Birth expo attracts hundreds to Winchester

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WINCHESTER – Saturday’s Virginia Birth Expo at Body Renew Fitness & Family Sports Center drew several hundred mothers, care providers and others who attended workshops, lectures by a breastfeeding expert, and visited vendors presenting everything from natural baked goods to face painting.

Workshop topics included child car seat safety and cloth diapers.

Tiffany Shank, co-owner of Virginia Is For Doulas, which sponsored the expo, said she was pleased with the way the event turned out.

“We were expecting about 300 to 600 people and I think we’re going to be right in there,” said Shank.

Keynote speaker Nancy Mohrbacher spoke on breastfeeding and during her lecture debunked several myths and gave advice and best practices tailored to the specific mother and child, an aspect of her work that Mohrbacher says is important.

“The longer I’m in this field, the less I like to give people averages and the more I like to talk about the range of what is normal,” said Mohrbacher, explaining that striving for one’s child to be average is a bit of a strange proposition. “I think we do mothers a disservice if they’re always trying to make their baby average.”

A good deal of attention was paid to this individualized approach, with the lecture including several informal conversations and tangential discussions, with attendees relating points from the presentation to their own personal experiences.

Weaning ages across the world were discussed and the differences, especially cultural differences, were analyzed. Mohrbacher says that culture is one of the biggest factors in influencing women’s breastfeeding choices.

The lecture was attended by mothers as well as those who caregivers.

Royan Miller, a doula from Washington, D.C., said she wanted to attend to learn more about breastfeeding.

“I have a client who wants to wean her baby at 6 months and I want to know what the baby should weigh, and it’s good to know what to tell my clients in a healthy way,” said Miller said.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com

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