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BlogHer. With a baby.

by Miranda on August 16, 2012

Last year, before my first BlogHer in San Diego, I scoured the internet looking for posts on what to expect. And then I got there and I was all ZOMGBLOGHER and promptly forgot most of it. Especially once I walked past Moosh in Indy pushing a tiny Vivi in a stroller and thought “Wow. She has a baby. She has a baby at BlogHer. And that’s Vivi and I know that because of her hair!”

So when I decided to go, I knew I could (and would) take Emma. But what the internet seemed to be lacking was advice on how best to bring a baby to a blogging conference.  So, I wrote this monster long post for future generations of conference attendees planning to bring a baby. You’re welcome. (Sorry for everyone who isn’t interested in this. There are pictures to make it worth your time.)

BlogHer. With a baby.

First, it’s cool to me that babies are welcome at BlogHer. It’s something that very few attendees seem to frown upon and with that many people, the number of women (and men) who will run screaming from your child are greatly outnumbered by those who are all “OMG CUTE BABY!” I didn’t encounter a single person who seemed put off by the fact that Emma was there. (Except for an entire PR firm, but that’s another story for another day.)

But simply bringing your baby to BlogHer isn’t the hardest part of bringing your baby to BlogHer. There are some things you should know in order to ensure your conference experience is a good one.

1. Sessions and the Expo Hall

Any session during the day is do-able provided you can actually get in the door for the session. Stay near the exit so that if you need to leave because your baby is fussy you can do so easily. If your baby is mobile, or an independent sitter, you could even opt to sit in the floor near the wall so that your baby can have some space to move around/sit. (I can honestly say I wouldn’t have gone if Emma were mobile, but I know some moms did.)

Remember, all sessions are transcribed and put up on the BlogHer website after the conference, so if you miss anything, it’s all there.

The Expo Hall is also totally walk-able with a baby, but be prepared to a) say “vagina” to quasi-celebrities, or b) have brand reps get distracted by how cute your kid is, or c) both. It’s never a bad idea to make a plan of which booths are your Must Visit booths and try to hit those when your baby is sleeping so you can talk to the reps at the booth.

BlogHer contracted with Kiddie Corps to provide childcare (for a fee of $50/day) for infants and children attending the conference. For infants, there’s a 1:1 ratio. Basically, you’re hiring a sitter for only your child for the day. I missed the sign-ups for this by a few hours and then decided that with breastfeeding, it wouldn’t have been very convenient for me anyway. But know that it may be an option.

babywearing

Just me and my girl.

2. Hauling Your Baby Around

Emma doesn’t mind being worn, so I wore her just about everywhere in one of my ring slings from Anna Carrie Baby. There were times during the day when she needed a break, but it was never a problem to find a place to sit and unsling her so she could stretch her legs and/or nurse. The sling also allowed me to nurse her while eating lunch and listening to Martha Stewart’s keynote and riding the train and sitting in the airport. I recommend babywearing not just because I’m a fan of wearing my kid but also because it tends to take up less room than a stroller and is easier to maneuver.

If your baby likes to stroll, (or if you’re a Swaggy McSwaggerson) (please don’t be that person) bring your stroller. The only time I wished I had a stroller was in our hotel room when I needed to fix my hair or pack my suitcase, so for that reason alone, it would be a good idea to have somewhere for your baby to sit in the hotel room if your baby is the type to get tired of laying around.

Babywearing

Ellevill cotton wrap conversion = Love. Hot, sweaty, mess of hair = Not Love.

3. Know your baby’s limits.

Last year, there were babies at some of the parties. At first I gave that the side-eye until I realized that this was an international conference and babies are on different schedules and every family is different. So I had no issues with the idea of taking Emma to parties. I figured I’d take her, stay for a bit and then leave. I knew there would be no PARTY-partying happening for me. Because, you know, responsible adult and all.

Thursday was a busy day. After a day of sight-seeing and an afternoon of addresses and events, the plan was to stop by the hotel and then head over to the People’s Party to hang out with…uh…people. Except Emma fell asleep when I laid her down on the bed.

So there I was, in New York City, alone in my hotel room with my baby while my friends were across the street at the Hilton. I was sad? Disappointed? Unhappy? I was something that wasn’t happy but I’m not sure what. But I laid there next to my sleeping baby and knew that this was her limit. There would be no parties for me that night.

At first it totally sucked. I was actually frustrated that she’d fallen asleep. (See also: I’m slightly crazy.) But I knew that she was out and my night was done, so even if it sucked for me, it was what she needed.

I snuggled in next to her and got some rest which was actually one of the best things I could’ve done because anyone BlogHer will completely wipe you out. I knew then that this would be a drastically different experience for me from the previous year and I decided I was okay with that.

The next night was the same, so I missed Sparklecorn. Again. But this time for a much better reason. There’s always next year for me to take part in the destruction of a confectionery unicorn.

sleeping baby

Never wake a sleeping baby. Not even for cake.

