Breastfeeding didn’t exactly come easy to me. Although I knew the breastfeeding basics before my first son’s arrival, I was totally unprepared for the challenges that it would bring, particularly in public places. I was still getting the hang of all those new mom things, and I felt self-conscious about nursing outside of my home. The fear of not-so-open-minded strangers giving me dirty looks, the thought of sitting on an uncomfortable mall bench or in a fast-food bathroom for 45 minutes….ugh! I made the switch to formula after a few months of struggling.
When my next son was born 3 years later, I was determined to give breastfeeding another try. I made it my mission to become more educated about breastfeeding and find a support system. One of the first things I did when I brought my younger son home from the hospital was to contact the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor through my local health department. Bless this woman for coming to my house, helping me learn the most comfortable breastfeeding positions and sharing tips to help me feel less awkward about nursing in public. I will soon be going back to work for the first time as a nursing mom (now with my daughter) and I have already been in contact with the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor for tips on pumping in the workplace. I would absolutely suggest seeking help if you are struggling with your breastfeeding journey!
I also discovered that Kansas law supports breastfeeding in public.
Feeding my son while in a store or at a restaurant, covered or uncovered, wasn’t something I should feel ashamed of! When I confided in a friend that I still felt a little anxious to nurse around other people, she gave me the advice to start by going outside on my porch to breastfeed. This was great advice! Do what feels comfortable if you’re concerned about modesty. An infinity breastfeeding scarf was my favorite choice during cooler days because it was convenient and lightweight, but also kept my son warm.
Finding Breastfeeding-Friendly Businesses in (and Around) Wichita
The Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition is a wealth of information if you’re looking for resources about breastfeeding-friendly businesses. Wichita has earned a Communities Supporting Breastfeeding Designation, meaning that the city provides “multi-faceted breastfeeding support across several sectors: businesses, employers, hospitals, child care providers and peer support” (per ksbreastfeeding.org).
A friend recently brought to my attention Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition’s campaign called Breastfeeding Welcome Here. The businesses participating in this campaign have pledged to provide a welcoming environment to all breastfeeding mothers and to educate staff about breastfeeding laws in Kansas. Participating businesses can be found by clicking on the appropriate county. You can also download apps like Moms Pump Here or pumpspotting that allow you to search by zip code or city to locate breastfeeding-friendly locations.
Nursing Lounges in Wichita
While Kansas law does say that a mother has the right to breastfeed in any place the mother has a right to be, there are times when you need a little privacy. I have personally visited many of these locations and the others were recommended by local moms on our neighborhood group Facebook pages. If you’re craving a quiet corner for nursing or pumping or have a squirmy toddler to keep track of, here are several options for you:
Sedgwick County Zoo – The new entryway to the Sedgwick County Zoo was completed in May 2021 and along with the completed entryway, a private breastfeeding room was added. Just off the women’s restroom by the main entrance is a private lounge with a sink and comfy chairs that can be utilized by nursing or pumping mothers.
Von Maur – This upscale department store located in Town East Square offers a designated room that includes a couch and a changing table with extra diapers available.
Whole Foods – A private nursing mother’s room with a light dimmer, comfortable chair, changing table and toddler toys solidifies this retailer’s pro-breastfeeding stance.
Buy Buy Baby – A fully loaded nursing room with a bottle warmer, sound machine, nursing cover, recliners, light dimmer and changing station is available at this Wichita retailer of all things baby.
Mason & Mason Dentistry- A private room is available for staff to breastfeed and pump; they will also accommodate nursing moms who are patients upon request.
Davis-Moore Chrysler – This car dealership and service center offers a room for nursing moms, too! It’s on the second level, above the service center – just ask an employee to take you up.
Scholfield Honda – Their East location offers a nursing lounge and an additional play area for children, making it very accommodating for families. They have even been recognized
in 2017 with the Silver Level Breastfeeding Employees Support Award from the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition and its Business Case for Breastfeeding program.
El Dorado TrueCare Pharmacy – This retail pharmacy has 2 private consultation rooms available to ensure full privacy for nursing moms. They also provide a health-care grade Boppy pillow with easy-to-change disposable covers to make you and your baby more comfortable while giving even the most germaphobic mother peace of mind.