The other night, we were at one of our regular restaurants with Baby W. It’s a great little family joint, where the waitresses call you by name, and if they don’t know that, then it’s sweetie or hun. Great food and service, not to mention, being right across the street from our place, makes it perfect for us. There’s just one problem. No changing area in the bathroom. Not even a small counter by the sink. In fact, I have to take her to the waiting area outside to change her.
We are at the point where fast and easy diaper access means everything. We will put her in a dress instead of a onesie, and forgo the diaper cover just to be able to get to it easier. You see, she doesn’t complain about dirty diapers… wet ones need to be immediately rectified, but dirty, not so much. She makes absolutely NO mention of them and will sit in the gross without comment if we don’t watch her very carefully. So, yuck.
I know that you other new parents out there understand me when I say that knowing the stores and restaurants in town that offer changing areas is vital. Sure, department stores and MOST family restaurants have them, but I find it REALLY starts to bug me if a retail space that caters to families that spend any length of time in the store does not offer a restroom, with at least a shelf area to change my child’s diaper.
I recently have been to a few “family friendly” places in our town, restaurants and stores included, that don’t have the convenience of a changing table, and I’ve gotten some very strange looks when I’ve taken Baby Wagon outside to change her on a bench or rearranged the rickety metal table holding flowers in the bathroom so that I don’t have to do it on the floor. If the restaurant we are at has booths, and we are sitting in one, that’s fair game too.
Herein lies my question: Who decides this? Why have a family focused restaurant or store, and not offer at least some place to change a baby? A fold out changing table takes up a ridiculously small amount of space on the wall in a bathroom, although, I will admit to not knowing what the true stats for these are.
Do those places not want the patronage of new families? I know it makes some people uncomfortable, and I’ve even had someone tell me to “go do that in the bathroom”. Believe me, if there was a less public space that was comfortable and safe for the baby, I would utilize it. But I refuse to go find a dark corner where no one will see.
I’m not an exhibitionist, but do you know how often my kid pees? Sometimes it’s 30 seconds from the last diaper change, so, no, I’m not going to schlep my kid 100 yards away to a”private” space. As with breastfeeding, if it offends, then please feel free to look away.
And this whole deal with no changing areas in the men’s room as well? That’s just insane. New daddies NEVER go out with their little ones, right? Right. I think Cris takes her out more than I do! That being said, there was a recent law signed into effect about changing tables in Men’s rooms in federal buildings, but that’s just the tip of this iceberg.
So come on family friendly places, let’s get the lead out and at least give us stressed out new mommies one less thing to worry about, a little counter space in the bathroom to change our kids diapers isn’t so much to ask, is it?