Enjoy our series, Out & About, focusing on accessibility and suitability of various public places in Auckland for babies and small children.
Well, obviously the Baby Show is going to be an ideal place to take children – that’s a given! I know, however, that a few of our readers out there have been a little on-the-fence about attending and so the M household headed along today to check it out and report back.
Plunket and Huggies have worked together to create a very decent family room. There are change tables a-plenty with hand sanitizer at each station and discreet holes through which to dispose of your dirty diapers. There’s lovely comfortable couches (not pictured to protect privacy of breastfeeding mothers) and microwaves available to heat food and beverages. Plunket nurses are also available to advise on breast-feeding and child wellness issues.
Older children might love getting balloons and a cuddle and a photo with the big blue Plunket bear – we figured CJ was bug-eyed enough already and gave it a miss. I definitely think that Papa M is hoping to head back in following years to play (with CJ, ahem) in the Lego/Duplo brick pit. The helpers there were so lovely and we got a little starter kit of Duplo bricks! CJ also got to cuddle into a ginormous toy tiger at the Auckland Zoo stand and I’m a bit gutted that we didn’t get the opportunity to go back and take them up on their special offer of two months extra on an annual pass!
Clothing & accessory companies Dimples, Mum 2 Mum, The Sleep Store and Tiny Turtles all have absolutely amazing show specials on clothing and sleepwear. Nappies Direct have an exceptionally good deal on diapers and wipes that is also available to those who are unable to make the show. There was a veritable traffic jam around Ecostore (check out why with their show specials here) and an absolute stroller snarl-up around Only Organics. CJ got to trial their Pear, Purple Carrot, Blueberry and Quinoa flavour and it was like all his Christmases had come at once! They have great show specials too.
With so much going on, we detoured into the seminar room (sponsored by The Warehouse) to grab a seat. CJ was delighted to see that they had an exersaucer free for him to play in – our active boy loves to bounce around and be free! Papa M and I got to listen to a seminar on “Surviving and Thriving as a Parent” by John Cowan of the Parenting Place. It was great to have an opportunity to just sit and listen, and the supplied goodie bags for each seminar attendee are insanely good value.
There are SO many different exhibitors that it would be impossible to create a blog post that did justice to every single one. In the next week or so, we’ll be bringing you a couple of posts that dive more into depth about what we bought, but in the meantime (and if you are still on the fence – but why would you be?) you can check out individual exhibitors and their show specials on the Baby Show website. While there are a whole load of beloved and renowned New Zealand brands there, there’s also a few hidden gems there that we’d love to bring to your attention:
Love Loops: a New Zealand owned-and-operated company that creates beautiful jewelry to represent the special people and events in your life. I love that you can add loops for additional family members; I’d get one loop engraved with my husband and I and our wedding date, one that had CJ’s name and date of birth and leave room for one more… eventually. The hard part would be choosing what style to purchase – there are so many! Silver, gold; there’s even cufflink options for dads and charm bracelet options for those who prefer their hearts on their wrists! They’re currently running a show special of 15% off which you can also find on their Facebook page if you are unable to attend.
Mum’s Secret: Another little Kiwi gem, we’re big fans in this house of both the Mum’s Secret Soothe & Repair cream and the XmaEase cream; CJ gets a little heat-related eczema and Mum’s Secret is perfect for that summer chafing that us ample-thighed women can get. They have massive discounts across the entire range and is definitely worth a visit.
Pixie Party Supplies: OK, CJ is only six months and I’m already avidly planning his first birthday party! Pixie Party Supplies have a huge range of party supplies and their stall is super-colourful – truly something for every little lad and lass here and their website has a whole range of decorating supplies for grown-up occasions too!
Paul And Stella bottles: We’re blessed (although sometimes we wonder!) with a particularly hungry boy who isn’t fussy about food as long as it is in his mouth. I know many mums who aren’t as lucky, with babies that will only take warm bottles; not always easy when you are out and about. The Paul & Stella bottles have a reusable heating module that has no electricity or batteries (it’s powered by the reaction of a food-grade salt) – just click and go and the bottle is at body temperature in a few minutes, staying within the ideal drinking temperature for more than an hour!
Kiinde Twist & Foodi Systems: I’d seen this on an Australian parenting blog and was keen to see it in person. It’s an innovative system that allows you to directly pump (using an adaptor with your current breast pump) into breast milk storage bags, store in a lay-flat system in the freezer then warm and feed all from the same bag – no bottles required! The team here were kind enough to offer me a few odds and ends to try out for myself, so watch out for a Mama M Tries post soon! They also are selling the PumpEase hands-free pumping bra and I think that the combo of these two would be amazing for mums heading back to work who are still wanting to feed their infants breast milk!
LouLaMere: I don’t know about you all, but the transition from worker to stay-at-home-mum was huge! Half the time (OK, most…) you have no idea what you are doing and what works for other mums won’t necessarily work in your situation. For example, your partner can’t take baby for a walk while you make dinner if they doesn’t arrive home until late, work shift-work or their work takes them away for days at a time. Likewise, the transition back to employment can be equally daunting. LouLaMere works with mothers to transition back into the work force with as little stress as possible. They recognize that many of us want to be both successful mums and fulfilled in the work we do and work with each individual to craft a plan that works best for them. They can help identify which child-care option is best for you, suggest products that might assist you in transition and literally provide you with a manual of top tips to help you out. They’re also in the process of creating a mentor programme – there really is nothing like it that I’ve seen. So worth checking out if you are thinking of returning to work.
Anamalz: Absolutely adorable animal toys made out of eco materials and soft plushy fabric. Papa M and I love wooden toys and CJ was absolutely taken by them too! He’d been such a tough little cookie, making it through the show with minimal fuss while cutting his very first tooth and so we let him choose his very own. He chose the brontosaurus – just like me when I was growing up! He loves the smoothness of the wood and the fuzzy flexible neck and tail. They have almost every animal you can think of and are continuously adding to the range. I can see us getting quite a few more over the years!
If you are a parent of little ones or a parent-to-be, I definitely recommend checking the Baby Show out – you will not be sad you went. The team have made every effort to make such a massive expo as comfortable as possible (with little rest and water areas as well!) and everyone is positively charming!