Friday, 20 March 2015

The Jozi WAHM's Directory of Mall Baby Rooms

Have I mentioned that I love shopping?  However, shopping with little ones, especially babies can be daunting and there are four golden rules to follow:
  1. Keep it brief.
  2. Make sure your nappy bag is stocked with the necessary artillery;
  3. If you have a pram, know where the lifts are (if not, know which stores have those prams with the baby seat attachments); and MOST IMPORTANTLY
  4. Know where the baby rooms are.
It is crucial for mommies to know where to run for that emergency nappy change or feed when out shopping. When you have a screaming newborn, the last thing you want to have to do is search high and low for the nearest baby room. While this list does not cover all shopping centres in Jozi, we hope the below will help you know where to look for nappy change and feeding facilities at some of the malls.

My own dress choice is to wear more modest clothes generally, so baring my breasts was never an option for me personally. I used to nurse Squish just about anywhere as a newborn (when I could just position a receiver or shawl discretely and feed without anybody noticing) but I find this impossible with fidgety older babies and toddlers. 

I suspect there may be moms that are about to tell me that it is their right to nurse in public wherever they want and that you do not eat in a bathroom, so why should baby etcetera.  Yes, I respect and support your right to nurse in public and also refuse to feed my baby anywhere that is dirty or smelly and would rather go back to my car and feed in such instances. However, there are more options these days than just smelly toilets.

Even for mothers who are comfortable nursing in public, there may be times when your outfit just will not allow you to nurse without practically stripping or times where baby may be over-stimulated by the mall hustle and bustle and just needs a quiet place- so it is always handy to know where feeding facilities can be found. Here is my directory of mall baby rooms, which I hope to add to in future:
SANDTON CITY

There are beautiful, very modern and clean new baby rooms in the newer section of the mall close to Mr Price. However, if you are breastfeeding and seek privacy, these rooms have semi-transparent glass, so the older one at the food court (to the right of Ocean Basket) might be a cosier option.

CRESTA SHOPPING CENTRE

The bathrooms upstairs close to Mugg and Bean, Croc and Identity has a newly revamped baby room with nappy change facilities and separate feeding area. The rest do not have baby facilities (the ones near Game definitely have no baby facilities and at the one downstairs opposite Boardmans the cleaning lady pointed me to the solid counter top in the ladies room and instructed me to change nappies there).

CLEARWATER MALL

This mall has two baby rooms, both in the corridors that lead off from the centre food court. While they are nice, whether or not they are clean and smell free is luck of the draw. However,  only the one that forks off from the corridor close to Spur has a feeding room while the other does not.

THE MALL OF ROSEBANK

After the recent revamps, this mall boasts beautiful and very clean nappy change facilities. Take note though, that only the one upstairs next to Jet has a chair for feeding. The Zone, adjacent to the Rosebank Mall has a nappy change room with a seperate feeding room at the baby rooms opposite Sowearto, while the bathrooms closer to Spur have no baby facilities. Spur itself has one of those little plastic change stations in the ladies room. Oh and the Rosebank Mall has a couple of special mommy parking bays.

Baby room at the Mall of Rosebank
CAMPUS SQUARE

Okay, this is not exactly a major mall but I am there frequently enough for it to warrant a mention. When the centre was recently revamped, I was thrilled to see that they finally incorporated a baby room. To my disappointment, the baby room just has a hard counter-top for nappy feeds and a basin, with nowhere to sit for feeds. Cleaning staff have decided that they would also use the tiny space to store mops and brooms, so it is impossible to squeeze a pram in there. You are better off going to the baby room at Pick 'n Pay, which is far better kitted and even sometimes has baby good samples.

Baby room at Campus Square
EASTGATE SHOPPING CENTRE

Changing and feeding facilities are located at the Food Court near Nando's and near entrance six.
TRADE ROUTE MALL

A baby room with changing and feeding facilities can be found at the bathrooms close to Milky Lane and Toys and Hobbies.

CRADLESTONE MALL

I was only ever here once and do not remember where the baby rooms are (sorry!), but I do remember being impressed by clean and pleasant nappy changing and breastfeeding facilities. They are there somewhere and there are definitely more than one. They also have mommy parking bays.
BABY CHANGING PODS
I have seen baby pods like the one in the picture below at a few of our malls (pretty much illuminated floating plastic containers with compact facilities for feeding and changing nappies). I have spotted these at Fourways Mall, the Glen, Trade Route Mall and Westgate Shopping Centre and I am told that Greenstone and Broadacres have them too. However, they do seem to come and go. While they are okay for nappy changes, some tend to be smelly (I guess this would depend on how well the relevant shopping centre maintains them). It is an improvement though, over malls that only have a change station inside the ladies bathrooms, which pose a problem for any daddies who find themselves alone with baby.
Baby pods found at certain malls
When there is no feeding room in site and you have a hungry, screaming baby, my suggestion would be to go to a change room clothing store, they are usually very accommodating.

We would love your feedback on the malls that we have left out so that we can update our list.