There And Back Again

Honestly, I didn’t miss the stroller at either airport. It would’ve been a giant pain in the ass to push a stroller while trying to pull a suitcase and I’m quite certain I would’ve just lost it. (I also didn’t travel with a car seat because the thought of lugging that giant thing through the airport was sending my panic into Zone Orange.) My plan to wear her everywhere mostly worked.

I was not able to wear her through security because the rings on my sling set off the metal detectors. That was a bummer. They made me send the sling through the X-Ray machine on its own and carry Emma through the metal detectors at both airports. At LaGuardia, they pulled me over for a pat down and kept asking if I was traveling with anyone. (“No. Just the baby.” “Oh, you’re sure there’s no one with you?” “Yes. I’m sure. Just her.” <—real conversation. I muttered my part through tears.) I held her in one arm while they patted down the opposite side and then switched. And I cried a lot. But it was all over with in no time.

Flying with an infant just is what it is. There are parts that suck, like sitting in Coach with two men who are over 6’2″ and less than thrilled to be sharing airspace with an infant, and parts that aren’t so bad, like snuggling her while she sleeps. Going there, she was fantastic, even through two delays. I tried to nurse her on take-off and landing for both flights, but when/if she wouldn’t nurse, I used her paci to get her to suck so her ears would pop. She took a good nap on the flight up and was pleasant when she was awake. Once the plane took off, Emma slept almost the whole return flight. The hour we spent parked in the queue? Not my happiest memory and I’d like to burn them from my brain. But I lived.

Sleeping baby on an airplane

Your tray table doubles as a baby table.

And that’s that. This post has been a two-day long labor of love, y’all! If you have more specific questions, please leave them in the comments!

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 the grumbles August 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I really don’t see how it would be feasible with a stroller. Even just walking around New York with a stroller seems like a huge hassle to me.

You and Emma seemed to be totally rocking it each time I saw you. I met a ton of cute babies last year in the lactation lounge, because my roommate was pumping there, but with it being so far away this year I didn’t get to check out their setup.

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2 Miranda August 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm

I didn’t even know where the lactation lounge was this year. So boo, again, to BH being in the Hilton.

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3 katery August 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm

never wake a sleeping baby, so true… but for cake???? come ooooooon!

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4 Miranda August 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm

::sigh:: It was hard, missing out on the cake.

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5 Sarah August 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

You and Emma rocked BlogHer. Seriously. Even when we were wandering through Times Square in search of less blistery foot options – she made nary a peep! I traveled with Attia when she was 9 months old and I was a ball of stress. You handled it like a pro. Next year: we’ll attack that cake with gusto! <3

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6 Miranda August 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm

She’s a good little traveling companion. And yes, the cake? Shall be attacked. By my face.

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7 Tracy @ The UnCoordinated Mommy August 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm

This was very helpful! I’m considering blissdom and might have to/ want to bring Bryce. Good to know its doable!!!

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8 Miranda August 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I think the same rules would apply for Blissdom as BlogHer, but I actually think Blissdom would be somewhat easier since it’s smaller and less crazy. But yes, it’s totally doable. You just have to be realistic about what your plans are while you’re there.

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9 John August 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Wait, there are times when it might not be appropriate to say “vagina” to quasi-celebrities in a crowded room?

I must say, in the few times that I saw you, you looked like you were having a great time & navigating about with confidence . . . it all may have been a smoke-screen, but it effectively fooled me, if it were.

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10 Miranda August 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm

I feel like if you’re in a crowded room with a quasi-celebrity you should actively TRY to work the word vagina into the conversation. This way you can judge just how celebrity this quasi-celebrity should be.

And we had a great time, Emma and I. So no, no smoke screen.

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11 Caitlin MidAtlantic August 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Bad days happen, and that’s ok. And it’s so very ok to admit you had a bad day! Hope tomorrow’s a great day!

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12 Suzanne August 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

She was so so so cute. SO CUTE. I got the bebeh fever bad just from being around her. And you held everything together so well all the time, I never saw her do anything but coo, nurse and make amazing faces. I am REALLY impressed, since I cannot imagine even trying to do BlogHer with a baby.

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13 Miranda August 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm

She was fantastic. I think if anyone fell apart, it was me that Saturday evening before y’all all came over and rescued me from my funk. So thanks for that. Always thanks for that.

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14 Sarah August 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm

I am one of the people who couldn’t resist making faces at her in the back of the main ballroom. She is adorable and this is a really useful post. : )

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15 Miranda August 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I hope it helps someone! And babies make adults do silly things like make silly faces, so I don’t blame you one bit!

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16 Tottums August 18, 2012 at 8:14 pm

You so totally rocked it with a baby. Seriously, I was in awe of you and every other momma who brought a baby with them – but Emma was so sweet and so good every time I saw her!

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17 Miranda August 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Emma IS a sweet girl. Which means she’ll be a crazy, overly hormonal teenager one day. I should buy stock in wine companies right now and consider it an investment in my future.

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18 Keiko December 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Thank you for this post; was directed here from the BlogHer Twitter account. I’m considering BlogHer ’13, but will have a 2 month old with me if I go. Incredibly helpful post – thank you for taking the time to write this!

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