Nursing in the Parks

by Adrienne Krock, staff writer
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Those of us who regularly visit the Disney theme parks often field a number of questions from friends and family. This week’s question came from a Facebook conversation among some young moms and soon-to-be-moms Where are the most comfortable and inconspicuous places to nurse? Our Parenting Panel answers apply no matter how you’re feeding your babies:

Jen, also known as *Nala*, is an engineer, a Disney fan, and a MouseAdventure fanatic. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two future MouseAdventurers, ages 11 months and 2 1/2 years. Jen writes:

Babies get hungry, even at the Happiest Place on Earth. For breastfeeding moms, spending a day at the parks with our little ones, it's good to keep a few comfortable and convenient places in mind to feed the baby.

I've found three types of locations in Disney parks for nursing babies: Baby Care Centers, benches or chairs, and attractions. While I've used all of these on occasion, each has its definite advantages and disadvantages.

Baby Care Centers: In my opinion, Disney's Baby Care Centers are by far the nicest and easiest places to nurse a baby in the parks. They are quiet, air conditioned, and staffed by friendly and helpful cast members. The nursing rooms are reserved for moms and babies only, so they are the best option if you're concerned about privacy.

Since my first baby preferred bottles to nursing, I've also had to use a pump at the Baby Care Centers. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure have separate curtained areas for moms to pump. The Walt Disney World parks send pumping moms into the main nursing rooms, so I usually turned a chair around to face the wall in this situation.

While the Baby Care Centers are great, the disadvantage is that there is only one in each park. As we all know, Disney parks are big, and babies don't always get hungry on a convenient schedule. With that in mind, that leads me to the next location…

Benches and Chairs: Park benches have the advantage of convenience. Unless you find yourself on a parade route at 3 p.m., you can almost always find a spot on a bench. However, in my opinion, this is the least comfortable—and least private—option. The few times I've nursed on a park bench I've used a nursing cover, though your comfort level may vary.

While I've never had the occasion to try it, I have always thought the big comfy chairs in the lobby of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa would be a great place to nurse a baby.

Attractions: There are a lot of options for nursing on attractions throughout the Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts. In general, I look for an attraction that is long enough, quiet and calm, and can provide some level of privacy. I have nursed a baby on "it's a small world" and Pirates of the Caribbean (after the drops!). For both rides I asked for the back row when I knew I planned to feed the baby. I did find this worked best with a younger baby, because as my daughter got older she became much more easily distracted on a ride

While I've only used a few attractions for nursing, I can think of several others that would fit all of my criteria. At the Disneyland Resort, these include the Disneyland Railroad, Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, and the Animation Room at Disney California Adventure. At Walt Disney World I'd be comfortable nursing in the Hall of Presidents, Country Bear Jamboree, Carousel of Progress, The American Adventure, Impressions de France, Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, Wildlife Express Train, and Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Each breastfeeding mother has her own comfort level with nursing in public locations. Fortunately, Disney Parks provide moms with plenty of options for just about any situation.

Chris, also known as GusMan, is always planning his next family trip to the Walt Disney World Resort and loves to help others plan their trips, as well sharing his experiences. Chris writes:

Like many other details, Disney has moms and little ones taken care of. The thing is that people without infants might never know about some of the fantastic cast members that staff the Baby Care Center at each park. This turned out to be my wife’s all time favorite place to take a break and take care of our son’s needs.

Not only were there quiet, private places for nursing, but also places to change diapers, use the restroom, and grab a drink of water. Not to mention, they have a small store fully stocked with anything you might need, or might have forgotten, to take care of your child. She even reminded me about one time where she entered the Baby Care Center at the Magic Kingdom and the cast member offered to hold our sleeping son while my wife used the restroom. It was a small detail that meant a lot to my wife.

Other places where my wife nursed our son during his infant years:

  • Ellen’s Energy Adventure. Since our son could sleep through the louder segments of the attraction, it provided a dark, cool spot for nursing. Sitting in the back of one of the rear ride vehicles seemed to work best for keeping things inconspicuous.
  • Carousel of Progress. A longer attraction that is not too loud that provides a good seating arrangement for tending to your child.
  • Tomorrowland Peoplemover / Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Considering that there may be several empty cars in front of behind you, it may provide a nice ride while getting some privacy as well. For some reason, the constant moving around also lulled my son to sleep at times.
  • Spaceship Earth. Similar to the Peoplemover, the combination of darkness and slow, constant movements tend to work out well for my wife and son.

You might see the general theme of what influenced some of our choices. For us, if going back to the Baby Care Center was not very convenient. Finding a dark, air-conditioned attraction where such a natural activity would not draw too much attention worked out best for my wife and son. The nice part is that there are so many different little secluded resting spots at the parks and even some resorts, there are bound to be choices for moms, and dads alike, to take a break with their child.

