nursing room, good or bad? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 01:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think this can really be answered without extensive research, but I am wondering whether places that provide nursing rooms are doing nursing mothers a service, which might ultimately extend a nursing relationship, or whether despite that service they are actually to the detriment of breastfeeding rates by reinforcing the idea that it's inconvenient and needs to be done in private. I can imagine someone wavering on breastfeeding thinking they'll be able to just whip out a bottle rather than have to find a nursing room.

I've certainly appreciated rooms where I can change a baby and contain a toddler, but we lived in the UK when I had a baby and a toddler and I don't think such rooms were ever called nursing/breastfeeding rooms, so that's a separate issue and they were often labelled with an image of a bottle!

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#2 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 01:15 AM
 
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I think nursing rooms are good. (or, as they are labled in the mall near our house 'family lounges').

I think lactivism should focus on making breastfeeding easier (or doable), and making mom's feel supported. I didn't realize it until I had ds, but breastfeeding is a physical need for both a mom and her kiddo. Public spaces should accomodate.

I don't think they are a disservice to breastfeeding at all, for every mother that may get the impression that breastfeeding is inconvienent, there is another mom whose desperately looking for a place that she can privately nurse. I *would* give my kid a bottle before NIP; and Nursing rooms don't stop other people from NIP.

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#3 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 01:47 AM
 
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I think they're great! ...as long as I'm not *required* to use one! I'm not afraid to NIP & do so whether a nursing room is available or not due to honestly the convenience of feeding the babies when & where they need to be fed instead of hunting down a special room. HOWEVER, I have certainly used the nursing rooms/family bathroom situations so that my older kids can be busily occupied within easy reach & I don't have to worry about them wandering off in the middle of the mall or a store.

I think there are also many women who are wanting to BF their babies, but they aren't as "courageous" and won't NIP without a special, private area. These rooms are great for that, too! Those moms don't have to worry about pumping & engorgement & all the other issues that go along with being prepared to feed a baby breastmilk while out & about without actually NIP.
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#4 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 02:03 AM
 
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I think they're great too! I was recently in Ikea and they had a beautiful room (not sure if it was called a nursing or mothers room), and I breastfed DS in a comfy chair, it was quiet, and had low lighting. There was nice things to look at (no toilets!) and it had play equipment to keep older children busy. I lingered there because it was such a peaceful atmosphere. DS would have been too distracted to nurse anywhere else. I usually take him to the car because he's too snoopy and I don't like wearing a cover thing.

If they encourage women to breastfeed, I think it's a great thing! I wish they had more breastfeeding friendly areas where I lived. The one in Ikea is the only one I've seen so far. Oh, aside from the comfy chair across from the formula in Walmart.

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#5 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 02:46 AM
 
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There are some really awesome nursing rooms. It is so much easier for me to nurse when I am comfortable and kind of apart from people.
A lot of nursing rooms have some of the best chairs...
That being said, if there isn't one available I will totally NIP.
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#6 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 03:29 AM
 
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I never would have considered using one with my dd. She would eat anywhere, anytime. Then ds came along and he WOULD NOT NURSE in public. It took months before he would actually nurse in our own living room. It was also nice to not have to worry about my older dc running away while I nursed or changed the baby.

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#7 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 08:00 AM
 
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I think they are AWESOME!!!! I love it when they have nice big comfy squishy chairs and nice lighting and one that I went in had some lovely sweet music that was so nice. Even at almost 4 mos, my little man cannot and will not stay latched unless my opposite hand is supporting my breast, so walking around/shopping/whatever is darn near impossible, and at almost 16lbs he's getting hard to manage holding him and nursing standing up. I like to sit down, and in the cases of stores I don't really want to manuever me and the babe down to the ground and back up at the end. Add to that the maniac 2yr old, and if I don't have help I really need him contained.
That said, I don't want to be required to use such a room. If it is a good day and baby bit will latch on in the RS and will allow me to move my hand for more than 10sec, I like to multitask. If I'm at an appt or in church or wherever and I'm already sitting down, I don't want to have to get up and feel that I'm being forced into isolation because my baby needs a meal.
Make any sense?
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#8 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 10:28 AM
 
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I would nurse my first anywhere, but my second doesn't nuse if there are any distractions. Therefore, I LOVE nursing rooms. I wish there were nursing rooms everywhere!
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#9 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 10:48 AM
 
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as long as mother's aren't made to feel like the nursing room is the ONLY place to NIP, then they are a wonderful idea. i have asked several stores here to change the names on them to something like 'family room' so that they don't scream "HEY YOU NASTY BF'ERS YOU HAVE TO USE THIS ROOM."

i don't like that there will be mother's out there who would rather bottle feed than NIP, but it happens. i'm thankful for those places that have the rooms and keep them clean. more often than not, they are used for diaper changes and not maintained and so i'd rather just not use them at all. of course, i NIP while dragging around the cart and my 4 yr old in the 'gasp' aisles!

