Oh, Disneyland. There’s really no place quite like it. As a parent, there’s nothing quite like taking your kids there and seeing their faces light up as they see their favorite movies and characters come to life. It is so much fun! Unless, of course, your child looks like this:
A wee blob who is barely becoming aware of the people in his own life, and who couldn’t care less about characters from animated movies.
A little over a year ago, the stars aligned and my husband and I had the perfect opportunity to take our family on a Disneyland vacation. We were able to take the vacation for a deeply discounted price and it was a chance we didn’t want to pass up. There was just one issue—the not quite three month old exclusively breastfed baby you see in the picture above. To be honest, if we hadn’t gotten such an amazing deal on the vacation cost, there’s not way we would have gone. As excited as I was to take my older kids to Disneyland, I wasn’t looking forward to taking, and feeding, my little nursling on the trip. But guess what? I survived and I had a fantastic time. The trip even helped me overcome one of my biggest fears (nursing in public).
Are you considering taking a nursling on a Disney vacation? Have any worries about how to manage it? Here’s how I did it and how you can too:
1. Visit the Baby Care Center
First things first. Disneyland (as well as California Adventure) has an amazing Baby Care Center. This is a must-visit for any nursing mom, even if you’re comfortable nursing in public. You just need the experience the wonder of the Baby Care Center!
The Baby Care Centers are on your guide maps.
It is noted by the pacifier symbol. I had absolutely NO clue that such a place even existed before this trip!
The Baby Care Center is located right at the end of Main Street, off to the right (if you’re facing the castle).
This is what it looks like.
This restaurant is directly across from it (in case you’re still feeling a little lost).
Just FYI, the California Adventure Baby Care Center is just behind Fillmore’s little hut (he’s the hippie VW microbus).
Now, you should know that the Baby Care Center isn’t just for babies. It is for toddlers and young children, too! Have a newly potty-trained kiddo who has a hard time going on a grown-up potty? You can take advantage of the small toddler toilets here. Have a distractable older baby that needs a high chair and some peace and quiet to eat those purees? Those are here, too. Uh-oh? Did you forget diapers or run out of wipes? Need some extra formula? Or maybe you are a pumper and need a place to pump, or just some way to warm up that chilled milk you’ve been carting around with you. It’s all here! Seriously, you name it, they’ve got it.
So let’s talk about what you’ll find inside the Baby Care Center. First of all, you’ll find peace and quiet as well as air-conditioning! It is pleasantly decorated in keeping with the rest of Main Street (it looks very Victorian-esque inside). You’ll be greeted by an attendant who will help you with whatever you need. As with just about everything in Disneyland, it is extremely well-kept and I felt it was extremely clean. In addition to the other amenities I mentioned earlier, there are changing tables (soft, padded ones with disposable paper on top, rather than what you’ll find in the regular restrooms).
For nursing mothers, there are places where you can nurse privately, comfortably. They’ve created nursing “rooms” with rockers by hanging curtain dividers between the rockers. The nursing rooms are quiet and dim. It is a great place to go if you just need to rock your little nursling to sleep.
There’s my little guy after a visit to the Baby Care Center. The Care Center was seriously the only way I could lull him to sleep while at the park and honestly, spending the time in there nursing him are some of my favorite memories of the the trip!
Now, if you go to Disneyland with a young nursing baby (like mine was), you might decide you don’t want to rush to the Baby Care Center every time he or she wants to eat. Because young nurslings like to eat constantly (or so it seems). But what if you’re nervous to about nursing in public? Good news—Disneyland is the best place to get used to doing it!
I should give you a little of my nursing history: I EP’d (exclusively pumped) with my older two children. By the time #3 came around, I was determined to nurse and ended up with a baby who refused to do anything but! But I was nervous—really nervous—about nursing in public. Not because I had an issue with other women doing it or because I felt like it was wrong or anything like that. It was just a personal hang-up of mine. When we went on our Disney trip, my little one was just a tad younger than three months old and we were just really getting the hang of nursing in general. And I had never nursed in public. But here’s the thing: not nursing in public really restricts what you can do and for how long. So by the time our vacation rolled around, I was ready to gain a little more freedom.
2. Find a way to get set up comfortably
If you’re just getting started nursing in public, it’s good to get a system that you’re happy with. I should mention that I’m most comfortable nursing in public with a blanket. I absolutely don’t have a problem with women who don’t use a cover—but a big part of nursing success depends on the mother’s comfort and for me, being covered makes me more comfortable. If you have support (and hopefully you do!), use it. My hubby was always there to lend a helping hand whenever I needed it. But what ended up working well for me was that I got comfortable just sticking a blanket over my head while I got myself and my sweet babe into position. Did I look kind of ridiculous? Yes. But I found that this was the quickest and easiest way for me to get ready.
3. Nurse on dark/slow/quiet rides
I broke myself in by nursing on rides where I wouldn’t really be noticed. This was the very first ride I nursed on—the giant Ferris wheel in California Adventure. This was the perfect ride to start on, because it was nice and slow and I was alone with just family members in our carriage.
The Ferris Wheel nursing was so convenient that I got hooked on the idea of nursing wherever. I graduated to nursing on the slower, dark boat rides such as It’s a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean.
4. Go for it!
Pretty soon I was comfortable nursing anywhere! Here we are on the Disneyland Railroad. Whenever the little one got hungry, I fed him, regardless of where we were. I really enjoyed our little nursing breaks because it let me slow down and just soak in the sights and sounds of Disneyland rather than just having to rush around everywhere. (Luckily my sweet hubby and other family members were there to step in and take care of my other kids while the littlest one ate.)
One of the things that made this trip and our little nursing adventures so positive was that I had so many women approach me and tell me that they supported me and to keep doing what I was doing. And, as I looked around, I saw lots of other women nursing their infants as well. I left Disneyland feeling a lot more confident than when I went in!
Needless to say, the trip broke me of all my nursing-in-public fears. Since that time I’ve been able to nurse whenever, wherever. Of course my baby is now over a year old and nursing is old hat for us. But I’m so glad that I got used to nursing in public because it opened a whole new world of freedom for me!
So if you’re in a similar situation to this one that I was in last year, don’t let your fears of how will I nurse my constantly feeding baby stop you. You can do it! And what better place to learn to nurse in public than The Happiest Place on Earth?