Elizabeth, who posts on our MousePad message board as eabaldwin, has been a Disneyland Annual Passholder since 2010. She and her husband have 2 daughters, ages 2.5 and 8 months. Elizabeth writes:

I think the most comfortable place to breastfeed in Disneyland Park is at the Baby Care Center at the end of Main Street near the Corn Dog Cart. When you go in, the nice ladies direct you to a comfy chair to sit where you can feed your baby. They have several chairs, and they also have a place to pump if you ever need to. It is climate controlled, so if it’s too hot outside the Baby Care Center is nice and cool, or vice versa. There is also a Baby Care Center in Disney California Adventure, though there aren’t as many chairs. I have seen mothers recently out in one of the other rooms using covers since there are people coming and going to the diaper changing area. The Baby Care Center in Disneyland Park is the most private place in the parks to breastfeed, in my opinion, and ideal for anyone who may not be comfortable with breastfeeding in public.

Depending on the level of comfort for the mother, just about anywhere can be a good place to feed your baby. There are lots of benches where you can sit, and the bonus is that while your baby eats you can take advantage of the great people-watching at the park. Honestly, there are a few attractions that work really well as well. I fed my older daughter a couple of times on Pirates of the Caribbean before they redid it. (I think the fog/smoke is too stinky now for me to take my little ones on that one anymore.) "it’s a small world" is a good one for smaller babies or ones who aren’t easily distracted. I use a cover when I’m out in public, even on an attraction, because that’s what makes me most comfortable.

Currently, my favorite place to breastfeed my younger daughter is in the Ergobaby carrier. We can walk around and I don’t have to worry about taking the time to sit and feed her. She is covered up and most people just think that she is sleeping. Being able to feed my baby while on the go is key with a 2.5 year old who wants to go see Mickey at his house in ToonTown and then go over to DCA to go on Ariel’s Undersea Adventure.

It's your turn—keep the discussion flowing!

Visit the Parenting in the Parks forum on our MousePad discussion board, and share your opinions about this topic or many others, or send your suggestions via e-mail. Reader-submitted tips might be used in a future article, and you might be selected to participate in an upcoming panel discussion!

Comments

  1. By rfaljean

    I nursed my youngest son at the Tomorrowland Terrace... at the tables near the Matterhorn. Also, the Hungry Bear is a nice place to rest and nurse the baby, especially up top along the deck behind the restaurant.

  2. By AJDerrick

    Also, if you need to pump at DL you can store your pump at the first aid station next to the baby care center.

    Love those ladies at the baby care building, they were all so sweet!

  3. By 3Princesses1Prince

    I nursed in the Tiki Room and maybe even on POTC. It's dark, I was in the back, and it was my 3rd baby so I was a pro at that point. I also think I nursed in the animation building.

  4. By currence

    So much to add to this section!

    My son was super easy. He quit nursing (probably too early) and switched to room temperature bottles. We could start the day with a few bottles pre-filled with water, add pre-measured formula as needed, and feed on the go. Even though we knew better, it was easy to assume that all kids were that easy. We wondered why other parents seemed so fussed.

    Then we had our daughter. She nursed for much longer and was very opinionated about how she wanted to be fed. I distinctly remember a time when she was hungry but rejected the bottle because the temperature wasn't to her liking. My sister (who had three kids of her own) was astonished that after we warmed it up even more she sucked it down like there was no tomorrow. Even if the bottle was warm, if it wasn't warm enough she wanted nothing to do with it. We visited the baby center a lot more with her, using their microwave to get the just right temperatures.

    With a sling and a baby wrap I was willing to nurse anywhere, even when walking. And when she fell asleep I would leave her there covered so really no one needed to know if she was sleeping or nursing. The only time I recall it really coming up was at the baggage check when a (male) CM asked, very timidly, if I had a child under the cover.

    My favorite Disneyland attraction which hasn't been mentioned yet is the alternate viewing for the Nemo Subs. Only once or twice has another party joined our group so most of the time it was just our family, in the relative dark, for 15 minutes of air conditioned nursing, with my husband and son next to us and all of us with something to watch on the screen to keep us entertained. This was my absolute favorite location, even over the baby center - because only moms are allowed in there and there is nothing to do (though I did really like the rockers).

  5. By adriennek

    Quote Originally Posted by currence View Post
    This was my absolute favorite location, even over the baby center - because only moms are allowed in there and there is nothing to do (though I did really like the rockers).

    I nursed three babies at Disneyland and each nursed for 13 months or so. I nursed in the Baby Care Center exactly ONCE. I hated it. I hated being alone. I had plenty of alone time to bond with my babies when we weren't at Disneyland. When I was at Disneyland, I wanted to be WITH my family and friends, not stuck alone in a dark corner of Baby Care Center.

