Now this has been bugging me for a while. And after seeing a friend last week faced with a similar image to the one below when she took her 2 week old to the zoo I was appauled.
So the background, last time I visited chessington it was lashing it down with rain and I wanted somewhere dry to feed my baby. Customer services suggestion? The toilets, now all breastfeeding mothers will know my reaction to that! They then said maybe the first aid centre. In the end we were so soaking wet and pissed off we headed straight home and fed in the car before leaving.
Cut to today I figured I’d give their suggestion of the first aid centre a try. I knocked politely on door and a young chap answered.
Me: hi, I’m looking for somewhere to breastfeed and was told I could in here?
Him: oh well we don’t usually allow that as we’re for medical emergencies, there’s a changing room just next door in the toilet block.
Me: does it have a chair?
Him: I think so.
Me: is it clean?
Him: it should be
Me: is it an ideal place to breastfeed?
Him: I don’t know really.
This is what I came across.
Now excusing the fact that there was no lock on the door so had I wanted privacy I wouldn’t have been able to get it the chair was right next to a bin in a freezing cold room. Not ideal! Off to cafe Nero we tottered for some daddies to get a nice eyeful of boob.
Now what annoys me most about this situation is that 30 minutes away is Legoland. Legoland and Chessington are owned by the same company, Merlin. At Legoland they have got the mother and baby experience bang on! They have a ‘baby centre’ this consists of clean changing facilities, room for buggys, three spacious cubicles with soft comfortable chairs to feed in and a toilet large enough to fit a buggy in. Me and moo love going in there for 20 minutes to escape all the distractions of the park and enjoy a quality feed in comfort and warmth.
Now why can’t the same company provide something similar down the road at their other ‘family’ park? I have a feeling it is because the baby centre at Legoland was probably there before Merlin brought it and so it’s not something they have done, but surely they have seen the success of it?! Every time we go to Legoland there are always mums in the cubicles or changing nappies in there, it’s being used! So why not have one at chessington too?
So go on, would you feed your baby in the above facility?