So… we were at the doctors on Sunday morning for little jj’s next 6-in-1 jap. Everything went well and she weighs a nice 7.9 kilos, slightly at an above average growth. Since the last 4 months of our visit to Dr Lee, he said that little jj has been growing at an average 1 inch (length) per month and he estimates that she will be somewhere around 9 kilos ++ by the time she reaches 1 year of age… this, coming from a doctor who estimated so accurately that the little munchkin would reach my height when he turns 9 (the time of estimation was during his 1 month-old jap! Imagine…).
Overall, since little jj is breastfed, Dr Lee mentioned that she won’t be considered overweight even if she reaches 12 kilos at her 1st birthday. Amazing, isn’t it?
Talking about breasfeeding, I’ve been long since keeping some stuff for a review of nursing/baby rooms in major shopping centres around the Klang Valley. Opps… but this will exclude KLCC, Pavillion, Lot 10 and Starhill as madame toughcookie has not been around those places since the birth of little jj, partly because there is nothing there that I can’t get elsewhere and also due to the fact that madame thinks it is a little too far-offish with bad traffic.
Ok, the toughcookie is a little tough in her review because she has a sticky baby who not only prefer to starve than be fed in a cold and unfamiliar environment, but also dislikes crammy places with crying babies as the cries is considered infectious. So here goes…
1. Sunway Pyramid
What I love about this shopping centre is their consideration towards us mommies and our breastfed babies. Why??... because their baby rooms are located at almost every toilet stops and at every level. Therefore, when your baby gets hungry (on demand feeding), you don’t have to scramble your way to look for the rooms, you just need to walk to your nearest toilet stop and there it is…
- Just one press of a button and the entrance door automatically opens – promoting hygiene whereby there’s no need to touch the door knob; a good safety measure as kids on tow will not be able to play with the door since the switch is too high for a child to reach; easy on mommies alone with their baby as she can push the stroller, push the button and door opens without the hassle of pushing your way through the door, holding it while pulling the baby stroller through it.
- Spacious area with long and wide counter-top with large sink, soap & baby shampoo dispenser and water dispenser (to make that bottle of milk)
- A small play area for your other little kids on tow.
- A nice small room to nurse your baby in private (with own lockable door)
- A long bench for mommies to sit while waiting or even to nurse baby in the open.
- The wide counter-top and waiting bench could also be used to change your babies if the changing-table is being used.
- Room is large enough to accommodate mommies, babies and 2-3 strollers.
- The diaper-changing area comes only in those tables attached to the wall (where you’d need to pull it down). There is only ONE table and it’s hygiene questionable. The table is not wide enough for you to place baby’s toiletries like diaper cream or wet tissues thus, someone must be able to help you out unless baby is very relaxed on the hard, uncomfortable table.
- The nursing room comes only in 1 unit… and since it is a room on its own, how do you know that the person locked in it is not the cleaning lady sleeping?
- The room is so clearly lit and not a relaxing environment for both mommy and baby during feeding.
- The air-condition is super duper cold, unfriendly to babies who always seeks warmth and comfort, and I don’t see the use of baby soap and shampoo with such a cold temperature in the room (how do you bathe a baby in the cold?)
top pix: as seen from the long bench - the big
semi-auto door and play area
bottom pix: the one juggling at the diaper-changing pull-down table,
with help from the little munchkin.
OVERALL VERDICT – 4 cookies from toughcookie, for comfort, cleanliness and accessibility.
2. Mid Valley
For a shopping mall that claims itself as the longest shopping mall in Asia, this must be the worst modern shopping mall. Why do I say that? Well… for its 5km length, you would struggle with a hungry baby while looking for the reception counter at one end, the receptionist telling you that there are only 2 nursing rooms – 1 in Jusco and 1 in Carrefour. We were at Kenny Rogers and the walk was extremely frustrating.
The nearest stop was supposedly at Carrefour’s. However, I was shocked that it was situated so much further towards the other wing. Thank god we were at the same floor. If you were elsewhere in the mall, I’d say, good luck to you.
Toughcookie likes: (Carrefour’s nursing room)
- There wasn’t any air-conditioning nor was there any ventilation! It was so warm that not only madame dearest was sweating from the long frustrating walk, little jj was sweating from the many discomfort upon entering the small room.
- The room reeks of the smell of urine (I don’t know why – was there no proper bin for diapers? Was there nobody to attend to the cleanliness of the room? Or was it due to the lack of air ventilation?)
Toughcookie likes: (Jusco’s nursing room)
- Clean, neat area.
- Room is an open space just next to the ladies’ room. Hence, you can imagine the stench coming from next door.
- No proper signage.
- Little jj was all angry from being hungry and no amount of coaxing can make her drink from mommy’s ample bosoms, especially when ladies coming out of the ladies’ room, all took a peep at us, wondering what the hell is mommy doing not pacifying her baby.
Carrefour - 0 cookie from toughcookie for the horrible stench, heaty room, unhygienic room, poor directional signage and poor location.
Jusco - 2 cookies from toughcookie for the stench coming from next door ladies' room, its 'open' concept allowing people to look in and inconsiderate location.
Mid Valley - 0 cookie awarded for such lack of community service in providing a comfortable and clean baby room for such a lengthy walk across the huge mall. They should at least provide an area at every toilet stops, with an attendant to see through the cleanliness of the rooms. Although they claimed they have appointed baby rooms in their website, their receptionists are saying otherwise.
3. 1 Utama
The first time we visited 1 Utama was when little jj just turned 2 months old. Therefore, she wasn’t that choosy or cranky in public as she slept most of the time. Furthermore, there is something about 1 Utama that everytime we come here to shop, she would be at her best behaviour.