    It's great for people who need that atmosphere. But I hated it.

  6. By *Nala*

    Quote Originally Posted by currence View Post
    My favorite Disneyland attraction which hasn't been mentioned yet is the alternate viewing for the Nemo Subs. Only once or twice has another party joined our group so most of the time it was just our family, in the relative dark, for 15 minutes of air conditioned nursing, with my husband and son next to us and all of us with something to watch on the screen to keep us entertained. This was my absolute favorite location, even over the baby center - because only moms are allowed in there and there is nothing to do (though I did really like the rockers).

    That is a great idea! Hopefully my daughter will be weaned by the time we go to Disneyland again but if not I will have to remember that one.

    And I do agree Baby Care isn't that exciting, but I came to prefer it just because it was a known quantity... I knew I could get my squirmy distracted baby fed quickly without flashing the world 8 times.

  7. By 3Princesses1Prince

    Quote Originally Posted by adriennek View Post
    I nursed three babies at Disneyland and each nursed for 13 months or so. I nursed in the Baby Care Center exactly ONCE. I hated it. I hated being alone. I had plenty of alone time to bond with my babies when we weren't at Disneyland. When I was at Disneyland, I wanted to be WITH my family and friends, not stuck alone in a dark corner of Baby Care Center.

    It's great for people who need that atmosphere. But I hated it.

    Yep. The only time I've been in there was to change my son and let my DD use the toddler potties at the same time. Also, if we hadn't been sitting right outside eating corn dogs at the time I probably wouldn't have gone in there in the first place.

  8. By currence

    Quote Originally Posted by adriennek View Post
    I nursed three babies at Disneyland and each nursed for 13 months or so. I nursed in the Baby Care Center exactly ONCE. I hated it. I hated being alone. I had plenty of alone time to bond with my babies when we weren't at Disneyland. When I was at Disneyland, I wanted to be WITH my family and friends, not stuck alone in a dark corner of Baby Care Center.

    It's great for people who need that atmosphere. But I hated it.
    I'm pretty sure that I only used the nursing part of the baby center once also. It wasn't for me, though I'm very glad it exists for those who need it.

    Quote Originally Posted by *Nala* View Post
    And I do agree Baby Care isn't that exciting, but I came to prefer it just because it was a known quantity... I knew I could get my squirmy distracted baby fed quickly without flashing the world 8 times.

    This is what Baby covers are for. When my sister bought me a "hooter hider" I wasn't sure what to make of it. But after two kids I came to the opinion that if while using it I still accidentally flashed someone - it was their problem.

  9. By nbaum

    I only liked nursing in the baby center when it was really hot outside and once my son got older. It was also nice when I knew he was ready for a nap, it was easier for him to fall asleep in there while nursing. I loved the changing tables in there though.

  10. By *Nala*

    Quote Originally Posted by currence View Post
    This is what Baby covers are for. When my sister bought me a "hooter hider" I wasn't sure what to make of it. But after two kids I came to the opinion that if while using it I still accidentally flashed someone - it was their problem.

    I have one and loved it up until my daughter was around 8 months old and started fighting it every time I used it. Now I only use it when I don't have a good other option, like on the airplane. Totally agree that if someone is still offended, they are looking to get offended and really need a better hobby.

  11. By Drince88

    Quote Originally Posted by *Nala* View Post
    Totally agree that if someone is still offended, they are looking to get offended and really need a better hobby.

    As a non-Mom, I totally agree with this!!

    I even told the mother of the 4 month old sitting next to me on the plane that she didn't need to use the light blanket she had for my benefit.

  12. By jmb910

    I liked nursing on the trains. It was a long enough ride that I could nurse and let them sleep for a bit, and I was still able to be on something that moved .

    I always used a cover, but my theory is, "If you are looking, then it's a free show."

  13. By codewoman

    I didn't use a cover. The baby and my clothing covered everything. And I was good at starting/stopping without flashing anyone. I did nurse on BART but not every ride. The kids were usually too entertained or asleep to want to eat.

  14. By danyoung

    I wanted to contribute to this thread from the viewpoint of a single mid-50's guy (not that I'm typical or anything). I'm one of those who intellectually knows that it's healthy and natural and blah-blah-blah. Yet at the same time I'm very uncomfortable with a mom who whips one out near me, even when it's covered up. I know I should be in support of the beautiful and natural and necessary thing, but the reality still freaks me out a bit. I was sitting in the audience at the Finding Nemo musical a few months ago, when a mom right next to me started feeding her child. Sorry to be such a neanderthal, but it really ruined the show for me. I'm not at all saying that I was right and she was wrong - I'm just stating the reality of the situation.

