pregnancy & baby festival

O'Reilly Hall, UCD, Dublin
22-23 February 2014, 10am - 5pm

Thank you!


We had a blast at babytalk last weekend, thanks so much to everyone who took part in the festival. It was great to see so many Mums, Dads, bumps, babies wobblers and toodlers out having fun!

We’ll have full festival recap with photos for you next week plus competition winner announcements so stay tuned!

Rachel & Marie xxxxx

Cotton on!

A guest post from Babytalk exhibitor Leona from hip baby about why organic cotton is the bees knees!

hip baby

Cotton is Cotton right??  Well no, not exactly.  There are no chemicals whatsoever used in the production of Organic Cotton.  No insecticides or pesticides used in the cotton fields or chemicals during the manufacturing process and the dyes used are free from toxins!

Apart from the obvious Environmental and Social benefits to the farmers who grow it, how does it benefit you and your baby?  Well a baby’s skin is very delicate and their skin is a lot thinner than adults, for this reason is it is important that their skin can breathe and Organic Cotton helps this.

A lot of babies suffer with eczema and other skin irritations and Organic Cotton can really help with these conditions.  Regardless of the rest of the clothes your baby wears, if the layer next to their skin is Organic Cotton then you are helping your baby’s skin to breathe!

Organic Cotton Clothing has come a long way in the last few years, previously the choice varied from a dull cream to an even duller grey!!!  Now we have lots of colours and styles to choose from and the quality cannot be matched!

Come along to the hipbaby stand at Babytalk Festival to see and feel organic cotton clothing for yourself and be in with a chance to win a fab prize of a €50 voucher to spend online!

For more details please see


We’re delighted to be welcoming Babywearing Ireland to babytalk on Saturday for a sling demo! Babywearing mums and Dads might also enjoy the Sling & Dance Session with Active Mum which will follow.

Babytalk team member Geraldine shares her babywearing adventures…

Image credit: British Consortium of Baby Sling Manufacturers and Retailer

When writing posts for Babytalk I can almost always be relied upon to be entirely impartial, with one proviso – babywearing! I’m so eager to share my love of babywearing it’s impossible to hide my enthusiasm. So I won’t try! Here’s my personal babywearing story.

Before I became pregnant with my daughter I had never really heard of babywearing. I had seen photographs of women in other cultures, busily working while their baby peeped out from layers of richly coloured fabric. “How convenient!” I thought vaguely but I don’t think it ever cossed my mind that I might do that one day. While I was pregnant I read a few articles about wearing your baby and discovered it wasn’t just for mothers from other cultures, it wasn’t even just for mothers! The more I read the more the benefits became apparent; babies love the warmth and closeness, they are more easily soothed and less fussy, it allows the carer to get on with housework and engage with older children, it even exercises the tiny muscles the baby will use when he or she eventually becomes upright themselves!

I was convinced so I bought a deep green stretchy wrap – a long, long piece of soft, stretchy jersey – which I washed, aired and folded up ready for the new arrival. I watched all the tutorial videos and looked forward to trying it out. Since I had been asking family members about babywearing I was also sent a gorgeous handmade mei tai as a gift. A mei tai is a type of carrier originally used in Asia. It’s a large rectangle of patterned cotton with four straps at each corner, quick and easy to use. Now I had two baby carriers and just had to wait patiently for a baby to put into them!

My daughter arrived (twelve days “late”) and after a couple of weeks I decided to try out the stretchy wrap. Major hitch – she didn’t like it! I know now that it takes a little while to get used to wrapping and being wrapped but I was really worried I was somehow hurting her! After a few attempts with only slightly better results I sadly packed up the wrap for another day – or another baby!

Those carriers stayed in the press (and in the back of my mind) for a couple of months as my daughter got sturdier and heavier. She started teething, couldn’t nap (she was never a great one for naps) and I couldn’t get anything done. One particular day I realised that even though it was lunchtime I still hadn’t had breakfast and my arms were half out of their sockets. I had read about “sleepy dust”, the babywearers name for the magical, soporific effect of babywearing. I got the mei tai and somehow managed to get my baby into a back carry. She cried a little as I bobbed about in the kitchen but now I recognised the “tired” cry and knew she wasn’t uncomfortable. Ten minutes later she was fast asleep and continued to sleep for two whole hours. I danced for joy, silently and in slow motion. Now I had two hands free, a happy baby and could finally get something to eat!