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#10 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 12:11 PM
 
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I don't feel safe closed away in a hidden room. I prefer to be surrounded by people if I'm in public space.

I think they're a good thing for folks who want them or need them, so long as nobody tells me I have to use one.

I'm amused by Ikea's family lounge/nursing rooms (though I wish the NoVA store would get rid of the automatic air freshener). The whole STORE is one big family lounge as far as I'm concerned. I choose a comfy couch or chair in one of the demo rooms.

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#11 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 12:52 PM
 
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I think they're great! ...as long as I'm not *required* to use one! I'm not afraid to NIP & do so whether a nursing room is available or not due to honestly the convenience of feeding the babies when & where they need to be fed instead of hunting down a special room. HOWEVER, I have certainly used the nursing rooms/family bathroom situations so that my older kids can be busily occupied within easy reach & I don't have to worry about them wandering off in the middle of the mall or a store.

I think there are also many women who are wanting to BF their babies, but they aren't as "courageous" and won't NIP without a special, private area. These rooms are great for that, too! Those moms don't have to worry about pumping & engorgement & all the other issues that go along with being prepared to feed a baby breastmilk while out & about without actually NIP.
My local mall has a fantastic nursing (or "family") room with a toddler sized restroom, toys, changing tables and a sign saying "dads welcome too!" I don't feel like I need to use it to nurse, but its a good place for a pit stop for everyone.

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#12 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 02:19 PM
 
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I tend to agree with the pp's...

I LOVE nursing rooms (especially when DS was younger and had latch issues, it was hard to latch discretely & he'd frequently pop off & I just hadn't gotten the hang of doing it so I wasn't totally exposed)... Plus they are nice & quiet and comfy and relaxing. I would plan trips around which stores had lounges outside the restrooms or special "nursing rooms" -- although I would also just NIP when necessary. It was just nice & convenient to be somewhere peaceful & private. Plus I hate nursing standing up. I also imagine that when I have a second (or 3rd or 4th...) child, I will appreciate being able to contain them somehow while I nurse!

But I don't think they should be called nursing rooms (I've never seen them called that around here anyway... it's always "family room" or "lounge" or whatever) and it's frequently just as easy to find a fitting room or bench in a quiet corner. Actually, the bench thing would be great if every store had one... and not out front where you have to abandon your cart full of items you haven't bought yet!! I love when there is a bench somewhere in the middle of the store. I feed my DS on the bench outside the fitting rooms at Walmart... I realized it may have seemed weird (I could've just gone in the fitting room & nursed privately) but I hate their fitting rooms. And sometimes I don't feel like being isolated.

So I guess I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I guess if there was a nursing room in a store I'd feel weird BF'ing outside of it, I'd feel like that's where the store "wanted" me to nurse and it would make me less comfortable feeding outside it. So as long as it's not mandatory & not called a nursing room, I'm mostly for it.

Sorry to be rambling... can't get my thoughts out concisely today I guess~~!

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#13 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 02:22 PM
 
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I think its a great idea, and while I see the risk of mamas feeling relegated to the nursing room...I don't think that would be an issue. Maybe it is more like the family restroom. A great thing to have, but families still obviously are free to use the regular restroom. Ok, maybe a horrible analogy...but my point is that it could be very comfortable, wonderful to have as a resource. Even though I feel strongly that nursing moms should feel free to nurse wherever they need/want to, I often find myself wishing there were a comfortable spot to do it. You know, decent chairs, a nice place to change a diaper. I personally hate changing baby's diaper in many restrooms which seem filthy to me. Plus when the industrial toilets flush, my poor baby always startles. I would much rather have a nice place to go if needed.

Another point is that the mere existence of it raises awareness about nursing. Maybe it would even encourage moms to breastfeed longer.