    So all I'm really saying is that you moms might want to be a bit cautious - not everyone out there can experience this like an adult should.

  15. By adriennek

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    I was sitting in the audience at the Finding Nemo musical a few months ago, when a mom right next to me started feeding her child. Sorry to be such a neanderthal, but it really ruined the show for me. I'm not at all saying that I was right and she was wrong - I'm just stating the reality of the situation.

    So all I'm really saying is that you moms might want to be a bit cautious - not everyone out there can experience this like an adult should.

    Just to be fair, you had a choice - you didn't have to stay and watch the show with the mom sitting next to you feeding a child: You could've left. And I'm not at all saying that you were right or wrong to feel the way you did - but you did have a choice, too.

  16. By cstephens

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    Yet at the same time I'm very uncomfortable with a mom who whips one out near me, even when it's covered up.
    Maybe if you tried to stop viewing it as "whipping one out" when a mother is just trying to feed her child, that might make a difference in you being uncomfortable with "it".


    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    I was sitting in the audience at the Finding Nemo musical a few months ago, when a mom right next to me started feeding her child. Sorry to be such a neanderthal, but it really ruined the show for me.
    I have to say that I'm really amazed at this. I've had shows ruined for me because someone is being loud or obnoxious or something else like that, but simply because a woman is breastfeeding? Wow.


    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    So all I'm really saying is that you moms might want to be a bit cautious - not everyone out there can experience this like an adult should.

    Here's my advice to the moms out there - keep feeding your child no matter how many neanderthals are in your vicinity.



    I always laugh when people say they don't want to see even a glimpse of a woman's breast if she's breastfeeding. Here's a hint - if you don't want to see her breast - STOP STARING AT HER BREAST.

  17. By danyoung

    Quote Originally Posted by cstephens View Post
    MayI've had shows ruined for me because someone is being loud or obnoxious or something else like that, but simply because a woman is breastfeeding? Wow.
    Yup - that's exactly what I'm saying. The entire situation became not about the show but about what was happening 2 feet to my left.

    I always laugh when people say they don't want to see even a glimpse of a woman's breast if she's breastfeeding. Here's a hint - if you don't want to see her breast - STOP STARING AT HER BREAST.

    You don't seem to get it. I'm not staring at anything. But I'm aware that the feeding is going on just a few feet away from me, and I'm not comfortable with it. Again, I'm not saying she was wrong in any way. But it's just a simple fact that there are those out there, myself included, who are not OK with breastfeeding happening just anywhere anytime. And I know I need to get over myself and deal with it. That doesn't change the fact that the situation bothered me.

  18. By adriennek

    Breastfeeding is legally protected in both Florida and California. The wording of both laws is nearly identical in the legislation of both states:

    "A mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present (California Civil Code 43.3)"

    "A mother may breast feed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether or not the nipple of the mother’s breast is covered during or incidental to the breast feeding. (Fla. Stat. Ann. 383.015)"

    I'm trying to think of why a mother would need to be cautious about doing something completely healthy, safe, and legal, because someone else might be bothered by it. It seems to me that the burden of removing oneself from the situation, or of "dealing with it" would be on the person who is uncomfortable.

    Also just stating the reality of the situation.

    Edited to add because you were posting as I was composing:

    Which was it - was she right next to you or 2 feet to the left of you? Not that it changes anything - you can be uncomfortable about it. I'm uncomfortable with not being able to breastfeed anytime anywhere. Legally, my position is protected.

  19. By cstephens

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    The entire situation became not about the show but about what was happening 2 feet to my left.
    Unbelievable.


    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    You don't seem to get it. I'm not staring at anything.

    Oh, I get it. That comment wasn't directed at your particular situation.

  20. By bennette

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    But it's just a simple fact that there are those out there, myself included, who are not OK with breastfeeding happening just anywhere anytime. And I know I need to get over myself and deal with it. That doesn't change the fact that the situation bothered me.

    I would like to say I'm speechless. But the reality is I can't think of an allowable way to post the many things that went through my mind reading your post.

    I guess I'll second "unbelievable." I'm pretty much terrified of small babies and all their related messy issues but even I know that in any decent society their needs come before mine. End of discussion.

  21. By adriennek

    Ok. I'm back. I'll try to stay away longer next time but I have to add this part:

    Finding Nemo Musical (forgive my foggy memory, it's been 3 years since I saw it,)

    LOTS of singing.
    AMAZING costumes and puppetry.
    DANCING - not just on stage but in and among the audience.


    Pretty much a Disney Musical Stage Spectacular.

    And then 2 feet away is a mom sitting quietly nursing a child.

