On Sunday I was invited along to The Baby Show at London Olympia. When I was pregnant with Jake we didn’t do any of the big baby things; we didn’t go to NCT, we didn’t go to baby shows or expectant parent evenings and my general attitude was to take things as they came and learn on the job. This is fine to an extent but when it comes to gadgets, new products, items that will make your life easier, I had no clue which is why I was so excited to be able to attend a massive show like this one.
I was buzzing on arrival as was the entire venue. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I certainly didn’t realise the scale of such an event or the variety of products and services. It seemed as though quite a lot of people had their lists of what they wanted and needed and the pushchair sections were definitely the most popular stands. I felt we were attending as novices in comparison and began by slowly perusing the stands which we soon discovered became a longer job than expected as everybody working on these stands welcomed you in. I worked in retail for a long time and if I could open a shop and employ the people I met that day I would jump at the chance! I have never seen so much enthusiasm and passion for products, heard so much knowledge on a topic and their sales pitches didn’t really feel like that at all, you wanted to buy because you trusted them and liked them. I even felt guilty as I walked away from the ones I didn’t buy from! It is a unique shopping experience and nothing like going to the high street. These people are pros in their areas and every question we asked we received an answer. If you are an unsure parent-to-be and want to get your head around all of your options I would highly recommend visiting The Baby Show during your pregnancy.
My first purchase came from a teething jewellery stand from a company called Lilith Loves Henry. I had a lovely long chat with the owner which led to us discussing how we are both interested in teething. I told her all about my book and I learnt how they came to running their business due to having a bad teething experience too. They had some fantastic deals and I ended up coming away with three necklaces and a teething toy– I am preparing in case I have another early teether!
Another stand that really interested us was Smart Cells, a company specialising in collecting stem cells from the umbilical cord in order to help your child’s health if they become ill in the future. This may sound like a strange concept but in the US it is actually illegal for a consultant not to inform their expectant parents that this is on offer. Afterall, it is a simple process that will not harm or hurt your child (unlike extracting bone marrow) and which, at the moment, can be stored for 25 years– with further scientific advances this may increase in the future.
″Stem cells collected from your baby’s umbilical cord at birth can be used to protect your family from over 80 conditions and diseases, including Leukaemia, Anaemia, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Impaired Immune Systems.″
Smart Cells International
So what does it involve?
Once you make the decision to store your baby’s stem cells you contact Smart Cells directly and work out which plan is right for you. This does cost but considering you are securing your child’s future for up to 25 years the payment works out as a good deal plus there are no hidden costs– there are also payment plans in place so you can pay over a year instead of in one lump sum. Once you are in labour you will contact the company to arrange a Phlebotomist to visit the hospital and he will collect the stem cells once your baby is born. This will take place in a separate room and will be whisked away to a storage unit. It is such a simple procedure.
My husband had the ultimate question, though… ‘but we didn’t do this with our first child so if we did it for this one and the first one became ill we would feel so guilty that we wouldn’t have the option to help him.’ However, because they are siblings the stem cells from our second child may well be a match to Jake too so we could in effect be providing health care for 2 children in the future.
As we wandered around we were offered so many samples, freebie packs and even a massage. We both took this stand up on their offer and only had to pay what we thought it was worth.
The stage area was towards the back of the venue where just the day before Fern Cotton had been talking about her book. She wasn’t there on the Sunday but other experts and well-known names were like Annabel Karmel. We listened to her talk on weaning and fussy eaters and afterwards I had the chance to meet her and get a book signed.
The final highlight of my day was road testing pushchairs. The organisers had set up a staging area for pushchairs to be tried over different terrains so the user could compare how they felt. I already had my eye on the Diono Quantum which I had seen online. We asked to look at it and had a demonstration from the Babies R Us stand and we were both wowed by it. But it just goes to show that you can’t make your entire decision on features and the look. Immediately I struggled to get it up and over the bump to get onto the stage. I found it a bit too long and heavy for me plus the handle is very thick and I couldn’t grasp it safely enough to manoeuvre the pushchair. I really struggled up the ramp and over 3 larger bumps. I know I am pregnant so it will be different come next year but the lady assisting us provided us with a weighted baby to add to the experience and I think if I was out with Jake and the dog I would struggle to watch what I was doing as well as everyone else.
I moved onto a Britax model which stated it was good for all terrains and I loved it. It was light, easy to use, the handle was the right size for my hands and it felt effortless. I would never have imagined how beneficial an activity like this would be before but I am so glad I had a go, I now know what suits my needs.
We both had a great day and came away with so much from it. I must admit that walking around and talking a lot is tough on your body if you are pregnant and finding a seat at times was difficult so do bear this in mind when you are visiting. However, there are plenty of places to eat and there was never a long wait for a toilet… both very important factors when you are expecting! I found some great items to purchase and now have more of an idea of what could work for us as parents the second time around.
*I received tickets for the show in exchange for this review and social media shares. All opinions remain honest and my own. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.