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Baby-changing etiquette

(30 Posts)
MyRealName Mon 15-Aug-11 15:43:04

Can anyone clarify the rules for me?

My DD is now 10 wks old. She loves being taken out to the park/the shops/visit people, anywhere there are new things to look at. And I love taking her. However changing/feeding her away from home just stresses me out.

When she was 4wks old, DH and I took her out to shops far enough away (15 min drive) to have to change her while out, for the first time. Within seconds of entering the first shop she started crying, showing signs of starvation (she is EBF) and needing a nappy change. In a flustered-new-mum-first-time-out kind of way I headed straight for the baby-changing room. The door was propped open with a chair, but I had to move it and close the door to get to the changing table, but didn't lock it. I changed her quickly, but she was still upset and hungry. There was a nice comfy armchair in the opposite corner and no queue (I checked), so I sat down to feed her. Less than a minute later, a lady comes backing in with a buggy. She sees me and apologises for barging in, and asks if I mind if she uses the changing table. I apologise back for taking up space, and say of course I don't mind. However, her two friends outside, one with a pram, start moaning loudly about me. Things such as "she's shut herself in there for the duration", "she would leave us out here for hours" and "these young mums have no consideration". I'm 27. I was so flustered, I cut short DD's feed and followed the other mum out. The friend who also had a very young baby glares at me and goes in. Honestly I was in there max 5-6 minutes in total. I hurried back to the car and fed DD there, but did go back to finish the shopping I was determined to do.

Not many days later I was in a different baby-changing room, this time one with a toilet in it. I really needed the loo, but was changing baby first. I locked the door, obviously. As I started changing her, someone tried the door. Then they knocked, so I called out something along the lines of "changing baby, just a minute". She replied to hurry up, her boy (a toddler who was crying) needed changing. I did hurry up, but she continued knocking and making impatient remarks. I left quickly without going to the loo, and she huffed past me.

Now, am I missing something?
Do I just attract miserable people or is there an important point of etiquette that is passing me by? Is 4-5 minutes really an unacceptably long time to change a newborn? When there was no queue and a comfy chair, was it embarrassingly wrong to start feeding? Do you lock the door, or not? When you see the changing/feeding sign on a door, does that mean bottle-fed babies only? Now when I'm out I find myself rushing to change nappies and try to avoid doing it because of these early experiences. I am fairly comfortable feeding in public now e.g. in a quite corner of a coffee shop, but do prefer to be discreet. I'm sad it has all become a source of stress.

Please, someone give me "THE RULES".

PS-Sorry for being long-winded!

nocake Mon 15-Aug-11 15:53:38

I'm not sure there are any rules. If the changing facilities are in the same room as a toilet (often the disabled access toilet) with a lock on the door then generally I'll lock the door and take as long as I need to. If they're in a separate room then I probably wouldn't lock the door unless the room was only big enough to change one baby at a time. If the room is labelled as a feeding room and there's a chair in there then take as long as you need to feed.

GlaikitFizzog Mon 15-Aug-11 16:03:01

No rules, you are as entitled as the next person to use the facilities. IMO the voices you heard through the door were rude. And I don;t think I would have held my tongue.

I'm glad you are more comfortable feeding in public now, it gives you so much more freedom.

MyRealName Mon 15-Aug-11 16:15:55

Thanks for the reassuring replies. It seems I really do just attract miserable people!

GlaikitFizzog -I would be less likely to hold my tongue at such rudeness now, but those first few weeks I was really unsure and sensitive.

Huffythetantrumslayer Mon 15-Aug-11 19:38:21

I've never had anyone be so rude! You shouldn't rush out. If the toddler needed a wee surely he could have been taken in normal toilets? If someones waiting when I come out I might say a courtesy sorry but no ones ever had a go. Think you had some bad luck there. Don't worry, we all get flustered when out in the first few weeks, it'll get easier soon x

lechatnoir Mon 15-Aug-11 21:45:23

your LO is only 10 weeks so don't beat yourself up about these things as it definitely takes time to build up confidence when you're out & about and doing new baby things but you'll look back in 6 months and be amazed that you even gave it a 2nd thought. Honest grin. You're doing great and those women just sound RUDE and as for toddler needing a wee there's always the ladies and a baby can wait a few minutes for a change FFS. Be confident, be courteous but don't take any shit wink

Tigresswoods Mon 15-Aug-11 22:40:56

Wow I've never experienced anything like that. I think you've just been unlucky.