    I'm really not seeing how it would be unreasonable to expect the show to be able to hold people's attention. Or how a mother should've presumed that sitting in her seat nursing a child would compete with THE FINDING NEMO MUSICAL for attention.

    I mean, the whole health, safe, legal thing aside.

  22. By danyoung

    I'll just make one post without extensive quoting, as this is turning out to be just the way I thought it was going to be. I'm not asking anyone to agree with me. I'm just stating my opinion and the facts of what happened and how I felt about it. Adrienne, 2 feet to my left was right next to me. I'm not sure what your point is here. She was seated to my left, with no one else in between.

    I understand the legality of the situation, and I support it - really, I do. I'm simply trying to express the opinion that there may be some discomfort by some. In the example given it obviously wasn't a bad enough vibe to get me to get up and move, although maybe I should have if I was that uncomfortable. Perhaps my discomfort is caused by my being single in my mid-50's and rarely having been around a breastfeeding mom.

    cstephens, sorry you find my statements unbelievable. I'm not trying to be confrontational or rude here - just expressing what I felt at the time. And again I'm not saying that the mom involved was wrong in any way. She was certainly protected by law. I just wanted to point out that breastfeeding is such a personal thing, and while the law says you can do it anywhere it may not always be best to do so.

  23. By cstephens

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    And again I'm not saying that the mom involved was wrong in any way.

    Nope, you haven't actually said it. But you certainly keep implying it.

  24. By adriennek

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    And again I'm not saying that the mom involved was wrong in any way. ----SNIP---- I just wanted to point out that ----SNIP---- it may not always be best to do so.

    I just want to point out that your statement is wrong and I'm not going to pretend to imply otherwise.

    Again, if you are uncomfortable with someone nursing a child, you are entirely welcome to leave the situation.

    Why in the world should the MOM have to stop or leave because YOU are uncomfortable!?!?!?!??

  25. By Toocherie

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    Yet at the same time I'm very uncomfortable with a mom who whips one out near me, even when it's covered up.

    Personally, I found this statement offensive. I haven't been around a lot of breastfeeding moms, but I've never felt like the ones I have been around have "whipped one out" in order to feed their child. No pun intended--but they are not intending to be titillating and it's sounding to me like that was the issue for you--or am I misreading your concerns?

  26. By *Nala*

    Not much to add that hasn't already been said, but as one of the contributors to the original article and a mom of two breastfed-till-one-year babies, well of course I have an opinion on this.

    Most moms breastfeed at least a little while. Many of those nurse in public at least once. I am pretty sure that "whipping it out" is the farthest thing from our minds when we do so, and believe me, we aren't doing this for OUR benefit. (I realize that some moms find breastfeeding a beautiful and magical experience, but it wasn't that way for me.) We are simply using the quickest and most effective way that we know to calm down a hungry / unhappy / uncomfortable / tired baby.

    We just returned from a cross country trip. On nearly every flight I found myself nursing my 1 year old baby for 20-30 minutes to get her to calm down and go to sleep, and by "nursing" I mean "she chewed on me for half an hour", as she doesn't take a pacifier. She fights the nursing cover, so anyone who was trying to see anything could have probably been offended or uncomfortable. My husband could have gotten her to sleep by rocking her instead, but with about 20 minutes of screaming. Would that be preferable? (And not having been there, I am guessing that was the choice of the woman in the Finding Nemo show - feed her baby or let her baby cry. Yes, she could have left the show, but why should she? You know as well as I do how long you have to wait to see the show, and there is no reason she should have to miss it because someone else was not comfortable with her choice of perfectly safe and legal activity.)

    In two years of breastfeeding / pumping, without getting too graphic, I've been very sore, dehydrated, and exhausted. I've been walked in on in a locked office and had others try to get into locked rooms I've used. I've pumped in a restroom and fed a baby in a (non-Disney) fairly unclean theme park baby care center. None of this was for my personal benefit. Every single time this was because I felt it was the best thing for my baby. I would do it again in a second.

    So I'm sorry that I don't have really a whole lot of sympathy for anyone who is uncomfortable around breastfeeding.

  27. By Simba0614

    If you don't have functioning mammary glands, you really don't have the ability to voice a negative opinion in this matter. You have the absolute right to be offended and to say so, but, as I'm sure you're seeing, everyone else has the absolute right to respond. When this country gets over the fact that women have breasts and that they have a use other than to amuse middle-aged men in the pages of Playboy, we'll all be better off. Seriously? Breastfeeding actually happens and women actually have the right to do it.

  28. By AJDerrick

    Based on Dan's posts, I don't see that he reacted to the situation in any way. If that's the case, I want to say this:

    Thank you. Thank you for not sneering/glaring/pish-ing or making comments about how inappropriate you felt it was or how uncomfortable you were. Thank you for leaving her alone. Thank you for not drawing attention to her. Thank you for allowing her to do what she needed to for her child.

