As a new Mum, one of the things your realize fairly quickly is that any trip out of the house revolves around where and when you’re going to change & feed your baby. Being too far away from a changing facility or somewhere you can comfortably sit & feed your little one is just not an option. Another of the things you realize is that it’s not always as easy as you might think to find a good, clean & practical place to do either of the above. We were recently sent undercover by Direct 365 to check out the best & worst baby changing facilities in our local town to share our experiences & uncover the do’s & don’t’s when it comes to designing the perfect place for parents to change & feed their babies.
So what does it take to make a baby changing facility brilliant?
Easy to access
One of the key things that is important when it comes to changing facilities is how easy it is to get find & get to! Do you have to go up or downstairs or battle with heavy doors to get to it? So often I find myself needing to change Florence quickly (I’m talking Poo-splosion territory) and then having to faff around with lifts because the baby change room is on a different level!
There’s nothing worse than going into a supposedly baby friendly area and finding overflowing nappy bins & poo all over the place. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t entirely to the fault of whichever establishment you’re at, but making sure a cleaner is on hand to check over the space regularly through the day seems like a no brainer. If I walk into a dirty baby change facility, you can bet I turn right back around again and find somewhere cleaner!
Believe it or not, I’ve been to several baby change facilities where you can’t even get a standard size pushchair through the door! Meaning you either have to leave your pram outside or change your baby with the door open – neither are really ideal in a public place.
Some of the best baby facilities in our area are also baby feeding friendly, like the newly opened ‘Baby Fresh’ at the Mall in Maidstone. You can feed & change your baby in peace with everything you might need readily accessible, including comfortable feeding chairs, bottle warmers & separate mini rooms should you wish to feed in private.
Calm & Quiet
There’s nothing quite like being able to escape the hustle and bustle of a busy shopping center or attraction and going into a lovely calm, baby friendly environment to feed or change your little one. There is a time and a place for club tunes to be played at 1,000 decibels & bright lights my friends, but a baby changing facility isn’t one of them!
Access to baby products
While I know it’s not always practical or possible to have things like nappies & wipes available for free for parents to use but I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have forgotten to pack a new packet of wipes in the changing bag or restock my nappy stash (I’m blaming baby brain!) and so having the reassurance that I can pop in to change Florence without a mad dash to Boots is always a bonus.
Entertainment (& room!) for the whole family
Now, I only have one baby and a single pushchair and I already struggle to make use of some of the facilities on offer, so goodness knows what I’ll do when Baby number 2 comes along! Making sure there is plenty of space for at least one adult & a couple of children in a changing facility is imperative so that Mums of more than one don’t have to leave one of their tots outside! As well as lots of room, I really rate changing rooms when they have toys or entertainment on offer for older children to keep them busy while Mum or Dad is busy fulfilling bum changing duties!
Mum’s & Dad’s welcome
One of the common mistakes places make when it comes to baby changing facilities is only having baby change rooms or cubicles in the women’s toilets! Obviously, Dad can’t make use of these and often the only alternatives are the floor in the loo’s or making do with a restaurant chair or table! Neither option being entirely hygienic.
I’m going a bit luxury now, but we all know that often it’s the little things that count. Having readily available baby magazines, free wi-fi, access to phone charging equipment & maybe even a place to make a drink is always a sure way to impress a Mama who is taking the load off of her feet after a busy day of shopping and chilling with her baby before making her journey home.
This is part of an ongoing campaign by Direct 365 to improve the facilities on offer for parents & their babies. You can find out more about what they’re up to here. I have received payment for our contributions to this campaign.