By Samantha Olp |
This year was my first ever MommyCon, a natural parenting convention. As a mom with a 2-year-old that is still breastfeeding, I try to keep up with natural parenting strategies so this was a perfect place to learn.
MommyCon is three days of learning, entertainment and community that took place March 2-4 in Chicago, Ill. Sessions included tips on breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering and even sex after baby. Participating vendors such as Ergobaby, EzPz, and Ju-Ju-Be were on-hand and ready to educate families on their products. New for MommyCon this year was the accompanying DaddyCon, a special series of sessions and games just for Dads. Approximately 2,500 people attended the weekend event.
For months prior to the event, I followed the “MommyCon Chicago Discussion Group” on Facebook. This group gave moms and dads the ability to build relationships prior to the event and then meet in person at MommyCon/DaddyCon.
MommyCon began on Friday where VIP ticket holders, three-day ticket holders and media were treated to a special sneak peek of vendors called “Sip & Shop.” My group and I participated in a Groovaroo flash mob dance to start off the “Sip & Shop.” It was a fun choreographed dance filled with baby wearing parents (and a few strollers).
On Saturday the event was in full swing. Here’s a few of the highlights — sessions from Saturday: “Potty Training Through Parenting with Laura Woj” where I learned new tips for the beginning stages of potty training. Laura taught us how to use baby-led training complete with fun Potty Training Punch Cards (Like a coffee card for your potty training toddler.). “Sleep Consultations with Rebecca Michi” which was one of the most beneficial sessions I attended. This has helped me with my two year old’s sleeping pattern. Her methods for ending night feedings have proven to be successful, so far. “Crouching Mommas, Hidden Cameras by Erica Hafferty” Erica taught us how to take camera quality photos with just our phones. Catching the perfect angle and capturing the unforgettable moments. “Managing the Motherload with Julie Cole” and “Fathers Raising Daughters by Michael Redden.”
In the evening, Ju-Ju-Be hosted a “Pink Lady Get Together” which was open to the Ju-Ju-Be fan club known as the “Pink Ladies.” It was a wonderful place to meet new friends. They had a bag scavenger hunt that encouraged us to get up from our tables and go and meet new moms, with incentive of course, then they gave out a nice selection of new bags.
Sunday was the last day of this educational adventure. The sessions and shopping continued but most importantly, the relationships were strong. I don’t have many opportunities to meet other moms. MommyCon broke down that wall and help me make new connections. It was so wonderful to have somewhere to go and meet like-minded families. I drove my 325 miles back home with a new community and a new event to look forward to each year.