    I don't agree with the feelings Dan had--but he is certainly free to have them. I'm just saying thanks for not voicing them in the moment and putting that mom in an uncomfortable spot. I know that no matter how I feed my baby someone, somewhere, has an opinion on it. I appreciate those who don't shove those opinions in my face.

  29. By 3Princesses1Prince

    Quote Originally Posted by AJDerrick View Post
    I know that no matter how I feed my baby someone, somewhere, has an opinion on it. I appreciate those who don't shove those opinions in my face.

    I second this. And my only issue with Dans opinion is suggesting moms think twice about where they feed their baby. Moms have enough pressure to BF or bottle feed to appease whomever decided to voice their opinion that day. It's opinions like those that discourage moms from doing what they feel its best, whatever that may be. It's a personal choice and comfort, and shouldn't be contingent on other people's level of comfort.

  30. By leota's necklace

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post

    So all I'm really saying is that you moms might want to be a bit cautious - not everyone out there can experience this like an adult should.

    Trust me, dan, every woman in the world is quite used to creepers sexualizing their most mundane behavior.

    We're also used to shouldering the blame for other people's inappropriate feelings.
    But thanks for looking out.

  31. By GusMan

    Also as one of the contributors to the article, I believe that this is one of those choices where the mother has to take into consideration more than just what suits them - or those around them. It really is about tending to the needs of the child. For Mrs. GusMan and GusJr, they both preferred to be in darker, cooler spots (being that it was summer) that just so happened to not draw any excess attention to themselves. But the truth of the matter is - that is more about how my son nursed the best, and it still made my wife, who by nature is a very modest person, feel comfortable in doing so.

    Being that there are probably hundreds of nursing children at the parks on a daily basis, my own personal observation is that many/most mothers nurse in such a way, or in such locations, where it is pretty much not noticeable to most guests.

    When my wife and or I see a nursing mom, it triggers a brief stroll down memory lane, as in "Remember when our son used to do that during his first Disney trip?..." We smile and move on.

  32. By fdcmp

    [QUOTE=MousePlanet AutoPoster;1773479]Nursing in the Parks by Adrienne Krock
    The Parenting Panel offers suggestions for feeding infants in Disney theme parks.

    I developed significant experience handling breast milk in the Parks and thought to pass on some pointers. Using these processes, I was able to take my infant daughter to Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom, just she and Dad, fed 100% breast milk!

    My daughter (now nearly 2) was 100% breast-fed for the first year, including over 2 months where I was on the road solo (without her mom/my wife/breast milk provider) at WDW, DL, and in Hawaii. And (don't hold this against me) I'm a nearly-50, married first-time father with baby but no functional mammary glands to whip out (I wish I did given THESE logistics), so a frozen breast milk supply chain was a necessary evil for me. I must make clear that I am not providing medical advice--consult a doctor or healthcare professional before adopting any breast milk handling practice.

    As with any supply chain, there are certain critical links that drive decisions far removed from the critical link. I will try to present our process and tips in a logical order, but bear in mind that certain decisions are driven by necessities later in the chain.

    1) Milk Capture
    Medical reasons forced us to pump 100% (alas my daughter only nursed naturally exactly twice). We were fortunate in having, early on, a pumping rate twice what were consuming, so freezing was an integral part of the supply chain, in Lansinoh rectangular bags (see later comment). To minimize space and facilitate handing, we deliberately underfilled them so that when frozen, they'd be only about 12-13cm thick, would represent 1-2 bottles max, and if spoiled, would not be a catastrophic loss. I called them "Milksicles".
    - Freeze them absolutely flat or in groups of 3-4 so that they stack tightly next to each other (we used hard plastic ice packs as weights and a plastic food storage container as a mold).

