Everybody knows that nursing your baby is a special experience that not only nourishes your baby’s body but also strengthens the mother-child bond. But when you're out and about, it can tricky to find a clean, comfortable, and effective place to breastfeed—particularly if you have a curious infant who reacts to noise and light—not to mention pump milk if you're separated. As we enter the heart of spring and start planning fun outings to museums, ballparks, and other popular places around town, we're scoping out cushy spots where you can escape the elements, crowded seating, and leering eyes to take care of your baby's needs in peace. (Note that Massachusetts state law permits women to breastfeed openly in any public space or establishment, and imposes a $500 fine for harassing a nursing mom.)
The Sox organization hit a home run when Fenway became the first MLB stadium to offer nursing mothers a lactation pod. A few years ago, the stadium added a Mamava lactation suite in which moms can breastfeed or pump with complete privacy. The Mamava pod offers dual seating, a fold-down table, a power outlet for a breast pump, and space for a stroller. To find the Mamava suite, ask at the Kid Nation Clubhouse near Gate B and the first base line, and a fan ambassador can unlock the pod for your use. In addition to the Mamava pod, Fenway has three family restrooms located throughout the park.
A few years ago, a Pats-fan mom started a petition on change.org to persuade the organization to provide a nursing space for moms during games. Now, Gillette offers a nursing station on the West 100-level concourse. In the midfield First Aid station, there are three separate, private nursing pods with swivel chairs, a power outlet, and lots of space to spread out your gear.
Boston Children’s Museum
Obviously, this place is all about kids and families, so moms happily nurse all over the place. But a particularly great spot to feed or pump is in the PlaySpace. An area specifically designed for kids under three years old to explore and create, the PlaySpace also offers a Family Resource Room for caregivers and a private nursing room for mothers and babies.
Museum of Fine Arts
Nursing mothers at the MFA can make use of the first floor private nursing room off the Hemicycle Gallery, near the hallway connecting the American galleries and the mid-20th Century Gallery. In addition, the MFA offers baby changing rooms throughout the museum that can double as nursing rooms, and there are some comfy, not-too-populated leather couches on the second floor where moms also tend to find some breastfeeding peace.
Boston Museum of Science
The Museum of Science openly encourages moms to feed their babies anywhere in the Museum. Should you desire additional privacy, you can use the first aid room, which includes a recliner, electrical outlets for breast pumps, and a small table. For access, inquire at the info desk in the main lobby.
New England Aquarium
The Aquarium doesn't have a designated lactation spot, but we've heard that if you ask at the information desk, staffers will open the First Aid room to allow women to feed or pump in peace. Nursing moms we know like to scope out a far bench in the light-filled Marine Mammal Center, particularly in between the seal training sessions, when crowds are at a minimum.
Get thee to the State House! There's a lactation room for both the public and employees at this majestic Beacon Hill building. The room is on the fifth floor, with an attached bathroom and a chair and footstool. To access the room, request the key from the Bureau of State Office Buildings on the first floor, inside the main entrance.
Hynes Convention Center
On the edge of Copley Place, the Hynes Convention Center offers a designated nursing room on the first floor for quick access. Breastfeeding mothers should seek out the first aid station in the main lobby, where a nurse should be on duty. During hours when the first aid station is unattended, a security guard can unlock the door.
The Prudential Center
The Prudential Center has its own nursing station, and shoppers at Lord & Taylor can hit the ladies’ lounge, separate from the bathroom with comfortable couches and changing stations. Plus, like all Magic Beans toy and gear stores around the city and 'burbs, the shop at the Pru welcomes mothers to relax and nurse in their nursing rockers on the floor.
Need to feed your baby before the big flight? Nursing rooms are available both pre- and post-security in Terminal A—with sinks, changing counters, and fold-down seats. Logan also offers Mamava lactation pods at Terminals C and E: in the Terminal E women’s restroom lobby near Gate E9 departures, and on the departures level between Gates C8 and E1. Just as at Fenway, the pods provide two benches and electrical outlets, but are large enough to fit a family of four plus luggage.
In nice weather, as long as you don't need to plug in, nursing on a blanket or unpopulated bench in the Common and Public Garden is a pleasure. Need more inspiration? Consider an outing to the Common on Friday, April 28, 2017, where there will be a Nationwide "Nurse-In" from 12-2 pm to call attention to national breastfeeding laws in the workplace and in public spaces.
Photo of Fenway Park courtesy of Mamava.