As you were...

DownyEmerald Mon 15-Aug-11 22:48:49

You've been unlucky, but it is stressful isn't it these new things.
My big thing was car seats and shopping trolleys, never having actually looked at the different sorts of shopping trolley before she was born. By about 6 weeks old I really needed to be able to go to the supermarket! Luckily one of my friends had her ds early, and she worked it out for me.

Clueless79 Tue 16-Aug-11 09:26:59

You have been unlucky - I totally understand where you're coming from though - I'll feed in public but would rather find a nice feeding room. Preferably one that doesn't stink of nappy bin.

I had a bad experience the other week when a fire alarm went off in a shop while I was bf in a feeding/changing room. A member of staff came barging in as though she was on fire bustling all around and telling me I needed to leave NOW! She grabbed my belongings that were out andd shoved them in my changing bag, onto my pushchair and started wheeling it out while I was stuck trying to unlatch small shocked baby who obviously didn't know what all the noise was or why we were interrupting his meal!

Outside while people were congregating and I was trying to collect myself I could hear said member of staff in a state of considerable breathless hilarity declaring "and that lass was breastfeeding in there and had to put her chest away!!!"

You're kidding? Someone bf in a feeding room?? In a major high street shop who proudly display a lengthy bf policy on the wall actually stating that should I wish to, I could have bf on the shop floor for which a chair would have been provided! Professionalism at its best.

FairyArmadillo Tue 16-Aug-11 09:35:29

Yes, I agree you've been unfortunate. If I see or hear someone in a disabled loo or small locked changing room with a child I wait patiently, as long as it takes them to do what they need to do. Because that's how it is with babies, breastfeeding, faffing about with a child. You're doing fine.

wolfhound Tue 16-Aug-11 09:38:08

Downy - wish you'd complained to manager - gossipy employee very out of order!

MyRealName Tue 16-Aug-11 15:05:35

So, Clueless, I take it the shop wasn't actually on fire!? You should have asked her for that chair, see what she had to say about that...

Thank you all for the confirmation that it is not really me who has the problem.

Clueless79 Tue 16-Aug-11 17:20:04

Haha no. I seriously thought there was a major bomb scare or something the way the woman went on. Wish I had complained. And would LOVE to have the balls to ask for the chair!

Definitely not any of us with the problem, some funny folk out there...!

Octaviapink Tue 16-Aug-11 19:27:13

With DC1 I was quite tentative and easily pushed around but now I'm much bolshier! (Especially now there's legislation to back up breastfeeding). When a shop that declared it had a mother-and-baby room turned out not to, I went and fed DS in their cafe. I'm quite sure it put some people off coming in, but tough bananas! I think with people banging on the door you've been unlucky. If you have a John Lewis near you I can definitely recommend their baby facilities! Mumsnet should start a blacklist/whitelist of good and bad baby facilities.

boognish Tue 16-Aug-11 23:21:47

Clueless, I had a similar experience to yours, but mine was in John Lewis, where the staff treat customers as they oughter. I was bfing my ds of a morning in their lovely bfing facilities when a security alert alarm went off. I had to leave the pram in there and carry my heffalump son down about 5 flights of stairs via the staff exit. When I came back to retrieve my pram, the staff were waiting for me with it, together with a voucher for 2 to have tea and cakes on the house. You should have got at least that for your doubly unpleasant experience!

