This story is featured in CityBeat's May 3 print edition.
No matter the time or place, nursing your baby in public is a human right. While Ohio law protects parents who just want to whip it out and feed the little one, parents often struggle to find an enjoyable nursing space that isn’t a public bathroom. CityBeat asked the parents of the Cincinnati Moms and Friends Facebook group to share their favorite places to nurse or pump in public. The result was a resounding “anywhere!” but parents still noted that comfortable nursing hideaways come in many different forms. As hot summer days approach and crowds start to fill family-friendly spaces, these are some of the best spots for nursing your baby in peace.
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens
There’s something about being surrounded by exotic animals and their babies that makes nursing feel like an exciting act of nature. Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens has plenty of benches along scenic, shaded paths perfect for nursing, but the zoo also offers two dedicated nursing rooms. Known as “nursing nests,” these rooms can be found near the zoo’s Base Camp Cafe and in Mai Thai’s Market. After hours of walking in the sun, moms can relax on the nursing nest’s comfortable couches to pump or feed baby. The rooms are air conditioned, which is a godsend on hot days when sweat builds up between you and baby. The nursing nests also offer toys to entertain any other children that may be in tow, which is especially helpful if you’re running the zoo visit solo that day.
Fifty West Brewing
In the warmer months, Fifty West Brewing looks like a summer camp for kids and grownups alike. The family-friendly (yet legitimately cool) atmosphere means many other patrons are parents, too, and they don’t give a shit if you’re feeding your newborn out in the open. Seasoned parents usually don’t have a problem whipping it out whenever, but parents new to public breastfeeding might find comfort in community at a place like Fifty West. Plus, that notorious nursing appetite will be more than satisfied by their famous burgers and shakes.
Great American Ballpark
When it comes to nursing and pumping amenities, Great American Ballpark is by far the best local sports stadium for new parents. The Reds went all out with two Pampers nursing rooms, one on the Suite Level near the Bally Sports Club elevators, and the other on the View Level near sections 536/537. The air conditioned rooms offer a kitchenette with a sink, a private restroom, changing stations, and lockers for storing items during the game. For parents who lucked out with a babysitter but still need to keep up with a pumping schedule, both nursing lounges offer refrigerators to keep that liquid gold chilled. And remember, you always have the right to simply pop open your overalls and feed your baby without missing an inning. Hell, if that Cincinnati dad can famously catch a fly ball while bottle feeding his baby, who says you can’t catch a homer while breastfeeding?
Nordstrom at Kenwood Mall
Going to the Kenwood Mall with your kid(s) on a busy Saturday can be nightmarish in and of itself. Nursing in uncomfortable chairs in a crowded food court or a sticky public bathroom can be another headache entirely, especially if you have multiple little ones by your side. Enter Nordstrom. Yes, the retailer is not always affordable for new parents, but shopping isn’t a requirement to use their ultra comfortable nursing and changing rooms tucked away on the second floor. Nordstrom’s nursing room is quiet and dimly lit, which can be a nice contrast to the fluorescent chaos of shopping. Fancy high-back nursing chairs with arm rests are positioned next to side tables with outlets so you can recharge your phone and your sanity. Pro tip: hit up Nordstrom’s Ebar on your way into the store for an artisan coffee to sip while you nurse.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing, and parents deserve a view to match the experience. Nursing in the gorgeous greenspaces of Ault Park in Mt. Lookout makes you feel like you’re living in a renaissance masterpiece. If you’re visiting Ault Park during the spring months, consider pausing your family stroll under one of the park’s weeping cherry trees. The sun shining through the pink and white cherry blossoms casts a glowy light and smells fresh and sweet, feeding your soul while you feed your little one. Or snag a bench (with armrests) at Ault Park’s Heekin Overlook for a stunning panoramic view of the Little Miami River Valley.
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