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Parenting in the Park
Tips and ideas for the traveling family
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Adrienne Krock, editor
Bags, Backpacks, and Feeding a Baby

I'm actually finding it a little difficult these days to stop and write about "how to have a fun vacation with your kids." In the grand scheme of things, it seems rather insignificant. But I know our enemies want to disrupt our lives and hold us captive by our fear. I refuse to surrender.

Mom and Spencer
Mom and Spencer

So, out of respect for our leaders who have encouraged us to move forward and in defiance of those who hate, today I write about one of the most joyful and pure forms of love I have ever experienced: A mother nurturing her child.


Let's start with those diaper bags and backpacks, shall we? A number of readers sent e-mail and messages with their best tips. One friend reminded me of a critical item I neglected to mention: A camera battery! Camera batteries at amusement parks cost a fortune. Be prepared and stick an extra battery in your bag now with those extra rolls of film, lest you get caught unprepared and miss snapping up a precious memory!

Jennifer, a mom with four kids, was full of ideas:

First, I carry some colorful Band-Aids (a safety pin through a corner of the package keeps them tidy, just tear one off when you need it), and a tube of Neosporin in the same little pouch with the antibacterial hand wipes. That way you can patch up the little boo-boos on the spot.

Snack size zipper bags would be a perfect size to carry these. Exceptional Mom Mary brings Mickey Mouse bandages.

I also always carry a couple of fresh AA batteries, because the light-up toys you buy in the park almost always have half-dead batteries, and if you buy them in the park it's more expensive than the toy usually.

I also always have a few sandwich size zipper bags. They're great for tucking leftover snacks into, or wet clothes, or souvenir photos from rides. You can also use them as individual serving bags for popcorn. That minimizes the risk of the "big tub spill" and lets you monitor how much popcorn the little guys eat.

I love these sandwich bag tips — especially for popcorn bags.

I carry a few flexible straws, because if you put a straight straw in a kid's drink, they always have to hold the cup at an angle to drink from it, and those lids leak.

And last of all, I carry a small tube of antibacterial hand lotion from Bath & Body Works to rub onto my hands after using wipes, because I hate the smell of wipes, and they also leave your hands feeling kind of sticky.

Lisa P also mentioned the Bath and Body Works antibacterial spray in her post in a recent MousePad thread. Personally, my favorite scent is "lemon," but I have to carry it in a snack size zipper bag because the lid tends to fall off.

Another Lisa wrote:

My must haves would have to include crayons (not for babies, obviously) and extra clothes. An extra shirt at minimum.

Soon after I received this tip, we found ourselves dining out at a crayon- less restaurant. The crayons I had stashed in my purse came in very handy for keeping Matthew's hands busy. I carry extra clothing, too, although, usually I only need them when I have forgotten to pack them.

Besides her Mickey Mouse bandages, Exceptional Mom Mary reminded me of another treasure from her bag that I have had occasion to borrow: children's acetaminophen (the generic name for Tylenol.) If you bring liquid, don’t forget a syringe or medicine spoon to distribute dosages. Along these lines, I'll add another must have: adult strength ibuprofen.

Another important aspect of nurturing our children is feeding our infants. Recently a few moms have sent me e-mail, posted on MousePad, and one friend from high school even called me, all asking about feeding an infant in the Disney parks.

I'll begin with tips for parents using formula. The Baby Care Center at Disneyland has a filtered water system in the kitchen for preparing bottles of formula. This is much more convenient than carrying bottles of water around the park all day!

Whether your baby drinks formula or nurses, if your baby needs a quiet place to eat, the Baby Care Center (below) also has an area to serve these needs. At Disneyland, Disney’s California Adventure, and in the Walt Disney World parks, the Baby Care Centers have areas with rocking chairs so moms can feed their babies. Be aware that some of these centers, including the one in Disneyland, restrict access to these areas to moms only; so fathers, friends, or older children cannot accompany mom and baby.

I have often said that I do not have a problem feeding my child anywhere or anytime. This is a function of my personal comfort zone. I would rather feed my child in "public" than have to excuse myself and miss out on the companionship of my friends and family. Nursing and formula feeding both offer unique advantages when a baby needs to be fed in a public location. A bottle is easier to hold and manipulate whether you're sitting, standing in line, or walking. Nursing is quick because it does not require warming or mixing.

Breastfeeding in public is completely legal in both California and Florida. In fact, in 1993, Florida was the first state in the nation to protect the right to breastfeed. The specific legislation, known as Florida House Bill #231, 1993, contains the following:

Section 383.015 Breastfeeding.
The breast feeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture which must be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and family values. 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.

To address breastfeeding rights in California, in 1997, legislators added section 43.3 to California's Civil code. It states: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and child are authorized to be present." For information about breastfeeding legislation from state to state, this page provides a comprehensive, slightly editorialized, resource.

There are several benches located around Disneyland. The hub of Disneyland, located on the north end of Main Street, directly in front of the castle, hosts several shaded benches. The exits of several E-ticket attractions such as the mountain rides have benches available. Often guests using "Rider Switch" passes wait on these benches. Waiting to use Rider Switch provides an excellent opportunity to nurse. Taking a stroll on Tom Sawyer's Island reveals more shaded quiet areas to sit, relax, and nurse.

Moms can nurse infants on slower moving attractions as well. Cruises on “it's a small world” and Pirates of the Caribbean are approximately 15 minutes long. Riders on the Disneyland Railroad can circle the park as often as they like before getting off. One trip around the park takes approximately 20 minutes.

Many restaurants provide extensive outdoor eating areas. During meal down times, these tables are often available, providing surprisingly secluded areas to nurse. While there, moms can pick up a drink to keep themselves hydrated. Downstairs at the Hungry Bear restaurant in Critter Country, guests will enjoy the peaceful scenery of the Rivers of America. In Frontierland there is Rancho del Zocalo (above), in Fantasyland there are areas outside of the Village Haus Restaurant or up near the Casey Jr Railroad. Older siblings and fathers can check-in with mom at those locations while they take turns riding the King Arthur Carrousel, Dumbo, or other attractions.

One evening several years ago, I slipped into the Princess restroom outside of Alice in Wonderland. There, sitting on the floor under a changing table, a mother nursed her child. Perhaps she would have preferred the privacy of the Baby Care Center, but it hurt my heart that she felt that she had to feed her child on a dirty restroom floor. I don't eat my meals in a restroom and I do not expect my precious children to, either. No matter what your comfort level for feeding your child, whether you choose formula or breast milk, you do not have to make any compromises when you're visiting a Disney park!


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Adrienne here.

Feeding the Baby


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adrienne gathered experience taking children to amusement parks when she worked as a day camp counselor and director. She was an elementary school teacher before she started her favorite job: being Matthew and Spencer's mom.

Adrienne, Matthew and Spencer visit Disneyland several times a month, usually with Daddy.

Besides Matthew and Spencer, Adrienne and her husband Kevin created and maintain the award-winning Happiest Potties on Earth here at MousePlanet.

You can contact Adrienne here.

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