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Brian Bennett

Traveling With an Infant - Feeding the Little Ones

Nursing Issues

Barb and I have no experience with nursing in the parks, since we've adopted our sons.  Our only personal experience is on bottle feeding (which I'll touch on momentarily).  However, here is some collected wisdom that I've gleaned from nursing moms over the years:

In answer to another question about nursing in the parks, Adrienne Krock, who writes MousePlanet's popular "Parenting in the Parks" column wrote:

>> I am also nursing the baby and have solely nursed
>> him. Is it suggested to bring in
>> bottles of breast milk to the parks.

I nursed Matthew exclusively for several months and continued to nurse him occasionally until he was 1 year old. Again, it was easier to nurse him when he was younger because he was usually less distracted. I am a person who has no problem nursing in public. I carried a blanket or two with me to "Cover up" although depending on where I was and/or who I was with, this was not always necessary. I would often find a quiet shady bench to nurse Matthew at Disneyland. Another option was during live shows. While we were sitting in the audience, I could nurse him.

One of the reasons I nursed Matthew was because of the convenience of not having to carry bottles around. I agree with Brian that carrying bottles will require a system to keep them cool. Also, when will you stop to pump? One concern I have for you is how pumping and having to carry bottles will affect your milk supply and/or your body's schedule for producing milk. If you are not as comfortable nursing in public, as Brian said, there are Baby Care Centers in all of the parks. However, that requires that you be in the "right place at the right time." Because Disney Parks attract families, it is not uncommon to see mothers discreetly nursing their infants out and about in the Parks.

And Carol Koster (ckoster@neosoft.com) posted the following (included here with her permission):

You'll want to find the Carnation Baby Care Centers in each major theme park. We weren't able to make it to Epcot or Disney-MGM Studios, but at Magic Kingdom the Baby Center is off of Main Street USA. As you face the castle go right in front of Coke Corner and it's off a courtyard/fountain near some restrooms and the First Aid station. There is a cast member attendant there. You can buy Carnation formula and other products, baby supplies such as extra diapers, pacifiers, baby toys, I think they sell baby food too. There is a softly lit room just for nursing or bottle-feeding mothers and their babies (four rocking chairs in a quaint Victorian parlor-type setting), a very deluxe changing table room (BIG, *PADDED* changing tables, more than one of them, with fresh paper spread on the tables to keep them clean at all times), and a feeding room with chairs, high chairs, a toddler's table and a TV tuned to the Disney Channel. They have their own restroom in there. They have bottled water. They have a microwave and a stove for heating formula or baby foods prior to feeding. There is no charge to use this center's facilities. You get to meet a lot of other parents of babies too, it is very nice in there. And the air conditioning is "on"! Men can't come into the nursing room unless the woman/baby they want to come see are alone, otherwise if there are other nursing women men have to wait outside in the vestibule. Men are allowed in the other parts of the center. If you are a breastfeeding mother and need to use a breast pump the Baby Centers would probably be the most comfortable place outside your resort room to do that.

If you are bringing formula or bottles of expressed breastmilk with you invest in something better than The First Years small four bottle type cooler which has an insert that you can freeze and put with the bottles. The insert stays frozen for only half a day. "Blue ice" which are blue canisters of coolant which stay frozen for many hours and does a better job than ice are preferable. You find this sort of thing in camping stores. We have a small soft vinyl cooler, and with the blue ice it worked out great.

Mom, if you are breastfeeding be sure to eat well and drink a lot of fluids.

About eating at WDW with a baby: We brought Dixie cups and plastic spoons. We'd empty partial jars of baby food into the Dixie cups and then feed the baby with the picnic spoons. If the baby wanted more we could pour more out of the jar into the cup, and if he wasn't hungry anymore we could just stow the remainder of the jar in our vinyl picnic cooler with the blue ice in it to use another time without wasting any. WDW restaurants all have high chairs with straps, just be aware they are _backless_ high chairs, so your baby needs to be able to sit upright very well. I understand from "Barb/gardenia" of r.a.d.parks that there are infant high chairs you can request in restaurants. I have no experience with these, only with the backless high chairs. The resorts will lend you a high chair (backless) in your room as well at no charge. We only ate at the Contemporary, in our room, Liberty Tree Tavern and at one of the fast food places in Fantasyland (Pinocchio?) and everything worked out well. Our baby wasn't much into finger foods back then like he is now. I would think a buffeteria would be best for the baby on finger foods, just strew out a variety of bits in front of him from your plate. BTW, the backless high chairs do not come with trays-just belly your baby up to your table and have him/her eat off the table top. Leave a bit of an extra tip in case of a lot of mess on the table and the floor. If there is anything else I can help with let me know. Most restaurants on WDW property are extremely baby-friendly and accommodating. I would not bring a baby to Victoria and Albert's or California Grill because those are gourmet/adult/sophisticated type places, most of the rest of them should be fine for babies. Again, if there is anything else I can help with, let me know. :-)

--Carol Koster

The whole of of Carol's original post (covering other child-in-the-park topics) can be read on the "More Wisdom" page.

For Bottle Feeding:

Now on bottle feeding, I feel like a qualified expert.  We took Allan to WDW several times while he was still an infant.  Here's just a braindump of the things we learned in those early trips: 

We used Playtex-brand four ounce bottles that use a disposable plastic bag insert.   They were especially nice for when we got into Old Key West and I was able to make up bottles in advance.

I recommend that you mix your own formula from powder and bottled water...ready mixed formula in cans is handy, but is too heavy for traveling.  We also found that Allan preferred (not just flavor, but the results....if you know what I mean) the powdered mix, since that's what we used at home.  The pre-mixed stuff is just so rich.

Use bottled water for all of the bottles that you make up (especially if the baby is VERY young).  Our pediatrician pointed out that it would be much easier for an infant  to deal with the trip if he didn't have to adjust to varying water conditions as we drove cross-country.  In fact, here's a quote from my 1996 trip report when Allan was just a few weeks old: "We... drove a few miles to the nearest grocery store to buy some bottled water for the baby's formula. Barb had noticed a distinct difference in the baby just in the change from Saginaw's city water to the Detroit city water that my Mom and Dad have. Apparently those folks that say that you MUST use bottled water for baby's on formula on a trip are right."

The choreography for bottle making went something like this: "After we use the last bottle for the day, I dump all the bottles, nipples, and so on into the sink and clean and dry them. Then I put new inserts into them and fill them up with the bottled water. We add formula (powdered) as we need to make up the bottles. It's really working quite well...but I'm looking forward to getting into our Old Key West home with a fridge, so I can make up the bottles in advance."

I was right about the Old Key West kitchen facilities!  I highly recommend the "Home Away From Home" resorts if you're traveling with a baby!  Having more room for clean up and having the refrigerator was a tremendous blessing.

We found that taking three bottles of water with enough formula to mix (we also had a handy formula container that kept the right amount of formula for three bottles) was enough for our eight-or-less-hour stretches of park time.  Usually we used two of those bottles for formula and one for water which Allan sometimes wanted, especially on hot days.

Don't hesitate to use the Baby Care Centers in the parks for feeding time.  It's not critical or necessary that you do so, because bottle feeding anywhere you can find a nice, shady place to sit down is fine, but they are a nice, quiet place to get away from the hustle and bustle...and that may help your baby to settle down for the meal.

 

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