    2) Milk Pre-Transport
    You may not be aware that even a dedicated freezer is not very cold, compared to DRY ICE. DRY ICE IS SUPER, SUPER, SUPER COLD.
    If you need to transport a lot of frozen breast milk, the best thing to do is to take it down to (almost) cryogenic temperatures because it then needs a whole lot more time and heat to become liquid again (which you don't want to happen on a long trip!)
    - Dry Ice is DANGEROUS to handle, and displaces oxygen. Read all warnings and consult use and handling instructions from Dry Ice suppliers.
    - Dry Ice (DI) is both a source of freezing and a coolant for temperature maintenance. To reduce DI consumption during transport, take (home freezer) frozen milk down cryogenic BEFORE flying or driving.
    - Use professional equipment to freeze and transport: Foam cooler in purpose-made cardboard box. Airlines take this packaging all the time, while routinely rejecting most others (including hardside coolers, which shatter at cryo temperatures). My favorite brand is Pro-Pak (http://www.propakproducts.com/) available from packaging distributors everywhere; though it may seem backwards, my Orlando supplier of dry ice is a great source for them.
    - Dry ice tends to come in 10x10x3 blocks (e.g. a flat rectangle) so buy the large rectangular packaging that opens on the rectangular top, not the ones (used for lobsters and whole fish) that open on the small end.
    - Break up large shipments across two or more packages, so that if one fails or is lost, you don't lose everything.
    - Pack coolers tightly, but with a space approx. 3" above the milksicles to accommodate the block of DI AND allow the cooler to tightly close. Put groups of milksicles in freezer-grade non-slider zipper quart bags, or twist-tie plastic bags, to contain liquid should there be a coolant failure.
    - If there's room, put a couple of disposable diapers folded backward inside the cooler, under the milksicles or in any remaining space alongside the milksicles. This is called a 'scavenge" and will capture liquid in case of coolant failure.
    - At least 12 hours before transport, load up the cooler-boxes with milksicles, top with a full block of DI, and let the combination freeze down. This takes the milk down to the temperature of DI, so the DI you load in just before transport won't have to.


    3) Milk Transport
    - Most airlines take Dry Ice every day, though the amount in each box, and the amount on a given flight, is limited and varies by carrier. Delta, Southwest, and Alaska Airlines have transported on our flights, two cooler-boxes with 5 lb. each of dry ice. Most airlines will NOT take wet ice in any form. Check with your airline in advance.
    - Fedex and UPS will take DI packages, but charge a hefty surcharge and some stations may reject Human Breast Milk if you don't have organ transport paperwork on file with them. Fly your milk, don't ship it.
    - Ticket counter personnel frequently confuse pounds and kilograms. 5 lbs. is roughly 2.2 kgs, and I have had to insist that check-in personnel re-read the Dry Ice page to see that 2.2 is KILOGRAMS, not pounds.
    - The ticket counter will always place their airline's approved dry ice label on each box; make sure you see them do this.
    - Check the weight of dry ice using your baggage scale just before releasing it to the airline.
    - Conspicuously label you boxes so that the airline and TSA can handle and inspect the packages properly. I printed labels with our name and phone numbers, and in 2" type, "DRY ICE FROZEN HUMAN BREAST MILK".
    - TSA MUST open and inspect DI packages, but we've never had a problem. If you fail to declare the dry ice, the CTX scanner will ALWAYS catch it and your shipment will be destroyed, so never, NEVER attempt to sneak DI onto a plane.
    - Airlines MUST place DI packages in the ventilated hold, away from pets to prevent suffocation when the DI sublimates back to Carbon Dioxide gas. Keep this in mind if you are driving and not flying--do not place the boxes next to the air conditioning intake at the back of a minivan or next to a child or pet, and set the air conditioning to bring in outside air.
    - Do not put the boxes on hot surfaces, like in the trunk above the car's exhaust. Ideally, stack the boxes on one another.
    - If the cooler/boxes are kept tightly closed, don't panic if your bags are lost or delayed. Cryogenically-frozen breast milk has incredible frozen-state endurance. I once had a box delayed a whole day; when I finally got it, the DI was all gone, but the contents were still wholly and solidly frozen.
    - If your DI runs out, don't panic. Don't put wet ice in the coolers until the milksicles start to soften, because wet ice is MUCH warmer than cryogenic milksicles.
    - Do not send DI to your room through Disney's baggage transfer--treat it as medically necessary, like an ECV. Claim it as conventional checked baggage, and have Disney's Magical Express (DME) carry it in the bus' baggage cans (below the seats).

    4) Milk Handling at Hotel
    - Choose a cool, carpeted spot on the floor to put the cooler-boxes, and use this spot for the entire visit, because that spot of floor will get very cold. Put a towel on top of the carpet (or a box of disposable diapers) before putting the boxes on the floor to further insulate them. Keep the boxes stacked, if you have more than one; stacking reduces the surface area that absorbs heat and defrosts your milk.
    - Move milksicles to the hotel freezer or a wet-ice cooler well in advance of serving. Cryogenic milk takes awhile to defrost. You'll eventually get into a daily production cycle and learn how much to take from cryo to freezer to refrigerator.
    - Keep any milk you have that you don't think you'll serve in cryo, if you possibly can, by adding DI every day or two. It keeps better and eliminates a temperature cycle. I had milk go to Disneyland with me, turn around, and go all the way back home, in cryo.
    - Defrost milksicles 1) in a new, clean plastic bag, 2) standing in a drinking glass or plastic food container. MILK FREEZING BAGS FAIL. We had a whole batch of Lansinoh bags pinhole in exactly the same place due to a manufacturing defect, something you don't find out until you defrost. Defrosting in a clean plastic bag permitted us to recover milk that leaked through the pinhole.
    - Keep your cooler-boxes in the case that you have milk to bring back home with you (including any you pump in the parks).

