FORT HOOD — The Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center invited the community to its sixth annual baby expo at the main hospital last weekend.
The community-outreach event was designed to inform military families about programs and resources the hospital as well as local partners on and off Fort Hood have to offer.
“Every booth that you see here at the Baby Expo is focused to women who are pregnant or have an infant up to 1 year,” said Maj. Ann Daniele, chief of maternal child health nursing.
Over 70 vendors provided visitors with educational material and hands-on-learning experiences at their booths during the Oct. 20 event.
“We have things like emergency planning, infant choking, how to give a bath, vaccinations, Army midwifery program,” Daniele said. “It’s getting bigger every year.”
Health care providers also informed parents about important topics like car seat safety, first aid for infants and safe sleeping habits, which was especially beneficial for first-time-parents.
Brianna Hartman, founder of Stroller Warriors Fort Hood, came to the Baby Expo to promote her free running club to the military community.
“We want to spread awareness to be and stay active before and after the baby is born,” she said. “We welcome everyone, from beginner to expert. You can always come and walk — we finish all at the same time and just want you to join in the fun.”
The running club meets every Monday morning at different locations with the mission to help military families around the world live happier, healthier lives through fitness and friendship.
Expo visitor Tiana Passing is expecting her first baby in a few weeks and was amazed by the extended variety of the event.
“This is great,” she said. “It is very informative and you get a lot of information you usually don’t get from your regular doctor’s visits.”
Brandon and Maryline Ruyz will be welcoming their first baby at Darnall in a couple of months. The Baby Expo gave them a glimpse into the available health care they are able to receive.
“The information we are getting here is amazing,” Maryline Ruyz said. “We heard about things we didn’t even know existed and found out they are covered by our insurance provider.”
Participating mothers also liked the booth that provided a daddy boot camp to teach new dads how to change a diaper and give baby a bath.
However, the Baby Expo wasn’t only educational, but also a place to connect within the community.
“We have our pediatric team, our NICU team, our labor and delivery team and they are also doing tours,” Daniele said. “This is a great way before you come into labor to see the staff that is going to share this wonderful experience and deliver your baby.”