Did you know there was a convention for all things Mommy-related? MommyCon focuses on new and expectant families through toddlerhood. It’s been held in many cities across the U.S. and recently expanded to Canada. MommyCon Vancouver was July 22, 2017 at the Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel. Since I live outside of Seattle, I packed up my 9-month-old and we headed up to Vancouver, BC for the weekend. I visited Vancouver last summer when I was pregnant and brought my toddler. You can read about what we did in 4 days in Vancouver, BC with a Toddler.
What is MommyCon?
According to their website, “The MommyCon experience comprises a full day of educational panels and workshops plus a product showcase hall of more than 50 exhibitors. Parents and children can expect to have every amenity and resource available at their fingertips. There is a Babywearing Lounge with a try-no-need-to-buy philosophy; the Vagina Village with talks on feminine wellness; a Cloth Diaper Resource Center, plus Baby Safe Play Spaces throughout the event. Each conference ends with $10,000 worth of giveaways and each attendee receives a gift bag from MommyCon sponsors.”
What I really like about MommyCon is that they try to make it accessible for everyone who wants to attend. They offer a Military discount as well as scholarship tickets. Kids ages 16 and under are free to attend and they have toys set up in all the rooms so kids can crawl around and play while parents listen to the speakers. I like events that think about their attendees and what their needs might be.
“Not Your Momma’s Baby Shower VIP Session with Ameda
I had the opportunity to work with Ameda on this exclusive VIP session on Friday (the day before the main MommyCon Vancouver event.) It was a 1950s themed party to announce the launch of a new hands-free pumping bra. If you caught my live stream on Instagram, you know what I’m talking about. The pumping bra is super cute and will be available soon.
This session came with a VIP swag bag. My favorite part of this event was their baby shower games. One of the games involved guessing prices of baby items in the 1950s. It was hilarious just how incredibly off most of us were. If you ever play this game, guess in terms of cents, not dollars.
MommyCon Vancouver Sessions
There were about 5 sessions for each time slot at MommyCon Vancouver plus sleep consultations for a total of 28 options for attendees. I liked that there were sessions geared for pregnant women, Moms with babies and Moms with toddlers and preschoolers. There were so many interesting options, but I decided that I wanted to fully experience the ones I attended. Here’s what I thought of the ones I attended:
Redefining Motherhood with Amy Appleton and Ilana Grostem
This session was phenomenal. You know when you’re feeling a bit out of whack and need some validation that you’re on the right track? This session did that for me. It was all about sharing frustrations about parenting in 2017 and talking about the expectations that we have for ourselves. I had been feeling a bit wiped from raising a baby and a preschooler and dealing with the stresses of life and then feeling bad about feeling wiped. Just spending 45 minutes listening to other Moms share similar feelings and brainstorming ways that I could take better care of myself (that were actually feasible) made this one of the most beneficial things I’ve experienced.
The presenters were the founders of AppleCheeks cloth diapers and I actually had a chance to chat with them before this session at their vendor booth. I felt like they genuinely care about all their customers and are supportive of Moms all over the world.
Carmen the Modern Mom’s Baby Gear and Nursing Guide for the First Year with Carmen Shaw
I love baby products. Like, I can’t get enough of them and I’m always curious about new products that are either super cute or solve a problem. What I appreciated about Carmen the Modern Mom‘s presentation is that it felt like a friend was telling me her honest advice about what products to invest in and how to make the product work even better.
One of my favorite tips from her is to immediately remove the bra cups from Bravado nursing tanks (which I own several of) because they cups wrinkle. I’ve noticed that and it hadn’t occurred to me to replace them with nursing pads, even though it makes perfect sense. I also liked to hear her thoughts on car seats and strollers and what she looks for in each. Her mention of storage areas on strollers meant for city life was spot on!
Let Them Eat Dirt: Raising Your Child in an Over Sanitized World with Dr. B. Brett Finley
The title of this session definitely drew me in and it’s from his book of the same name. My husband and I try expose our kids to everyday germs. Sometimes our kids eat food that falls on the floor, play with communal toys that may have slobber on them, and experience the world on our daily adventures. He talked a lot about microbes and provided scientific evidence about how good bacteria is vital for healthy children. I had to leave this session a bit early to take care of a diaper situation, so I may have missed more interesting information.