AngelDog Tue 16-Aug-11 23:40:24

5-6 minutes is pretty good - nappy changing took at least a quarter of an hour then. Stil does at 19 m.o. but that's because it takes so long to prise DS away from the sink. wink

milkyjo Wed 17-Aug-11 16:17:24

Echoing everyone else's comments that you've been very unlucky. I would have been bloody minded and sat there until the feed was finished, or taken extra long to change baby!!! Unfortunately there would be nothing you could do about members of public and their nasty comments. I remember being stared at by a woman in a restaurant when I fed my baby for the first time in public, wasn't too sure whether it was 'good' or 'bad' staring. I just ignored her, but as it was my first time I was all fingers and thumbs. Didn't put me off though!

BertieBotts Wed 17-Aug-11 16:23:46

I would always try to find a baby changing room to change DS if we were in a shop or a pub or something, but in a park etc, I'd have just changed him on the grass (with a mat or cloth if I had one!)

WRT feeding, you should be able to feed anywhere (I think I fed DS sitting on one of those shoe measuring stools in Matalan once!) but if you are not yet comfortable with feeding anywhere and everywhere then you're definitely entitled to use the changing room. But generally though, I'd find a seat and perch myself there and feed him.

Clueless79 Wed 17-Aug-11 18:22:19

Oh and I've just remembered that as I was very discreetly feeding ds in a restaurant booth spotting a teenager TAKING A PHOTO over their booth divider!! I was aiming to give him the evil eye at the very least but he clocked me looking back at him and kept his head down. By the time I'd finished feeding, he and his (girl) friend had somehow made their exit without being seen.

I'd obviously blocked this from my memory till I've been reading this! Some girls have all the luck!

lurcherlover Thu 18-Aug-11 23:10:15

TBH I think the only etiquette around changing a baby is to not do what I saw a mum do once - change her baby's (shitty) nappy in the middle of a table in a cafe, surrounded by people eating their lunch. [nauseous emoticon]. The women who spoke to the OP were just bloody rude.

TastyMuffins Thu 18-Aug-11 23:19:23

One of the places I work in has a baby change/feeding room and occasionally someone will get a bit huffy that it is occupied. I usually suggest that they either use the disabled toilet to change the baby or facilities on another floor. It's great when these facilities are provided but doesn't mean anyone has a right to expect it to be vacated just because they want to use it.

annababy Fri 19-Aug-11 11:04:11

I got this quite a lot,still do to be honest,but as I reverse out of a changing room with my twins I very often get apologies 'oh I'm sorry I didn't realise you had twins'
Nobody stays longer than absolutely necessary in these usually smelly changing rooms do they?!I wouldn't dream if banging in the door to hurry someone up,and to be honest if I'm in there ages it's because both twins have probably done an extra special poo that leaked out of the nappy,went on their vests and as I try to remove it said poo then transfers onto their backs,arms legs,my hair etc you get the shitty picture!and I have to sort that twice,so I'm sorry but door knocking is going to have no effect on me!

Graciescotland Fri 19-Aug-11 11:14:14

I'd take your time, people can be rude! TBH the guilt at having someone wait a few minutes is less than the guilt of your DC getting nappy rash/ a bit raw because you've been rushed IYSWIM.

mollythetortoise Fri 19-Aug-11 13:06:57

i agree with the no rushing if changing a baby, 3-5 mins is acceptable and you'll get quicker as you get more practice BUT I disagree you should sit yourself down in a locked baby changing room to feed - this could take 15 mins or so and a very large q could build up in that time.
It is not fair on everyone else - besides feeding in a stinky nappy changing room must be unpleasant?!

I was once waiting with a very wriggly toddler for a couple with a new born to change their baby and it took 10 mins plus - try standing with a toddler for that long, withoput him running off and you losing your place in the q. I eventually lost my patience (toddlers are stressful for their mothers too!) and banged on the door asking them to hurry up.
I am quite sure they thought I was very rude - but I thought they were ruder than me to monopolise the only baby changing room for so long.

I don't think they appreciated that toddlers are more tricky to change than newborns and speed is of the essence!! (They knew I had a toddler and was also waiting as they were queuing infront of me before they went in)

DilysPrice Fri 19-Aug-11 13:51:12

You'd be unreasonable to lock yourself into the only baby changing room and settle down for a long feed, but I don't think you did do that, did you - so YANBU.

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