All About Baby expo narrows choices for new parents

The semi-annual "All About Baby" expo on November 9th in Provo offers free activities, educational booths and shopping stalls to help parents navigate having a newborn or young child. (Photo courtesy of Melynda Fanene.)
The semi-annual “All About Baby” expo on Nov. 9 in Provo offers free activities, educational booths and shopping stalls to help parents navigate having a newborn or young child. (Photo courtesy Melynda Fanene)

All About Baby, a semi-annual expo dedicated to educating new parents of babies and toddlers, is coming to Provo’s convention center Nov. 9.

This free public event, sponsored by local businesses, aims at helping educate parents about the different options and services that are available from pregnancy, delivery and through the early years of an infant’s life.

“After my husband and I had our son a couple of years ago, we decided that we wanted to have an opportunity for primarily new parents to have everything in one place,” said Melynda Fanene, event producer. “This gives moms options for shopping and baby services. Really it is to give options for educating not only the parents but children as well.”

The expo features vendors selling baby-related products and free learning activities for parents.

“The whole concept of ‘All About Baby’ is to make sure to put the baby’s needs first,” Fanene said. “Especially because babies can’t talk. We wanted to be an advocate for them, to make sure that parents are aware of a child’s needs. We have all types of partnerships with vendors that are helping to do that. We’re continuing to grow and offer opportunities and options for new parents and new babies.”

In 2012, BYU reported 61% of students were married. Malea Shelline is one of those students. She juggles finishing her art degree with being the mother of two girls.

“It’s frustrating,” Malea Shelline, a student mother said. “There’s a certain amount of responsibility and maturity that comes with having kids. It makes it hard to get homework done, and a lot of time you end up not sleeping. But it also gives you another reason to do school. It’s motivating.”

BYU students with children can benefit from the expo, Fanene explained.

“A lot of parents that attend something like this are already focused on their children,” Fanene said. “They’re coming to find out how much more they can offer their child. But there are so many parents out there that need additional assistance to understand that they can be empowered more as parents. What we really want to do is target parents that could improve their parenting to prevent malnutrition or child abuse or lack of education. We want to reach out and give parents the power to do more for their child.”

Feels Like Home Birthing Suites, a birth center in Pleasant Grove, partners with All About Baby each year.

“There is some good information there (at the expo),” said Heather Shelley, a certified midwife at the birthing suites. “It’s growing every year and every time they have it. That’s why Feels Like Home stuck with it, because it’s going to get better and better each time as more people get the word out.”

Events include the “What I wish I’d known” series, nap time, story time and educational presentations.

“One of the main series that we are featuring is the ‘What I wish I’d known,’ which goes from pregnancy clear through labor and delivery to the first year,” Fanene said. “Hopefully it can give really good information to parents whether they are new or they’ve had a couple of kids.”

It is important to keep the expo free, according to Fanene.

“It’s free, and we’re going to keep it free always,” Fanene said. “Even a $5 cover charge can keep people away. We want to make sure that it’s free to everyone. Educational and informational booths are free, and there is shopping as well.”

The expo starts at 10 a.m. and finishes at 5 p.m. at the Provo Convention Center on 220 W. Center Street. More information about the event, including registration for prizes, can be found at the All About Baby website.

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