like GroVia, Ergo, Cotton Babies, and RePlay. We also checked out and chatted up other great brands that were new to us. It was very fun and very informative, and we did not meet one mean soul that whole day.


Holly from GroVia

^Our girl, Holly, from GroVia!


I have a few tips to offer for first time MommyCon goers, that will hopefully allow you to make the most of your experience at the show. First, acquaint yourself with your travel plans and try and gather Intel about parking. We went in blind, and it was fine, but we did have to turn around a few times to get to an appropriate parking garage. Whoops!

Tip #2: bring a stroller (at your own risk). We did not show up before the doors opened, in fact we were many hours late, so I assume we missed a lot of the crowd. We shared my stroller and used it as our shopping cart, and it was AWESOME. But I think if everyone who showed up at MommyCon did that, it would be a very difficult event to walk around. So, if you feel like you NEED it, maybe share one with a friend.

Stroller
^For all things baby, except the actual baby, of course.


Tip #3: Pack accordingly. A great thing about MommyCon is that there aren’t ridiculous rules about not being able to bring in outside food and snacks. Bring that baby some snacks! We loaded up on freeze dried fruit and organic puree baby food pouches, and filled our Life Factory bottles with water. Bear is still drinking from the breastmilk tap, so packing that was pretty easy.

Babyfood Yo

 

Other packing tip: bring your most comfortable baby wearing device(s). Wearing Bear gave me two free hands to explore the booths with, and it gave him a comfortable spot from which to watch the show.

My very last tip is to go into the day with an open frame of expectations. There is so much to do and see, and juggling any age or stage of baby while exploring can have its rocky moments. But there is one heck of a community of other similarly-minded parents around you to help, and plenty of time to take it all in. Enjoy it