How to do Problogger Conference with a newborn

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Last Thursday, Jacob, Phoebe and I headed to the Gold Coast for this year’s Problogger Conference. For those that have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s an annual conference for bloggers around Australia where we learn how to be better bloggers. The speakers are always inspiring, the venue and food is always incredible and it’s a chance to interact with bloggers in real life as opposed to online. My favourite part is the networking. I love meeting new bloggers, catching up with bloggers who I diligently read all the time and it’s a chance to meet the big wheels in blogging who actually don’t think they’re big wheels at all.

Back when the dates were released for the Problogger Conference at the beginning of the year, I immediately went to my calendar and counted the weeks from my delivery date to the first day of the conference. I worked out that Phoebe would be 7 weeks old. It was a gamble purchasing my ticket and booking our accommodation because I didn’t know what kind of baby Phoebe would be. I still bought my ticket and prayed that she would be similar natured to her previous sisters. And she was and is.

My mum and dad offered to look after Esther and Magdalene for me which meant I could book a room at the QT as opposed to taking the whole family down and staying at a nearby apartment. Hotel rooms just don’t work for little kids who need their own separate rooms to sleep in.

These two loved staying at their Grandma's house while I went to Problogger
These two loved staying at their Grandma’s house while I went to Problogger

Having Jacob come with me to the conference meant that I could get him to look after Phoebe so I could concentrate on the sessions when she was sleeping. I also got Phoebe used to a bottle so that if I couldn’t tear myself away to breastfeed her, Jacob could feed her.

The great thing about Problogger is that the conference is very baby friendly. The voluteers were so helpful. Most of them were mothers themselves so knew how to make it easier for us mums to get in and out of the main room. There were other bloggers who had their babies (up to 1 year old) at the conference and we generally congregated at the back of the main auditorium or the side so that we could make a quick exit if our babe decided to cry or become unsettled. The other blogging mums with babies didn’t have partners with them (that I saw) at the conference, so they did an amazing job by themselves.

For me, I was glad to have Jacob there and it gave him the opportunity to meet the bloggers who would write comments on my blog. He would recognize blog names straight away and I really loved how everyone at the conference embraced him and made him feel welcome even though he wasn’t a blogger. Of course the number one question asked of him was ‘So when are you going to start a blog?’ And Jacob’s answer was always ‘I don’t know how to write’ which is the number one reason that stops most people from starting a blog. 🙂

I learned quite a bit at the conference. It will need another post just to write down everything I learned. I think the biggest lesson when choosing sessions is to work out which ones to go to before the conference. Having to work in with a feeding schedule for baby means working out which sessions you don’t want to miss and which ones you are happy to listen to the audio.

There was no way I was going to miss Nikki's session (from Styling You) at the Conference
There was no way I was going to miss Nikki’s session (from Styling You) at the Conference

At 3pm on the first day of the conference I booked an hour pedicure at the Spa Q. My feet needed a bit of TLC so it was nice to get away from the conference and have some time alone. I fell asleep during the treatment because it was done while I was lying down. Spa Q is definitely a must do when staying at the QT. I’d love to go back and indulge in more treatments.

Spa Q

Pedicure

The Saturday night networking event opened up some spaces for partners to come along. I paid for Jacob to come once I was given the all clear that Phoebe could attend. I dressed Phoebe in her own little “ahoy” outfit: a seahorse dress from Target. I’m really glad that I made the effort to go to the party because it gave everyone who wanted to, a chance to cuddle Phoebe.

Bec & Phoebe

I’m naming Mrs Woog as the baby whisperer because Phoebe looked straight into her eyes while she was being cuddled and wouldn’t stop smiling. She was passed around from blogger to blogger and finally Jo from Down to Earth Mother rocked Phoebe to sleep and placed her in her capsule.

Mrs Woog and Phoebe

A little while after, Phoebe woke up with a start and started to scream – not that anyone would have heard because the noise in the bar was so loud. As I cuddled Phoebe to my chest, with my hand firmly on her bottom, I felt a rumble and then my hand felt wet. I asked Jacob whether it was a number 1 or 2 that he could see through Phoebe’s white pants and it was a number 2… or should I say a number 3.

The worst place for a baby to do a number 3 is at a bar where there are no change table facilities. I headed to the toilets, trying to avoid bloggers stopping me to cuddle Phoebe.

Thankfully the women’s toilets had vanity tables that you could sit at and do your make up so it was the perfect surface to change Phoebe’s nappy and outfit. She was a bit unsettled after I changed her so I got her on the boob and networked in the ladies toilets, as you do when you’re a female plumber who blogs about plumbing.

I was on toilet door duty because one of the cubicle doors wouldn’t lock. I got to catch up with so many bloggers in the ladies bathroom as they waited in line and watched me feed Phoebe. Once Phoebe was happy, I came out of the toilets and saw Jacob standing by the pram by himself. He said he figured I must have been alright because every woman that left the bathroom had a smile on their face. Whether it was because they were relieved after a few drinks or had seen Phoebe, I’m not sure.

By this stage it was 9:50pm and we had to leave by 10pm because the bar would open to the public. This suited us fine because we were both tired and didn’t want a late night anyway.

I guess the one thing about having a baby at a conference is that you can miss fun parts. I didn’t get my photo taken in the Olympus Photo Booth, but I got to have one on one interactions with well known bloggers.

Jacob having a moment with Phoebe
Jacob having a moment with Phoebe

I went with the flow for the conference, not putting pressure on myself or Jacob on having to stick to a strict routine. I didn’t get to network much during the meal times because I would spend them eating with Jacob in the reception lounge area, breastfeeding Phoebe at the same time. Most bloggers would come up to me during this time anyway to talk as they walked by.

In a nutshell my tips on How to do Problogger Conference with a newborn is

  • Get you older children cared for by a family member so it’s just you and the baby going
  • Bring your partner or blogging buddy along so they can help with the baby juggle
  • Book a room at the conference location so that bub can always be nearby
  • Choose which sessions to attend to before arriving at the venue
  • Try and schedule feeds during the meal breaks
  • Don’t put pressure on yourself to attend every session

You can definitely still get a lot out of going to Problogger Conference with a baby, it just takes a bit more organization and little expectation of being able to do everything that is available at the Conference.

Have you ever taken a baby along to a Conference? How did you find Problogger Conference? If you went, did you get to meet Phoebe?

I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.