We believe that babies can be good for business! Some businesses agree and welcome breastfeeding mothers, infants and young children. Others, well, aren’t exactly child friendly. Some places might have some hours during the day when they are more welcoming than others. Some services that can make it easier to go out include; designated parking near the entrance, baby changing stations (in women’s and men’s restrooms), places for infant feeding, hosts willing to seat families in places they will be the most comfortable, and quick service with the check/check out when kids are melting down.
For moms looking for breastfeeding friendly workplaces and businesses, each state’s breastfeeding coalition includes a list of each. You can use the national directory of coalitions to find the coalition for your state, and then search for resources for parents. As an example, here’s the Virginia state coalition’s list of businesses that welcome breastfeeding. And here’s the North Carolina list.
Local, independently owned businesses sometimes are more open to catering to new families and may be worth exploring. Likewise, more businesses are offering the opportunity to place orders online and then load them directly into your car. While some might charge a convenience fee, the service may be cheaper than you think and worth considering – especially in the early postpartum days. Consider asking for a subscription to a delivery service (such as Amazon Prime) as another way to shop from your couch. Families living in rural areas may have less access to these conveniences. Want to plan in advance, look at Yelp for reviews about different restaurants, stores, and locations. You can also vote with your feet and your wallet. Found a place that works? Invite others to go there. Received great service? Share a compliment.
You may also want to spend your time and resources with businesses who offer family-friendly services to their employees. Paid family and sick leave as well as flexible work schedules, health care, and support services make a major difference for mothers and families. Before you donate to an organization ask about their policies. Ask where ever you go. Together we can use the power of the purse to press for change. For more information about the types of business practices that support parents and children, check out the Family Forward NC Guide to Family Forward Workplaces, a robust tool that helps employers incorporate family-friendly workplace practices that attract and retain talent and improve health and well-being for children.