Peaceful Parenting 101 with Lisa Howe
This was the best way to close my day at MommyCon Vancouver. I wasn’t quite sure what Peaceful Parenting consisted of when I entered the session, but as Lisa from Becoming Peaceful spoke, I realized it’s exactly what I’ve been striving to do. Lisa trained with Dr. Markham to become a certified Peaceful Parenting coach. Basically, she helps parents create better relationships with their children. During the presentation, her daughter ran up because she was upset about something and we got to see Lisa quietly calm her down. It was valuable to see her ideas in action.
For those who know me in person, you know I LOVE shopping. It’s also apparent on this blog that I love checking out new products that make life easier (or cuter) for kids. Since the event was in Canada, there was a mix of Canadian and American vendors. The exhibitor hall opened at 9am and there was a long line just to enter.
As soon as we got in, I was surprised how many people jumped in the line for Grovia cloth diapers. They were definitely a hot ticket item. And there was always a crowd around Tula and Ju-ju-be. Here are some of the products that excited me:
These GroBag sleep sacks have a really similar design to my all-time favorite Gunapod. The main difference is that they have an opening for a seat belt buckle so your kids can wear this sleep sack in the car. I loved the brightly colored prints. They come in several weights, which makes it easy for parents to find the right product for their climate or season.
XOXO Baby Carrier
I always tell people that the most important thing to travel with is a baby carrier. It makes traveling with babies so much easier. The XOXO carrier is a hybrid buckle and wrap. The buckle goes around your waist (creating a safe seat for your baby) and then the rest is wrap. I’ve been so frustrated trying to wrap successfully, so I think this is a great option for families who want that custom fit of a wrap, but with a lot less effort and time.
RePlay sent me an assortment of items to review in a later blog post. I was excited to see their booth to see the colors of the dishes and utensils in person. I like that they offer cups, plates, bowls, snack cups etc. What’s really fun is that you could have a different color for each kid so there’s no confusion.
Nest Designs is a Vancouver-based company that makes sleep sacks, blankets and clothing. Their stuff feels amazing. I actually bought a sleep sack and sleep suit (which I don’t really need) from them because the prints were adorable and the quality was impressive. We brought the sleep sack to Hawaii and it’s been the ideal weight for my son and he loves it. These products would make great baby shower gifts.
I didn’t realize that Evenflo made breast pumps. I got to hear a bit about the versatility of their pump. What I loved the most about it is that they offer cushy inserts for their pump flanges to make pumping a bit more comfortable. I seriously couldn’t stop squeezing them and it made me cringe to think of my regular unpadded flanges and how uncomfortable they can be.
I’m not a cloth diapering Mom, but I promised a friend that I would try to get her the exclusive print released just for MommyCon Vancouver. I got to chat with the owners and they were so helpful, personable and are passionate about helping other Moms succeed. I really wanted to support them. While I was waiting in line, I saw pineapple print training underwear. I’m a nut for anything pineapple print. My oldest is potty-trained, but I bought them for my youngest because he’ll probably need them in a year or two. I mean, they had pineapples on them!
My “Aha” Moments at MommyCon Vancouver
- Going to Target without the kids is NOT considered “me time.” Neither is bathing. A better option is going to Starbucks alone with a book about anything unrelated to parenting and drinking coffee (while it’s still hot.)
- I don’t have to label what kind of Mom I am. I love babywearing, but I also use a stroller. Cloth diapering isn’t for us, but I pride myself on my homemade baby food. I didn’t realize how stressed out I was about fitting into a particular category.
- I need to take breaks just as much as my kids do. I’m normally a go, go, go person and I’ve been known to push people to their limits. Usually, I’d go to an event like this and try to do everything and burn out after a few hours. So, for MommyCon, I decided to take my time exploring the exhibitor area, even though it meant I missed the first morning session. I also was late to a session because I decided to actually take time out to find real food for lunch (instead of crackers on the go.) I also left a session early to head up to the room and get a bit of quiet before we tackled the rest of the afternoon.
- Spending a weekend solo with my baby was an awesome bonding experience. This was my first trip out of town with just my 9-month-old. I usually have my 3.5-year-old with me and he takes a lot of my attention. My youngest is such a happy-go-lucky kid that I don’t always realize that he has needs too.
Final Thoughts on MommyCon
If you are debating whether to attend your nearest MommyCon, I’d say go for it. No matter what type of Mom you are, you will probably connect with something offered. What’s great about MommyCon is that they are really passionate about reaching families across the U.S. and Canada who are yearning for this type of event. This is why it’s offered in several new locations each year.
I’m on the Parent Squad and Media Team for MommyCon, so I was provided a media swag bag and complimentary tickets to the event. All opinions are my own.