Babypalooza goes virtual for 2020 expo

Babypalooza goes virtual for 2020 expo
Cecilia Pearson founded Babypalooza 15 years ago to fill a need for a program focused on the education and equipment of new mothers. (contributed)

Babypalooza, a community platform that provides new and expectant mothers with the opportunity to connect with other moms, experts and product representatives, will host a virtual baby and maternity expo Oct. 16-17. Those interested can register for the event here.

Babypalooza’s virtual attendees will be able to participate in seminars and workshops, and visit, see and talk with exhibitors. There will also be an opportunity for attendees to learn about products to add to their baby registry and earn points for the chance to win the “ultimate” baby registry giveaway.

“They will be able to play baby bingo, get a virtual swag bag and have fun,” said Cecilia Pearson, founder and CEO of Babypalooza.

Pearson created the company 15 years ago to fill a need for a program focused on the education and equipment of new mothers.

“I felt like helping first-time pregnant moms get the information and resources they need was something I could do,” Pearson said.

When a mom joins the Babypalooza community, she may share the due date or date of birth of her youngest child to receive personalized information based on her current needs.

“First-time moms are mostly just nervous about what they don’t know, so having a community of other moms to ask, ‘Hey, what should I expect or what should I do?’ provides a great deal of comfort,” said Pearson.

When Pearson started Babypalooza, only a bi-monthly magazine was offered. As the business began to grow, Babypalooza launched its first expo. Babypalooza is no traditional health fair. Pearson designed the day to be more than just helpful, providing pre- and post-natal health seminars, car seat safety demonstrations and financial planning advice.

“We wanted it to be a place where all of the caretakers could come and enjoy,” Pearson said. “Saying to grandma, ‘Hey let’s go spend our Saturday at the civic center to learn about safe sleep,’ is a little different than saying, ‘Hey let’s go get some swag, play baby bingo, enjoy the citywide baby shower and more.’”

When the pandemic hit, Pearson was already two years into considering taking the organization into the digital world to serve more moms.

“Having virtual events was on our road map, but not for 2020,” Pearson said. Babypalooza was scheduled to see more than 45,000 attendees this year, with the anticipated introduction of a digital platform. Determined to meet the needs of the Babypalooza community, Pearson decided to hold this year’s events virtually after it became clear that live events weren’t possible.

Babypalooza’s pregnancy and parenting academy, Babypalooza U, is offering more online courses to continue reaching moms during the pandemic. Soon, parents will be able to take courses with a virtual group where they can interact with other parents as they learn.

Babypalooza recently launched a monthly pregnancy and newborn sample box subscription service so moms can try before they buy. (contributed)

Babypalooza recently launched a monthly pregnancy and newborn sample box subscription service so moms can try before they buy. Moms will get a box of samples that meet their needs, depending on where they are in their pregnancy or the age of their baby. Moms also have access to virtual services such as doulas and yoga instructors through the Babypalooza virtual services directory.

Having a community of support is important for new and expectant mothers, Pearson said. “So many moms are isolated. In Alabama, much of the state is rural with many smaller health care centers closed. Being able to log in and have virtual support with vetted information keeps moms from having to be alone.”

Because of the support of partners, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, Alfa Insurance, College Counts 529 Plan and hospitals such as UAB, Grandview and St. Vincent’s, moms can access the Babypalooza community for free. Find upcoming Babypalooza events here.

Pearson hears many stories about how Babypalooza is helping mothers.

Jemia Roberson Storey came to her first Babypalooza when she was a hopeful mom but not yet expecting. The next year, Storey was pregnant and excited to share her story with Pearson. After her third Babypalooza, Storey learned she was expecting twins.

“Long story short, Jemia has been to a bunch of Babypaloozas and has allowed us to be a part of her journey and her family,” Pearson said. “And we have lots of Jemias.”

See the ways Babypalooza has affected the lives of new and expecting moms like Storey.

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