Friday, December 15, 2006

The Myth of the "Family Restroom"

By Cassandra D

In the months before I became I mom, I bought the baby gear, put up baby gates, read books, and generally did my best to prepare for the event my already-parent friends gleefully proclaimed would "change life forever."

As I stocked up on the paraphernalia of breast-feeding (pump, freezer bags, shields, etc.) I also scouted out locations for pumping and nursing. One thing that was reassuring to me was the rise of the "Family Restroom." Have you noticed? They are cropping up everywhere.

But have you ever been in one?

Not a single one of them that I have been in has a place to sit other than on a toilet seat, which is rather unappealing if all you want to do is nurse your baby. I ended up either sitting on the floor or standing by the sink to nurse. In the early days my baby needed to eat frequently and didn't yet get formula, so if I ever wanted to get out of the house and run errands, this issue came up.

I was so disappointed when I took my baby to the children's section of the brand new downtown library, went to the "Family Restroom" when she got fussy, and found no place to sit. I asked the librarian what I was supposed to do. She suggested that I breastfeed out on a couch out in the public area, and offered to shoo people away for me. I ended up dragging a chair into the restroom and have not yet been back to the library.

The days of breast-feeding are behind me, but I feel great sympathy for moms who are trying to make it work. Either society needs to get over being squeamish about public breastfeeding, or "Family Restrooms" (and all public women's rooms, for that matter) ought to provide a place to sit down.


At 7:29 PM, Blogger pstmpg said...

If you are ever in Indiana, check out the mother's room near the women's restroom in Von Maur at Castleton Square Mall. While it doesn't provide privacy from other breastfeeding mothers or their toddlers, it is private from everyone else. It is dimly lit, well decorated, has sofas, rocking chairs, and a bead table for the patiently waiting preschool siblings. I know, it's a long drive just to breastfeed, but maybe it is a model we could copy here.


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