As time went on and I became more confident I used my sling more and more. I joined an internet group where I could get advice from other parents and chat about babywearing. From them I learned how to use slings safely and comfortably by following the TICKS checklist (you can see the list above). I also joined Babywearing Ireland, a non-profit group for parents.

I’ve noticed more and more parents wearing their babies around and new vendors and sling types are popping up all the time. My daughter soon outgrew her mei tai and I replaced it with a SSC – soft structured carrier – with backpack style straps and buckles. Both my partner and I can use this as it adjusts to fit different bodies. We’ve worn her around the house, around the city and in the wilds, in buses, trains and airports, on a mountain in Norway and a mountain in Crete. I thought I had become a pro user until Babytalk Director Rachel showed me how she could feed her daughter in their SSC! No need to stop and find somewhere to feed while baby fusses – instant service! My baby is now a toddler and just about to outgrow her SSC but we’re definitely not stopping yet. With a whole world of toddler slings out why would we?

We have some great sling sellers taking part in the festival so you can try and then buy! WARNING – babywearing can be very addictive – once you buy one sling you will want more!

Babytalk Festival – what why when and where?

Our impressive venue – O’Reilly Hall, UCD, Dublin

The story of Babytalk begins all the way back in 2011 when I began my adventure into the world of making babies.

Like most people, before the idea of having a baby stopped filling me with dread and fear, I had never given more than a few fleeting moments of thought to being a Mum and all that would involve. The most thought I had ever given to the idea of having a baby, was a list of names that I liked for the babies that I might have, one day in the very distant future.

So when the uncontrollable “want” began, I was quite overwhelmed by how all consuming it was. I suddenly went from not being particularly interested in babies and little people, to longing for my own little bundle of loveliness. And so it began… I started preparing myself for becoming a Mum. I’m a bit of a research nerd, so I delved into every book I could find, article I could google and advice I could get my hands on while we were trying to conceive. The thing that surprised me was that people don’t tend to talk a whole lot about this part of the journey to Mammyhood and Daddyhood. I know it involves jiggery pokery and that in Ireland we’re still a little afraid to talk about things like that, but still, I was shocked at how underground and difficult it was to find advice. So I began to reach out to people I didn’t know on forums and Facebook groups. I created a network of online friends that I could ask questions and bounce ideas off.

When we found out that we were going to have a baby, the penny really dropped. The reality of becoming a parent set in and I was scared. I had so many questions and I was given so much conflicting advice that I didn’t quite know what to do. I really just wanted somewhere I could go to chat with people that could offer good sound advice based on fact rather than hearsay, and even more importantly I wanted to meet fellow parents-to-be and make real life friends that I could hopefully share our parenting adventures with. That somewhere has become Babytalk Festival!

Well, mostly for very selfish reasons. We have designed Babytalk for us and our peers, we couldn’t find exactly what we were looking for so we decided to make it ourselves. We wanted to create something different, a fun experience where people can come together and celebrate little people and parenthood. It’s a big deal this parenting marlarkey – a life changing time full of excitement, joy, laughter, tears, tantrums, pooey nappies, dribble, worry, questions but most of all – love, and that’s what we want to celebrate. We also want to make it easier to access accurate information and to help connect people.

The nicest time of year of course! Spring begins in February – the days begin to stretch, flowers pop their heads up and stretch towards to sun, animals (us included) come out from hibernation and things just seem a little brighter! We chose to have the festival at the end of February to celebrate spring – a fresh time of new beginnings. So save the date and come help us welcome the spring! Saturday the 22nd and Sunday the 23rd of February 2014.

We searched high and low, near and far to find our perfect venue. It took months of road-trips, site visits, meetings and scary decisions to find it. We had a lot to consider… from visiting other events we created a list of what we did want and what we didn’t.

Dream Venue List
Big, but not too big
Free car parking
Easy to find & good location
Good transport links
Nicely designed space
A blank canvas with potential
Good facilities
Reliable events team & staff
Lots of light
Unique & different
Green areas – we like trees!

We finally found everything we were looking for and then some in O’Reilly Hall, UCD in Dublin. It is a beautiful architecturally designed space set amidst the bustling UCD campus. The campus itself is well known, easy to get to and very green! There are lots of lovely woodland walks, a gorgeous lake that the hall overlooks, and plenty of green areas. Here is a link to a pdf of the woodland walks, why not make a day of your visit and take a stroll through one of the routes after Babytalk?

Looking forward to welcoming you, we hope you enjoy the festival as much as we have enjoyed creating it!