Becoming a mother has been the most rewarding job of my entire life. Our sweet baby girl, Gianna Rose, is growing up, and while we enjoy this precious time with just her, we’re looking ahead at growing our family. So with that in mind, we attended our very first baby fair at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility and brought Gia with us.
To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what the day would entail. I always assumed a baby fair was for expecting mothers only, but with Gia, we were pleasantly surprised to discover it’s really a family affair. The team at Saint Barnabas Medical Center kept us entertained all day, and Gia had so much fun taking part in the many activities that involved future big sisters and brothers. Here’s the scoop on what we did:
We first stopped at the Livingston Police table where Officer Kevin Mullaney gave Gia her very first photo identification. She was fingerprinted and had her ID made on the spot. This is always good information to keep on us, especially if we’re traveling. She definitely drew a crowd in her orange tutu!
Next up, Gia had an awesome time playing with the Saint Barnabas therapy dogs. The dogs are truly special: They help so many patients in need and genuinely lift patients’ spirits every single day. It was such a thrill that we were able to visit them and Gia just loved getting up close to a furry friend!
Then it was time to learn how to swaddle a newborn. We definitely needed the practice, especially since Gia never let us do it with her. She preferred sleeping with her hands up and resisted every time we tried to wrap. Too bad, because I think she would have loved it: The nurses told us swaddling is a great way to keep babies warm, content and mimics the womb. We really saw how the newborn admissions team at Saint Barnabas Medical Center will take great care in welcoming your newborn into the world, and can teach you all you need to know. The nurses showed us the basics, so thankfully, we’ll know for the next time (and hopefully our future baby will be into it!).
Perhaps our favorite part of our day was meeting the Padre Cadre dads! This is a social network “just for dads” to help navigate fatherhood. You can register online to become a member and connect with seasoned dads through online forums, in-person meet-ups, events, mentoring and PadrePedia, a great resource for those middle of the night questions that are keeping you up.
This really resonated with me as fathers sometimes feel similar emotions mothers feel after bringing home a newborn for the first time. Unfortunately, they often keep their feelings to themselves after witnessing what their partner went through to bring their child into this world. My husband Daniel was holding our daughter in her tutu and the men of Padre Cadre quickly sparked up a conversation with him. They spoke about their little girls and how much they love them. This “dad crew” really hit home with us and we wouldn’t have known about them if we hadn’t been to the Baby Fair.
We had an absolute blast at the Saint Barnabas Medical Center Baby Fair. Gia got to interact with Saint Barnabas staff members, group leaders, teachers, policemen, doctors, and nurses. We entered in raffles, listened to dedicated professionals speak about their passions, toured the hospital’s all private maternity units, learned a lot about what to do for next time and even left with a few free goodies. This was our family’s first, and certainly not last baby fair adventure!