The reason why this is not under ‘Breastfeeding’ category is because breastfeeding moms aren’t the only ones using nursing rooms, and the term ‘nursing room’ is not restricted to rooms for breastfeeding purposes but also to baby care rooms in general.
To be honest, I rarely use nursing rooms and really avoid them most of the time. The reason is because a lot of our nursing rooms are not very pleasant to be in for even a quick diaper change, much less to sit there and nurse a baby. Part of the reason for the unpleasant state is the strange fondness of architects and building management to locate baby care rooms right next to toilets. The other reason is that cleaners don’t usually pay particular attention to these rooms and basically treat them just like another toilet when it should be kept more hygienic than toilets. There are instances where baby care rooms end up as the janitor’s store room or rest area.
On the other hand, some things are within our control and this is why I am putting in my little effort in making the world a better place by writing this. Hopefully, people will start behaving better in nursing rooms through the small spark that this article starts.
1. Clean up properly, pleeeze!
The most irritating problem is none other than the fact that users don’t clean up properly after changing their babies’ diapers. Poopy diapers are just chucked into the bin. Ladies, listen up! Even non-poopy diapers will stink up the place after lying in the bin long enough (and we know cleaners don’t pay particular attention to this area as it is).
So do everyone (including yourselves) a favour – put the dirty diapers in plastic bags and tie up before throwing into the bin. This will prevent the smell from seeping out and will make a great difference to the environment of the baby care room. If you are environmentally conscious regarding the indiscriminant use of plastic bags, recycle the bag and clip that your bread comes in for this purpose.
Besides the correct disposal of dirty diapers, the rest are common sense – keep the place dry and clean, don’t throw tissues and wipes everywhere, don’t get the changing mat dirty, etc.
2. Let Breastfeeding Moms have the privacy (or space/seat) they need
This is an appeal to all formula-feeding mothers : if you are using the nursing room to bottle feed your baby, and a breastfeeding mom comes along, please let her use the room instead. Some baby care rooms come with cubicles for additional privacy. Please let the breastfeeding moms use those cubicles.
I am not saying that formula-feeding moms have less right to use the nursing rooms, but just like giving up seats on buses or trains, we really should give the space to people who need them more. Don’t forget that some baby care rooms serve fathers who need to change diapers as well, which means the breastfeeding moms would have to risk exposure to men. I personally don’t have a problem, but I know there are a lot of shy ladies out there. So let’s be nice to each other and let the breastfeeding moms have the privacy they need.
Some baby care rooms are nice and spacious and if you are there to rest a while, again, please give up your seat if another mom needs it for nursing or even bottle-feeding. Please don’t bring the whole clan into the baby care room to rest. (Yes, I have witnessed this with my own eyes!) I am sure there are nice cafes and restaurants around for you to do that.
3. Ladies, be nice to the Fathers
Unfortunately, there are still plenty of places in Singapore where there are no baby changing facilities in the men’s rooms. Even when there are, let’s face it, as it is, we are complaining about the stench in the baby care rooms. So the poor dads have to brave the unfriendly glares of the ladies in the baby care rooms to change their babies’ diapers.
Ladies, think ‘Sensitive New Age Guys’ and ‘Hands on Dads’ and cut them some slack. In fact, we should be encouraging these wonderful dads for being so hands-on by giving them our best smiles. In case you are wondering where their wives have gone to, remember, they could be out with babies alone to give the wives a break. More applause and encouragement to them!
4. Dads, please don’t stare
I believe most dads are ok guys and will not stare at the nursing mothers in the baby care room. But since I have asked the mommies to be nice to the daddies in baby care rooms, I should be fair and extend the same reminder to the dads : Dads, please avoid looking or staring at nursing mothers in the baby care room.
Ladies, since you are the ones reading this, please remind your dear hubbies not to stare.