Sunday, April 1, 2012

Crunchy Disney Ma’s Favorite Places to Nurse at Disney World

Lately, there has been a lot of media attention over a women’s right to breastfeed her baby anywhere she wants, with nurse-ins staged at numerous businesses and government offices.  You will be happy to know that no one will complain and send you to the nearest restroom (eww!) if you nurse your little one anywhere on Disney property! 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a great set of boobs, but I’m not game for sharing them with the world, whether I’m nursing or not. It’s just an issue of modesty for me.  (For the same reason, you won’t find any photos of me nursing in this post.) There are tons of innovative covers and wraps for mothers to buy or make, and I suggest taking at least one with you if for nothing else but shielding your child from the sun, or for extra warmth inside chilly restaurants.

You can nurse anywhere on Disney property.  It’s a great opportunity pay attention to all of the fabulous Disney details while nourishing your child. These are my favorite places because they are cool, comfortable, and convenient.  If you are bottle feeding, these places will work very well for you, too!

All Parks: Baby Care Centers – I’m pretty sure I talk about these in every post that relates to small children.  There is one in every park; I wish there were more!  Find them on a map prior to arrival. They are one of the best kept secrets at Disney World.  They are air conditioned, private nursing rooms here that are quiet and well kept.  Problem is, most are near the entrance, and if you’ve ventured your way to the back of the park, it just isn’t convenient to make the trek all the way back to the front.  However, if you are nearby, take advantage. 

She really likes the TTA PeopleMover
Magic Kingdom: Carousel of Progress – “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow…” will be stuck in your head until you ride “it’s a small world,” but it’s certainly worth it if you need to stop and breastfeed.  I can never get enough of seeing how much the world has changed over time.  The animatronics and set details are awesome to see no matter how many times you’ve seen it.  It’s quite dark, air conditioned and the hum of carousel turning is sure to put your little one to sleep when they’ve had enough milk.

There are too many honorable mentions at Magic Kingdom to mention.  I just love sitting around, here!  Some attractions I routinely nurse on including, Haunted Mansion, Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, Mickey’s Philharmagic, and Hall of Presidents.  Carousel of Progress gets higher marks because there is usually no wait, the show at least 20 minutes, it won’t distract the baby, and stroller parking isn’t a mile away.

Sleeping after Spaceship Earth
Epcot: Spaceship Earth – Even though your ride vehicle’s position changes during the course of the ride, it isn’t too much to handle if you’re an established breastfeeder.  Again, there isn’t usually a long wait, stroller parking is nearby and others in your party have something to do (enjoy the attraction) while you are nursing.  There isn’t a whole lot to distract the baby’s attention away from his/her meal, just be sure you aren’t trying to establish a good latch when the camera takes your picture.  Honorable mention at Epcot is Living with the Land.  The cool breeze and soothing boat ride are sure to leave your little one in a milk coma.  This only works if you listen to your baby’s hunger cues, and park the stroller early enough to get inside and wait in line before the crying ensues.   Also worth mentioning are the many quiet spots all over World Showcase.  There are benches aplenty.  My favorite spots in the World Showcase are Canada and Morocco.

Animal Kingdom: Wildlife Express Train – Located in the African village of Harambee, The Wildlife Express Train is about twelve minutes long.  Grab a seat on the back row & start nursing while you take in the scenery en route to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.  You get to see some of the “behind the scenes” work going on at Animal Kingdom, something that’s always appealing to me.  I’m not a big fan of the Planet Watch itself; we usually stay on the train and ride back to Harambee.  Sometimes the wait time to get on board isn’t worth it.  You could easily find a bench nearby nurse and burp the baby before the train gets into the station.  If you can walk right on, it’s totally worth the ride.  Honorable mention at Animal Kingdom goes to any one of the many benches, especially those on the Discovery Island Trails.

Happy Baby, Happy Mommy!
Hollywood Studios: Character Meet & Greet Area, outside the Animation Academy – Right after you leave “Disney Junior – Live On Stage,” leave your stroller parked in the courtyard and walk through the Animation Gallery shop and into the character meet and greet area, outside the Animation Academy.  If you have folks in your group that enjoy drawing, like the folks in my group do, send them off to the class while you grab a bench along the wall, get comfortable, and nurse.  Keep in mind that this area is high traffic, but if you are discreet, and I believe you should be, no one will pay a bit of attention to you because they are too busy playing with the animation themed, touch screen activities, or waiting to take photos with the Incredibles or maybe even Sorcerer Mickey.  I’ve even nursed here while my husband stood in line, waiting for Mickey.  By the time I was finished, it was our turn for a brief visit the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, himself!  Sorry, no honorable mentions here.  Even though there are a few things for the little ones to do, I think this park primarily attracts thrill seekers.  The number of available benches or cool spots with seating is limited.

Remember, Daddy needs quality time, too!
Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club: Swings on the beach – With a front row seat to sand, water and excellent views of Disney’s Boardwalk, these swings are a wonderful place to put your feet in the sand and feel the gentle breeze off the water while you nurse.  Folks travelling with you have lots to explore nearby, so they aren’t bored.  Just bring a towel to get the sand off your feet afterwards and remember not to get into the water. I’ve gone here before and after breakfast at Cape May Café and it is wonderful.  This spot is my absolute favorite spot, just for its serenity value, but this location may not be on everyone’s “Places To Visit” list.

Place I avoid…

Parades:  It just isn’t safe to sit on a Main Street curb and try to accomplish this nearly impossible feat.  We all love a good Disney parade, but there’s just too much noise and commotion to make sure baby gets a good latch.  Grumpy but curious is what your baby will be if you try to attempt this.  Unless you’re baby wearing, it’s also downright uncomfortable to try and nurse standing up. 

Downtown Disney:  We usually only spend a half day in Downtown Disney, and unless we were in a restaurant, nursing here was just painfully awkward.  Benches are few and far between, and they usually are not in shaded areas.  There is a spot right outside Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop that has round tables with umbrellas that face the water; that’s about as comfortable as you can get…if you can call that comfortable.

Attraction Exit Areas: Even though it's a good spot to catch your party after they've left a ride you can't take the baby on (remember to use Rider Swap), they are much too busy, noisy and crowded to try to breastfeed a child. Pick a designated meeting area that's comfortable for you and baby before your group splits up and then trade your finally full little one for a seat on Tower of Terror!

Stay crunchy!

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