Since our first visit was spent mostly at the old wing, we visited the nursing room in Jusco’s Children Department, Level 1. The room is large – with 2 changing tables, a couch at the entrance, and a few sections of the room fitted with curtains for mommies to breastfeed their babies in private.
- The nursing room is just next to a storage area. Box cartons are arranged so close to the room, making it look like part of a storage room.
- The box cartons are dusty – influences the air babies breathe
- The changing tables have a piece of changing mat on them that looks barely clean (a dad who came in to change his daughter was also apalled at how unhygienic the table is but quickly did his job after laying their own changing mat on top of the existing mat).
- The curtains for breastfeeding area show signs of wear and tear and I wonder how often do they send them for laundry.
Recently (about 2-3 weeks ago), I discovered another nursing area at the new wing, in Parkson.
luxurious and safe finishing - the walls are practically covered withToughcookie likes:
thick purple cushion-like material all over...
thick purple cushion-like material all over...
- The dim lighting – so relaxing for mommy and baby.
- The really large nursing rooms (there are 2, with curtains), with wide comfortable and cushioned bench. It's relatively spacious that you could even bring in your stroller.
- The individual nursing rooms allow complete privacy for mommy and baby.
- The entire walls are safe and secure as they are fitted with cushion-like materials.
- The colour of the area is a luxurious purple, very soothing to the eye.
- There are three changing tables, all decked with clean changing mats and a large bin to deposit those dirty diapers.
- The air-conditioning is just right.
- There would always be someone attending to the area, to ensure its cleanliness and comfort.
- The changing table is horizontal – making it slightly difficult for diaper-change and parking of stroller.
- The changing table is not that wide for baby’s toiletries. Hence, you’d need to be super efficient, or your baby would need to help you hold the wet tissues ;)
- Location – it is too far off if you’re shopping around the old wing.
Jusco - 1 cookie from toughcookie as it compromises on cleanliness and hygiene, an utmost important factor when it comes to babies.
Parkson - 5 cookies from toughcookie for its comfort (little jj totally loves it!), cleanliness, ambience, lighting, air-conditioning and spacious nursing area.
2 cookies from toughcookie. For such a reputable shopping mall with thousands of visitors daily, it is clearly unacceptable that there are only 2 nursing rooms in their main tenants. Bandar Utama developer should also shoulder the responsibility to give back to their loyal shoppers and have more nursing rooms throughout the levels, and every few areas.
For a shopping centre that sells furniture and home furnishings, we would only expect them to have the best looking nursing rooms. And best of all, from all the websites of our favourite shopping centres, Ikea is the only mall that mentions the location of their nursing room in their website.
- The way their furniture is put to the test.
- There are 2 changing tables with their spongy-airy changing mat and a pull-over large newsprint-like disposable material for use over the changing mat – ensuring hygiene and cleanliness.
- Table is vertical – eases diaper-change.
- Room is dimly lit, cosy and allows the right amount of air-conditioning.
- Curtain to cover mommy breastfeeding her baby.
- Location of nursing room is in the centre of everything and at both levels – if you are familiar with the floor layout, it is very easy to make your way through short-cuts to arrive there quickly.
- The room is clean and dry.
- Only ONE one-seater sofa for breastfeeding. So, once when there was another mommy feeding her baby, I laid little jj horizontally on the changing table and fed her standing up (go imagine yourself).
- The room can be pretty crampy when full (imagine daddies also coming in with strollers) – only a max of 1 stroller can fit in the room, and the mommy sitting on the one-seater will face direct another mom’s bottom, who’s doing diaper-change.
top pix: see the huge toilet-tissue-like roll just above the changing mat.
they're so useful in maintaining a clean and comfy changing area.
bottom pix: see how cramped the area looks and just one small
one-seater for one mommy at a time... but thumbs up for the curtain.
OVERALL VERDICT – 4 cookies from toughcookie, especially for the extra effort in providing the disposable large-sized tissue to cover the changing mat, the clever locations of the nursing room, comfort and hygiene.
Overall, Malaysia is not really a country that's breastfeeding-friendly no matter how much our local hospitals and our government promote breastfeeding.
I remembered those days (years and years ago) when women were strongly encouraged to breastfeed their young and emphasis was put to employers to provide nurseries in their workplace so that women can play their part for the benefit of their babies whilst at the same time contribute to the country’s economy.
Nowadays, even corporations who used to provide day care for their employees’ children no longer run such establishments. I can name a few but I don’t think I should.
The large shopping centres are not doing much in support for breasfeeding either. I'm not sure if this issue has been highlighted before...
Do women who breastfeed are considered a minority group, insignificant for such a big change in our shopping environment?
Do most women who breastfeed carry their milk in a bottle whilst shopping therefore making it easier for their babies to just drink from the bottle in the comfort of their baby strollers?
Or do women who breastfeed only stay at home and not shop?
Apart from the wondrous health benefits for mommy and baby, I breastfeed my baby because it is economical, it is clearly hygienic as there’s no need to sterilise bottles, it is safe as there’s no need to check the temperature of milk, I am able to save time on milk preparation (and lesser amount of baby crying due to speedier response time) and I carry less items in the diaper bag.
But this is not just about breasfeeding. Baby-changing needs a clean environment as well. So far, only 3 shopping locations passed little jj's standard of cleanliness - Ikea, Sunway Pyramid and Parkson 1 Utama.
Most baby-friendly shopping centre - Sunway Pyramid wins hands down for the numerous babyrooms at every floor, and almost all toilet stops.
Best baby room - Parkson 1 Utama
*1 cookie - very low quality
*2 cookies - low quality
*3 cookies - not bad, but not very good either
*4 cookies - quite okay with room for improvement
*5 cookies - perfect score! with little jj totally at ease.