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#14 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 02:30 PM
 
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Having been nursing for nearly 5 years straight now (2 separate nurslings), I appreciate stores that provide a nice clean place to nurse should I opt to do so. I have both NIP and used the nursing rooms (love the Nordstrom ones), as well as fitting rooms for that purpose. As long as I am not forced to use one, I appreciate having the choice, especially with older nurslings where I prefer for my comfort and theirs not dealing with the stares or snide side comments. I also feel that sometimes nursing is just a private experience and sometimes I just want to have that moment to relax and I cannot always do that out and about, except in the front seat of the car or a nursing room.

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#15 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 06:21 PM
 
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I like any place where I can keep my older child contained while the younger one nurses. As well, both have gone through phases which involved way too much exposure for me to nurse comfortably in public - I just don't feel like I need both my boobs totally exposed to the world by my toddler.

I agree that they shouldn't be required, but they are nice, and I like that often the chairs have been specifically selected with nursing in mind.

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#16 of 57 Old 12-28-2009, 07:46 PM
 
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I would have been very grateful for one as there is a dearth of comfy seats in the local shopping centres. I was happy to NIP but I'd have appreciated a seat that wasn't a backless bench. And sometimes a nice quite room would have been a bonus. The only other options were go to a cafe and buy a drink so I could use their seats or use the one chair in a grubby room that was also used a nappy changing room and smelt (and I did complain about it but it never improved.)

So yes, decent bf rooms are good, but only if they are optional.

More important (to me) than a bf room would be having baby changing facilities that can be accessed by both men and women. Some places still only have facilities in the women's toilets.
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#17 of 57 Old 12-29-2009, 03:16 PM
 
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The only time I have ever used a room designed for nursing mothers and babies was in an airport. I was on a 6-day trip without my 1.5-year old, the first time we had ever been separated before. I was pumping four times a day, flying two or three times a day, and it was nice to have a private place I could sit that wasn't a bathroom to pump. I felt a little guilty that I was using it to pump when others may want to use it to nurse, but anyways. In the 15 minutes I was in the room, I heard two different people notice it and make comments. It does raise awareness.
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#18 of 57 Old 12-29-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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I felt a little guilty that I was using it to pump when others may want to use it to nurse, but anyways.
Yeah but it's way easier to NIP than... PIP??? LOL "pump in public" -- I'm totally comfortable NIP when necessary but I would never pump in front of anyone but DH & DS. I didn't even think about pumping being a great reason for nursing rooms!

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#19 of 57 Old 12-29-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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I would've killed for even a closet at school (post college) when I had to pump in a bathroom with a constant stream of ladies, with my pump plugged in over the sink and standing there pumping next to the sink. Not cool.

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#20 of 57 Old 12-29-2009, 10:05 PM
 
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We have a very BF-friendly ped and they have a "breastfeeding room" that is very nice, but it is made clear that you don't have to use the room if you choose not to. There is not a formula company logo anywhere, and the ped doesn't even bat an eye when I nurse my 4yo right in front of him. Had I been a new mother with a tiny babe, I would probably have enjoyed the nursing room, but instead, I'm a battle-worn old nursing veteran, so I choose to nurse in the open LOL.

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#21 of 57 Old 12-29-2009, 11:16 PM
 
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I also agree it's nice. Frequently you can even find a chair!! I hate sitting on the floor, that draws more attention than NIP!

I am also in the acrobatic nursling phase. If he could nurse upside down he would. Also the "I hear a noise, what was that *suck suck* there it was again, lets expose mom so I can get a good look *suck suck* what happens if I grab this boob and shake" Lounges are a blessing.

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#22 of 57 Old 12-29-2009, 11:20 PM
 
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I guess I don't see how there's a downside. If you're already comfortable NIPing then I don't see how it would deter you from continuing to be so. And if you're not comfortable, it offers a safe, comfortable place to feed your baby.

I'm not comfortable NIPing. I'm just not. And a comfortable room with a chair sounds a whole lot better than sitting on the floor in the handicapped stall of the public bathroom, which is my normal go-to if there isn't a clothing store dressing room handy.

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#23 of 57 Old 12-31-2009, 12:35 AM
 
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nak
Ironically, the first time dh went out with dd1 without me, he was as flustered as a mom who is nervous about NIP. He went to the family lounge in the mall to use the rocking chair to calm down his frantic daughter who wasn't used to waiting to get her milk. He got some odd looks while he was warming the bag of pumped milk under the warm water in the sink. A lady asked him what kind of formula that was.

