When I was recently preparing to take my 5-month-old daughter to Disneyland for the first time, I had my concerns about being able to find comfortable places to breastfeed through the Parks. I needn’t have worried because Disneyland is a place for everyone to enjoy — even nursing moms! Moms can breastfeed their babies anywhere they want throughout the Parks. Here are a few tips on making it an easy experience for Mom and Baby alike.
Grab a Bench
Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure have ample benches available for resting and breastfeeding your baby. I was never at a loss for finding a place to sit with the baby on my visit, though this might be more challenging during busy seasons. I would venture that other guests may be willing to offer you their seat if you mention that you need to feed your baby. The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is a great nursing location. There are plenty of shaded benches where I could lean back against a wall and while I nursed the baby, my older kids explored the trail with Dad.
Bring a Blanket or Nursing Cover
If your baby is very attentive, like mine, you might find breastfeeding in public to be a challenge. With so much to look at in the Disney Parks, Baby may be too distracted to focus on feeding. A lightweight receiving blanket or nursing cover will offer you discreet coverage and also keep baby from looking around.
Nurse in a Front Carrier
If you haven’t breastfed baby while she’s in the front carrier, practice first before your trip. Once you have the hang of it, it’s a great way to feed Baby while still enjoying the Park. I simply loosen the straps on the carrier so my daughter is resting a bit lower. On my visit, I was able to nurse her hands-free so I could still eat my dinner at French Market Restaurant and nobody around us was the wiser.
Have Nursing Supplies Ready to Go
Rather than having to dig inside a cavernous diaper bag for your breastfeeding essentials, keep a smaller tote in the stroller for your nursing needs. Including everything in one place (like your nursing cover, blanket, bibs, and burp cloths) will keep you organized and eliminate some of the stress when Baby is fussy.
Breastfeed During a Show or on a Ride
If Baby isn’t sidetracked by the noise and music, breastfeeding during a show is ideal. I was able to feed my daughter while waiting for the Frozen – Live at the Hyperion show to begin. She even napped on my husband’s lap through the first half of the show, allowing us to enjoy the presentation (and the air conditioning!)
There are some rides at the Disneyland Parks that are perfect for nursing because of the slower pace. Take a turn around the Park on the Disneyland Railroad or a tour of the Rivers of America on the Mark Twain. Certain rides may be better than others depending upon the temperament of your baby. For instance, some babies might be able to nurse on the slow boat ride of “it’s a small world” or during the dark ride “Pirates of the Caribbean.” I wasn’t able to get my daughter to nurse though because she was too enthralled by the attractions!
Visit the Baby Care Center
After we’d been in the Park for a few hours and it was obvious that my baby girl was having a difficult time focusing on nursing, I headed to my favorite feeding location: The Baby Care Center. There is one in each of the two Parks (the Disneyland center is just off Main Street U.S.A, near the Plaza Inn Restaurant and the Disney’s California Adventure park center is next to Ghirardelli, in the Pacific Wharf area).
Inside each center are high chairs, changing tables and quiet rooms with rocking chairs for nursing moms. Note that no other guests, (including Dad), is allowed in these quiet rooms. There were times during my visit that I did have to wait for an open chair so keep that in mind and don’t wait until baby is desperate to eat.
After a diaper change, I was able to nurse my baby in the quiet room and she was able to focus better without any distractions. The Baby Care Center is also air conditioned, which is such a relief on a warm day.
Wear Convenient Nursing Tops
When planning your vacation outfits, make sure you are wearing comfortable tops that allow for easy breastfeeding. Shirts should have quick access but still be comfortable and in a breathable fabric. Cotton t-shirts are perfect but take note of the décor on the tee. I wore a shirt that was decorated with glitter and my baby was coated with sparkles within an hour! Bring a second top in the diaper bag, just in case you need to change mid-day.
Breastfeed Wherever You Want!
Even though your baby will have to nurse throughout the day, breastfeeding should not put a damper on your vacation. Work the nursing breaks into your day. While you sit and feed the baby, this allows everyone in the family to also rest. Have a snack, look at the map, and plan your next stop! If you take Baby in to the Baby Care Center, have the rest of your family use this time to ride something nearby. Use the downtime to your advantage and everyone, including Baby, will have a magical vacation!