Baby shows & local support services

Are they selling the right message?

There is a baby show in the county I work within, this month. I remember visiting one, heavily pregnant with my first born son and I thought of the type of help I needed then.

I didn’t know what I know now, two babes later. At the time, like many of us, I thought I needed the latest X or Y and the reality of it is, I didn’t need any of it.

What might have actually offered improvement on newborn days, would have been meeting a Doula, meeting other breastfeeding mothers, meeting the people who would go on to support me for many months after my breastfeeding struggles smoothed out.

I had to email

So I decided to email the person running the show, find out about a stall and I had so many visions in my head about being the antidote to some of the madness at the events.

The response was generic and the price of £75 a stall had me reeling.
At that price, what local support service for parents could afford to come?

So this was my email back.

Dear generic baby show, 

I have had a look though your  exhibitor pack and it all looks lovely. 
I notice that your shows tour all the large towns and I wonder if have policy for local community engagement?

Whilst I understand that as a business model you are working with big businesses and generating revenue, but as a breastfeeding supporter, I know the impact that parents can experience by being linked up with their local support systems before they have their child. I believe you are well placed to increase many of these services visibility. 

As you may know, many of the NHS infant feeding support services are being cut around the country and parents are being left with little support and this is where specialists like myself are trying to fill the gaps in provision with paid and voluntary run services.

Many of the products being sold at events like yours are not essential parts of parenting, they are luxuries. To balance the ethics of this, I urge you to consider engaging with members of the local support communities to balance this out.  

I am unable to book a stall at £75 at this time due to finances. Parent support like I give, is not a lucrative business, but it is an essential one

Thanks, Tessa 

What are your thoughts?

What do you think? Should baby shows have an obligation to engage in community services? Would have meeting support services in pregnancy made a difference to your post postpartum days?

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