This post is sponsored by The Breastfeeding Shop.
Is this even real life? I feel like the angels sang and a light shown down from heaven. Nope! It’s just your typical nursing lounge in Asia.
In the US, breastfeeding mothers are hiding in corners, balancing in bathrooms, and desperately trying to keep that nursing cover, well, covering. Not so in many places in Asia. Instead, we’re greeted with plush cozy chairs and bottle warming stations.
Perfect for nervous nursers
When I had my older child, I was anxious about nursing in public at first. She didn’t latch well at first and would flail around. Nursing under a cover was just not possible. Even with my second child, getting him to nurse while covered was a struggle at first.
Trying to get a new baby to breastfeed, while you are insanely nervous or anxious, is terrifying. Nothing feels right and your anxiety increases with every passing second. Having somewhere private to go, especially in busy places, was a lifeline.
Nursing rooms and lounges in Asia–especially Japan and Korea–are amazing. I am able to go into a quiet space, without any distractions. Everything I need is right at my fingertips. In larger spaces, there are usually small dressing room style places with privacy doors or curtains. In smaller nursing rooms, it might just be a single-occupancy space. There are usually sinks and often warmers or sterile water for bottles.
I can settle back into a nice easy chair or at the very least something more comfortable than the toilet seat. I can relax knowing that I have time and space to get a decent latch and an easier nursing session.
We live in a very hot place. With a very young baby, nursing under any sort of cover just seems dangerous.
Unfortunately, my big girl just needed to go to the zoo. In June. The feels-like temperature was over 100℉. Everything was just fine, until the baby started to get fussy. I kept looking around for a shady spot with an uncrowded bench. There just wasn’t anything available.
Just then we walked past a welcome sight: nursing lounge. As I stepped inside, I was greeted with cool air. This was the perfect space to feed my baby and take a break from the heat. We stayed inside for a little longer than just the nursing session.
Traveling with kids is never easy. When you need to feed a baby, it adds an extra wrinkle. Nursing moms need space and time to pump or breastfeed. The grimy airport chairs and crowds are not ideal for any of that. Plus, hauling a massive nursing pillow around really cramps your style.
We traveled to Seoul when my baby was about four months old. The airport there is insane. It’s huge, busy, and overwhelming. Everything was crowded or distracting. I slipped into the best nursing lounge I’ve ever seen was in the Incheon Airport. There was low lighting and soothing white noise playing. Five gorgeous changing stations were set up, complete with covered trash pails. There were even little tables and chairs to keep bigger kids occupied. Then, the best part of all: a completely separate nursing room. Next to the reclining easy chair, hanging on the wall, was a nursing pillow. While I didn’t need or use it on this trip, I know for many mothers this would be nothing short of a miracle. Everything was spotlessly clean, too.
Taking even just a few minutes in that little oasis made our international journey much more pleasant.
Wherever we’ve gone in Japan and Korea with baby in tow, nursing rooms have been there for us. At the local zoo, the big mall, or the small indoor play place, I’ve been able to take a break in a comfortable and private space to breastfeed my baby. The airport nursing lounges have saved us multiple times. I’ve been able to peacefully nurse and corral my older child while keeping my bags in sight.
This is just how it is here. Nursing mothers are accommodated and given space to do their thing. Breastfeeding is given dignified space and privacy.
The Breastfeeding Shop provides name-brand, high-quality breast pumps and breastfeeding supplies. Catering to the military community, the Breastfeeding Shop’s quick and easy service ensures that TRICARE beneficiaries can receive breast pumps and supplies at no-cost to them.
By Meg Flanagan