    5) Milk Handling In Park
    - We opted to pour slushy milksicles into service bottles at the hotel, and carry the slushy bottles with an ice pack in a softside cooler into the parks. The slushy milk stayed cold longer, important in hot summer weather.
    - Do not cryogenically freeze baby bottles. They shatter.
    - You can use cryogenic milksicles as a coolant for your milk bottles, but bear in mind that it is SO cold that it will often re-freeze the milk in the bottles.
    - We opted to serve milk pumped at the hotel or in the park immediately, when possible.

    As for warming, sorry I have no experience. My daughter "ran hot" until she was about 18 months old, and actually preferred cold breast milk over warmed milk. To this day, when she wants to drink her half-and-half (she's on a high-calorie diet), she specifically asks for "cold milk please".


    In the near future, I will post a followup to my own message with suppliers of Dry Ice that I used in Anaheim, Orlando, and all the way up and down the California I-5 corridor. In the mean time, if you have questions about Cryogenic Breast Milk Supply Chain, do post a Reply quoting this message. I also will comment separately on my experiences supporting my wife's breast pumping while on Disney vacations, and our breast milk experiences with the new TSA BLS (bottled liquid scanner).

  33. By leota's necklace

    Holy moly. That post was awesome and fascinating. SCIENCE!

  34. By codewoman

    Quote Originally Posted by leota's necklace View Post
    Holy moly. That post was awesome and fascinating. SCIENCE!

    This.

  35. By fdcmp

    Nancy/THpoohbear please clear your private message space, and send me a fresh private message, so I can reply to you directly.

    The question arose about flying breast milk without an accompanying passenger. When no one is flying with material regardless of what it is, it's *cargo*, period. Doesn't matter what it is, no pax, cargo rules apply.

    After a terrorist incident in the mid-90s, increasingly tighter and seemingly circularly-referenced regulations excluding all but "known shippers" went into effect that meant that unless you weren't already an established company shipping with an air carrier, forget about it. As a small business I've tried to open cargo accounts with the major airlines, and unless you can promise tens of thousands of dollars a year in business, they won't even take your calls. Don't waste the time.

    So your options are pretty much FedEx and UPS, but there are about a million ways that such a shipment will never make it, and cost you more than the cost of carriage.

    Many shipping agents (UPS Store, Kinkos Fedex Office) justifiably refuse to ship it because of the lengthy and expensive paperwork, and the likelihood that the shipment will fail anyway. Individual carrier agents in the paperwork chain treat breast milk inconsistently. Someone reviewing paperwork might consider breast milk "human bodily fluids" or "human body parts" which require permits, destroy the package, and send you a sizeable bill from a biohazard disposal company. Others don't care at all and the shipments fly through like frozen steaks and lobsters.

    It will be very expensive (has to go overnight, must be commercially packaged with dry ice, and there are numerous special handling charges). If you are not a medical lab, I'd give it a 10% chance of actually making it. That said, I'd try FedEx over UPS. Go to your local Kinkos (Fedex Office) and just ask the question, see if they are game.

    I have other ideas about how to ship breast milk; send me a private message if you are interested in my opinions.
    Thanks.

  36. By fdcmp

    A quick update on Dry Ice suppliers, if you're flying breast milk on airlines.

    All locations: Call your local store and ASK IF THEY ACTUALLY HAVE ANY. Just because they have the bin for it doesn't mean they get stock year-round, particularly in Florida.

    - In Orlando, Carbonic Group was bought by Airgas. In late 2012 they were still at 1610 S Division Ave near the Amtrak,
    but call first (407) 425-4645. Great source for professional dry ice packaging.
    - Safeway/Vons stores in California and Publix stores in Florida are inconsistent about dry ice, call local store(s).
    - Meijer and Fred Meyer stores consistently have dry ice.
    (amazing, two hypermart chains started by unrelated guys named Fred in totally different parts of the country)
    - Many Smart and Final, and all Cash and Carry stores on the west coast carry dry ice.
    The nearest store to Disneyland is on Euclid Ave (I5 North to Euclid Ave. past Walmart).

    And remember,
    - Dry ice should always travel in styrofoam-in-box. Regular coolers will shatter at dry ice temperatures, and unboxed foam coolers aren't acceptable to airlines.
    - Place baby diapers above and below the load to absorb spills in the case of melting and leakage.

  37. By THpoohbear

    I cleared my box and sent you a message. Thank you! I had no idea my box was full. Sorry 'bout that.

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