What should you expect from a public parent and baby room?

More than a plastic chair in a pokey cubicle, according to one mum...

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We’ve no doubt all had one of those moments when we’re out shopping with our baby and could do with a minute to gather ourselves.

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Perhaps your wee one needs a feed and for whatever reason you’d rather do it privately (not that you have to – it’s just some people’s preference to do it that way).

Or your little one’s fussing and you need some time away from the hustle and bustle of the shop to calm them (and you) down.

And now, lots of bigger department stores offer ‘parents’ rooms’ for these very reasons – a space for those with little ones to go behind locked doors for a while.

But what do you think they should look like? What should they have available?

One mum’s story

One mum from Nottingham isn’t convinced all the retailers are getting it right in this department. 

Sarah Matthews, 35, was out shopping with her 6-month-old daughter Olive earlier this week, and had this to say on Instagram, along with a pic of the room:

“So this is what Debenhams in Nottingham classes as a ‘parents’ room’, she said, according to the Nottingham Post.

“A plastic chair in what should be a toilet cubicle.

“I don’t know anyone who would choose to sit in here to feed their baby regardless of how uncomfortable they might feel about feeding in public.”

“To walk in to what you assume is the toilet, only to find a plastic chair and a locked disabled toilet is frustrating to say the least.

“Cue a trek back across to the other side of shop floor to fetch key for said disabled toilet and you have one fed-up mum.”

Whoa – she’s definitely not happy ?

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What the store said

Debenhams were swift to respond to the post, with representatives from the Nottingham branch saying:

“[We are] dedicated to making our facilities as family-friendly as possible and our store manager is a breastfeeding mum herself.

“The chair was placed into the baby changing facilities in case a parent would like to briefly sit down, not specifically for breastfeeding.

“Mums are welcome to breastfeed anywhere in our store, restaurant and café.

“Our store manager is more than happy to sit down with Ms Matthews to discuss her concerns further.”

The debate

And it sparked a huge debate – with responses on both sides of the fence.

 “That’s terrible,” said one person.

“That’s so bad – it definitely looks more like a torture room / toilet. I’m avoiding,” said another.

On the other side of the coin though…

“Some people are just ungrateful! At least they have provided an area where she can feed her baby. Get a grip woman!!”

“Bloo*y hell….what do you want ?…. a big lounge with a comfy sofa? Welcome to the real world Ms Matthews….you’re not entitled to special privileges just because you’re a new Mum…lots of shops don’t even provide this…stop whining.”

Wow – definitely a talker, this one ?

What do you think?

What’s your experience of in-store parents rooms? Do you think it’s good enough for stores to provide a room however small or basic?

Or do you think there should be a bit more thought put into them?

Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook

Images: Second photo Sarah Matthews on Instagram

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