Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Shopping is the new daycare

"Look, there is another one here! It could almost be a daycare!" giggles the shopping assistant peeking into my dressing room.

I step outside, and indeed there they are, two other thirty-something moms like me with their under ten months babies. One of them is perusing the racks while talking to her son, who is contently chewing on a piece of bread. "Isn't this more fun than staying at home?"

Being there myself with my baby boy I could not agree more. All of a sudden, I remembered those dreadful days six years ago when my older son had just been born, by myself in our apartment while my husband was at work. It was so depressing. Being a first-time mom I had not yet discovered the liberating, empowering feeling of going outside. For one, the fresh air is good for babies (I have at least two friends whose babies will sleep only if they are outside). Second, a nice stroll will break the blur of feedings, diaper changes, and crying meltdowns that, let's be honest, can be unbearable at times.

When my older son was a baby, I limited my outings to the park or a big mall. I was feeling uncomfortable to go into stores for the fear he would start crying or I would have had to feed him under the watchful eyes of the other childless customers and the sales associates. Second-time motherhood has given me more confidence, so this time I started going into regular stores when my baby was quite small. I discovered that dressing rooms are the easiest and most comfortable place for nursing and changing. When your baby is not yet mobile, a blanket put on the floor of the dressing room will also be ideal for some kicking and leg-stretching, like my baby boy happily did this morning.

Perhaps I was most impressed because I was at Holt Renfrew, Montreal's high-end (and somewhat snobbish) department store. I would have never imagined that there I would have gotten the warmest welcome with my baby. Beware of GAP Baby downtown -- there you are lucky if you get a stroller accessible spot.

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