Chicago Children’s Museum and the International Breastfeeding Symbol
As experts in the field of early childhood development, the staff at Chicago Children’s Museum knows the benefits of breastfeeding and the effect it has on infants’ development. Child development specialist Beth Wilson read and identified with the article “Becoming Breastfeeding-Friendly” in the August 2007 issue of Mothering, and knew she wanted to incorporate the universal symbol for breastfeeding into the museum. A project to revamp the Caregiver Corner in the museum’s Pritzker Playspace—an area with programs geared specifically to children birth through age five—was the perfect opportunity. The Caregiver Corner serves as a resource for parents and caregivers, and provides information about childhood development from, according to Wilson, the best resources—Civitas, the Ounce of Prevention Fund, Zero to Three, NAEYC, and Working Mother and Mothering magazines. The sign showing the universal symbol for breastfeeding was a natural component of this resource.
Chicago Children’s Museum wants all caregivers to feel welcome to pump or breastfeed anywhere in the museum. As part of a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Chicago Children’s Museum will purchase additional amenities for caregivers, including chairs that can serve as seating for nursing mothers. In addition, Chicago Children’s Museum’s employee handbook, as well as regular training sessions, address breastfeeding. The museum’s guest connections staff is aware that breastfeeding is welcome anywhere in the museum and at the discretion of the nursing mother, and that while some visitors may not be comfortable with what they see, as long as a mother is nursing, she cannot be asked to cover up.
Currently, a caregivers’ center inside the Kids Town exhibit on the third floor of the museum provides a private nursing area as well as a quiet place to read a book, rest or calm an over-stimulated child. Chicago Children’s Museum has already received positive feedback regarding the international symbol for breastfeeding. The blog Blacktating: Breastfeeding News and Views from a Mom of Color praises the museum for posting the sign.
About Chicago Children’s Museum
The mission of Chicago Children’s Museum is to create a community where play and learning connect. With over 15 interactive exhibits and programming spaces, including CCM’s newest permanent exhibit, Skyline, and new activities daily, every visit is unique for all parents, caregivers, educators, and children from toddlers to 10 years. Located at Navy Pier, Chicago’s number one attraction at 700 East Grand Avenue, CCM is the final stop for CTA buses #29, #65, #66 and #124. For more information, please visit www.chicagochildrensmuseum.org.