FORT HOOD — Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center pulled out all the stops for its seventh annual Baby Expo on Saturday.
The event, attended by hundreds, offered bundles of information, education and community resources for expectant mothers and new parents from more than 76 different tables featuring a variety of vendors including La Leche League, YMCA, Grabagreen, Kindermusik and Fort Hood Child and Youth Services.
Operation Homefront was also on site to give out more than $5,000 worth of donated items from H-E-B.
Expo coordinators strived to have representation from every section in the hospital that military families could expect to encounter. Hospital labor and delivery staff were available to answer questions and talk about what families may typically experience when they deliver at Darnall. Hospital representatives from other sections were also featured.
Doctors and nurses were available to answer questions and provide information about medications for moms and babies. Behavioral health providers offered information on postpartum depression and mental wellness in general for the entire family. Hospital team members gave out free gifts and had information about well-baby checkups, childhood illnesses and the importance of reading during early child development during the first year after birth.
According to Capt. Jennifer Regan, an Army nurse who works in Darnall’s Labor and Delivery Department and oversaw this year’s expo, the goal of the event is to take some of the stress and misconceptions out of pregnancy and early parenting.
But the Baby Expo is more than just free diapers and pamphlets, it shows the community that Darnall supports Central Texas. The event connects expectant and new mothers with education, on-post resources, and other resources throughout the surrounding area.
“I think as a nurse, and as a labor and delivery nurse, it’s very import to connect with the community. Because I am at the bedside with you when you are having your baby. So, getting to make sure you are aware of all of the resources from the day you find out you are pregnant to the day you deliver is so important. And education is key because as parents we don’t get a manual,” Regan said.