Kyla McKenzie can think of little else than the impending birth of her first baby, due on Aug. 16. The pregnancy was a welcomed surprise, even if it happened a bit sooner than she and her husband had hoped. After 34 weeks of making important decisions on everything from what crib to purchase and who her child's pediatrician would be, McKenzie was just about ready to welcome her new baby.
But questions still lingered about parenting. And when McKenzie discovered a flier at her OB/GYN's office about the World's Greatest Baby Shower, scheduled for Saturday, she was more than a little eager to go.
Virginia Arnold, coordinator for Healthy Start, has been working on this year's event for months. While similar expos have been held in the county over the years, there have been gaps due to lack of funding. This year's baby shower event got off to a late start but jumped into high gear, coordinating a four-hour event that promises to pack a full range of information, activities and products for expectant a new parents of children through the toddler years.
The World's Greatest Baby Shower & Toddler Expo will be held at the Hernando County Health Department, located at Forest Oaks Blvd. in Spring Hill, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Education will be available on all kinds of topics, from breastfeeding to car seat safety. New products will be introduced from vendors while discussions on various topics relating to children from conception to toddlerhood will be addressed.
"There won't be enough time to do everything," Arnold said, which hints at the packed schedule for this year's event.
Subjects on the itinerary list include safety topics like shaken baby syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, sudden infant death syndrome prevention, car seat safety, water safety, poison control and prenatal and post-natal care. Discussions about using a doula and on midwifery services will also be discussed.
There will be a strong presence from local obstetricians, pediatricians and a prenatal chiropractor who will demonstrate chiropractic treatment on-site.
In addition to a plethora of information, visitors to the event will also receive healthy snacks, sponsored by Stay Well, and activities for children including a bounce house from the Kiwanis Club, a coloring table with healthy coloring books, and face painting.
A local Realtor will be present to give out information on the process involved with purchasing a home in today's market. The YMCA of the Suncoast will discuss water safety and raffle off free swim lessons.
The importance of immunizations will be actively discussed and children can receive immunizations on-site in preparation for the beginning of the new school year.
Other organizations available will include Pay It Forward Farms, A New Generation, Baby Love, Foundation of Life Center, the Early Learning Coalition and Florida Hospitals of Zephyrhills.
Hernando Baby Wear will demonstrate the benefits of baby-wearing. "I'm really excited about this one," Arnold said. She teaches the childbirth education classes and often gets questioned about the topic.
"We didn't wear our babies," she said. "I can't answer their questions. So now I'm going to be educated."
There will be many door prize and other giveaway items centered on pregnancy and baby and child care. Many of the items were donated by local businesses and organizations to help make this year's event a success.
The World's Greatest Baby Shower & Toddler Expo is sponsored by the Hernando County Health Department and local businesses and organizations. Attendance is free. For more information, contact Virginia Arnold at (352) 754-4864.
Hernando Today correspondent Kim Dame can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org