The Hippo


Aug 24, 2019








New Hampshire Mama & Baby Expo. Courtesy photo.

New Hampshire Mama & Baby Expo

Where: Radisson Hotel, 700 Elm St., Manchester 
When: Sunday, May 22, from noon to 4 p.m.
Cost: $8 

Baby steps
Workshops, games, demos at expo Mama & Baby Expo

By Angie Sykeny

 Watch a babywearing fashion show, learn how to “dance for birth” or let your kid loose in a diaper derby at the sixth annual New Hampshire Mama & Baby Expo, happening Sunday, May 22, from noon to 4 p.m., at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester. 

Attendees will find demonstrations and workshops on a variety of topics, networking opportunities with local professionals, activities and games, vendors, giveaways and more. 
As a childbirth educator, doula, prenatal yoga instructor and mother of five, Jennifer Middlemiss created the expo so that people could find information on all aspects of pregnancy and parenting in one place.
“I think there was a need for it in New Hampshire,” she said. “I wanted to find a way to connect moms and babies with services and products that are out there, and it hit me one day that this is what I need to do.”
The biannual event, held every spring and fall, is the largest expo of its kind in the state and “has been growing like crazy” every year, Middlemiss said. It’s usually held at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord; this will be the first to take place at the Radisson.  
Despite its title, the expo is not only open to moms, but to “moms, dads, grandparents, anyone who has babies or toddlers, and anyone who is pregnant or is thinking of becoming pregnant,” Middlemiss said.
Attendees are welcome to bring their babies and children along, too, and Pine Hill Waldorf School will be running a children’s play area throughout the day.
New at the expo this year, parents can enter their babies in a “diaper derby” contest. On the main stage, participating babies will crawl their way to the finish line and compete for prizes from the contest’s host, Babies “R” Us. 
There will be demonstrations like children’s yoga, dancing for birth and a babywearing fashion show featuring different styles of baby carriers and ways to wear them. 
A series of workshops will cover pregnancy topics like what to expect from a maternity hospital, midwives and doulas, breastfeeding and pumping, strengthening your pelvic floor, placenta encapsulation and preparing for a second child; as well as general parenting and family topics like nutrition, financial planning and understanding your child’s behavior. There will be some general Q&A sessions, too. 
The workshops are taught by carefully selected local doulas, hospital nurses, childhood educators and other experts in the field. 
“I’ve spend a lot of time networking with these professionals in New Hampshire the past few years, so [the workshop instructors] aren’t just anyone. They’re the best of the best.” 
Middlemiss herself will be teaching a workshop about “how to have an inspired birth,” which she expects to be a very popular session.  
“[Natural birth] is definitely something that’s trending right now,” she said. “So many people want to give birth to their babies naturally and don’t want a medicated birth, so this [workshop] is something I put together to help inspire people and show them how to feel empowered before going into labor with a natural birth.” 
The expo will feature over 75 exhibitors including representatives from community organizations; vendors selling baby clothing, toys and books, food, natural and handmade products, carriers and other accessories; and local chiropractors, massage therapists, midwives, doulas, photographers and others advertising their services. 
There will be plenty of opportunities to win free stuff, too, with thousands of dollars’ worth of gift cards and products for moms and babies being given away during the event. 
“Everything New Hampshire moms want, they can just walk in and it’s all there, right in front of them in one room,” Middlemiss said. “My favorite part is just seeing them feel inspired with all the new information.”

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