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#24 of 57 Old 12-31-2009, 06:38 AM
 
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Like a pp said, I think nursing rooms are a great thing, as long as people are still free to nurse wherever.

When DS was little, NIP was no problem. Now he's older and soooo distracted, so nursing rooms are such a blessing. It influences the businesses I choose to shop at too.

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#25 of 57 Old 12-31-2009, 09:09 AM
 
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I also agree it's nice. Frequently you can even find a chair!! I hate sitting on the floor, that draws more attention than NIP!

I am also in the acrobatic nursling phase. If he could nurse upside down he would. Also the "I hear a noise, what was that *suck suck* there it was again, lets expose mom so I can get a good look *suck suck* what happens if I grab this boob and shake" Lounges are a blessing.
Hahaha..sorry you SO described ds to a T. I like the nursing rooms, otherwise I have to go home to nurse because ds just can NOT focus with any distractions.

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#26 of 57 Old 12-31-2009, 02:06 PM
 
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I detest nursing lounges without doors. Sit down to nurse. DS decides to dash out. Get up, baby attached to boob and chase him. Wash, rinse, repeat. If I have DS with me (DD1 can be trusted to sit nicely. Talks a lot, but will sit nicely), and no DH, unless there is a door on the nursing lounge, I will take them out to the car.

That said, I'll nurse anywhere, anytime. The nursing room, IMO, is to contain the big siblings of the baby while mom nurses.
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#27 of 57 Old 12-31-2009, 03:37 PM
 
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I haven't been to the mall for awhile, but there are lounges connected to the women's bathrooms in most department stores. Those are the only "breastfeeding rooms" I have seen. I think they are good. Most of those stores don't have general sitting areas, and the sitting areas in the mall can be limited or too busy (in the food court) for a distractable babe.

The only thing I don't like about those is they are connected to the Women's restroom, so DH can't come in. The last time we were at the mall I found a spot in the general mall seating area to nurse so I could be with DH.

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#28 of 57 Old 12-31-2009, 04:01 PM
 
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The only thing I don't like about those is they are connected to the Women's restroom, so DH can't come in. The last time we were at the mall I found a spot in the general mall seating area to nurse so I could be with DH.
Yeah I hate that DH can't come in the restroom ones... one of the reasons I don't use them often... but we discovered that a lot of the nicer/anchor stores around here have benches or couches outside the fitting rooms. Or we just all pile in to an unattended fitting room if there's no couch outside (the ones that aren't gender-specific)... It would be nice to have more of the family rooms for changing/feeding like Babies R Us has.

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#29 of 57 Old 12-31-2009, 11:15 PM
 
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I detest nursing lounges without doors. Sit down to nurse. DS decides to dash out. Get up, baby attached to boob and chase him. Wash, rinse, repeat. If I have DS with me (DD1 can be trusted to sit nicely. Talks a lot, but will sit nicely), and no DH, unless there is a door on the nursing lounge, I will take them out to the car.
The family lounge near our mall used to have a door. Then a mother was raped in the family restroom and they removed the door and installed intercoms and emergency buttons in the rooms. I haven't been there once where security didn't come in to check on that family room at least every five minutes. I'd rather not have the door.

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#30 of 57 Old 12-31-2009, 11:28 PM
 
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I've never seen a nursing room anywhere that we have been, but sometimes it would be nice. DS is getting to a point where he is too overwhelmed to nurse if it is too loud. I am totally fine NIP but he is starting to be bothered by too much commotion.

I was in town grocery shopping/doing errands with DS one afternoon and he really needed to take a break/nurse.

I couldn't think of anywhere that I could nurse him that would be quietish/ and where I wouldn't have to buy anything, so I stopped at the library where we go once a week for play group.

There was no one in the children's section of the library, so I just told the librarian that I was going to sit in the rocker with DS for a minute and nurse him.

She thought for a second and said "Yeah... I guess that's ok, I mean there may be cleaning people in and out and I guess it's best to do it over in the corner just in case some kids want to come in and use the computers, you would want to be away from them, I mean as long as you are discrete and all......

And I wanted to be like "Ok lady, I was totally not asking your permission as this is a public place, I thought I would just give you a heads up/ say hello".

So a nursing room in some place in our town...anywhere at all would be nice...

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