Mothers visiting Calgary malls may find themselves needing to feed their baby, and six Calgary shopping centres (and one mall just north of the city) offer designated nursing rooms for those who wish to use them.
Whether you’re feeding your child via breast or a bottle, registered nurse and lactation consultant Leanne Rzepa says there is a benefit to visiting a nursing room.
“Having a nursing room where a mom can go, where it’s private and quiet, where she can focus and concentrate on what she needs to do … I think that’s definitely an advantage, as opposed to needing to sit in the food court or on a bench somewhere.”
“It makes mom a lot more relaxed, and then baby is going to be a lot more relaxed and less distracted.”
It’s common for mothers to view shopping centres as a safe haven of sorts. Malls are free to visit and offer stay-at-home moms or mothers on maternity leave a chance to interact with other adults and beat their cabin fever. In addition, many malls have kids play areas to help keep older children occupied during cold winter months.
“Most of the new moms that I work with, one of their biggest fears is being able to breastfeed out of the house. When they think of going out of the house, usually the first place they think about is going to the mall. They’re always concerned about, ‘How am I going to be able to get the right latch and to get a good setup in a mall setting?’”
“If you’ve been having a latch challenge, it’s important to really see what your baby is doing when he or she is coming onto the breast. So in a nursing room, hopefully mom would feel comfortable not needing to use a nursing cover … and can see a really good, deep latch without having to hide under a blanket.”
Designated nursing rooms also offer moms with multiple children an area to keep her other kids occupied while they feed their babies.
“Sometimes, especially when you’re a new mom, it can take you anywhere from 20 minutes to 30 minutes to finish a feed,” Rzepa said. “If you have another little one with you, you’re going to be stressed out if you don’t have a quiet space, and a controlled space, to get those things done.”
Ideally, Rzepa said she’d like to see these facilities offering diapers, nipple creams, nursing pads, and Lysol wipes so moms can sanitize the area before they nurse.
BELOW: Take a look inside the nursing rooms at Calgary’s malls
CF Market Mall
Where: 3625 Shaganappi Trail N.W.
How to access: Market Mall has two nursing rooms, one of which is located in the women’s washroom in the food court.
Another nursing area is located down the hallway behind the Disney store and is open to families and young children. To get to it, you have to get an access code (which changes periodically) from Guest Services.
Amenities: The nursing room by the food court has private seating, stroller parking and a microwave.
The nursing area behind the Disney store has private seating and a microwave, a change table, and two large bathrooms.
CF Chinook Centre
Where: 6455 Macleod Trail S.W.
How to access: Chinook Centre has a nursing room located in the women’s washroom in the Dining Hall (food court).
Amenities: The room includes soft seating, a TV, two wall-mounted tablets that have children’s games on them, and a microwave. There is also a private washroom inside the nursing room.
Bonus facts: Chinook has a family washroom which was renovated in 2017. It’s located in the Dining Hall and has a change table in it. The stalls in the family washroom are large enough to accommodate a parent and a child. The facilities include child-height sinks. It is locked and you have to buzz security to be let in.
Where: 100 Anderson Rd S.E.
How to access: Southcentre Mall has two accessible nursing rooms; one is on the shopping centre’s upper level and one is on the lower level. Both are located in the main women’s washrooms, but the lower level main washrooms and nursing room are under construction and won’t be re-opened until early March 2019.
Amenities: The nursing rooms have soft seating, microwaves, sinks, change tables, TVs, and an interactive play area for toddlers.
Bonus facts: The family washrooms at Southcentre provide change tables and toddler-sized toilets. Emergency baby supplies are available at the Guest Services desk by the north entrance.
Where: 2525 36 Street N.E.
How to access: The nursing room is located in the mall’s upper-level washrooms by the food court. There is a family washroom with change stations and a separate nursing room.
Amenities: The nursing room has a TV which plays cartoons and two large, soft leather chairs.
Core Shopping Centre
Where: 324 8 Ave S.W.
How to access: The Core’s nursing room is located on the fourth level in the food court, around the corner from Crepe Delicious and A&W. It’s secure, so mothers have to press a button to enter and security will give you access.
Amenities: Soft seating (chairs and a couch), change tables, soft music and dim lighting, room for strollers, and a washroom for toddlers as well as adults.
Where: 5111 Northland Dr. N.W.
How to access: The nursing room is located near the public washrooms in the food court.
Amenities: The nursing room features a comfortable chair and changing table.
Where: 261055 Crossiron Blvd.
How to access: The nursing room, called the mother’s comfort room, is located on the east side of the mall inside the women’s washroom in the food hall.
Amenities: A big screen TV, a play mat for children, two large changing surfaces, a private bathroom, reclining comfort chairs, high chairs and tables.
What about the other malls?
Westbrook Mall and Marlborough Mall don’t have designated nursing rooms, however, both the men’s and women’s washrooms have change tables. Marlborough Mall also has a family washroom with change tables. North Hill Centre does not have a designated nursing room.