Friday, May 18, 2018

The Happiest Place on Earth

What is the happiest place on Earth?

According to a 2017 United Nations agency report, it’s Norway. According to a 2015 film, it’s the new house you just bought. And according to my 5-year-old, it’s Disneyland. After all, it’s the theme park’s official tagline.

He pleaded to go to “the happiest place on Earth” for his birthday back in late April, so we planned a trip for him and his 6-month-old baby brother.

While Disneyland is almost tailor-made for 5- to 8-year-olds, I was told that taking a baby there can be a challenge. To make sure we have a happy family memory, I did lots of preparation: I stuffed my mommy bag with diapers, wipes, sunscreen, and other supplies. I marked the park's Baby Care Center location on the map and master the route from every attraction to the nursing room. I made a list of all the rides that babies can get on.

But my preparation was not super helpful. While our 5-year-old was very excited, the 6-month-old didn’t care much about the rides or the attractions. All he wanted was to be fed and take breaks whenever he liked. The Southern California sun was strong even in spring, which made him thirsty and demand to nurse even more often.

I’d rush to the nursing room located in the Baby Care Center whenever he showed the hunger cue, but it was not very practical. Disneyland does have great Baby Care Center with nursing rooms, but there are just two of them in the entire 510-acre park: one located at the end of Main Street in the Disneyland Park, the other one located at Pacific Wharf in the Disney California Adventure Park. Often by the time I got there, my baby has lost patience, got extremely fuzzy, and was crying like a…baby. And my 5-year-old was certainly not happy about the fun being interrupted by his baby brother!
I gave up the thoughts of rushing to the Baby Care Center just after two attempts. I just breastfed wherever the need came up.

So we breastfed on roadside benches...
On a bench in front of the sleeping beauty's castle.

When watching parades...
Watching the Pixar Play Parade.  

On rides...
On Flik's Fly in a bug's land.

When moving around...
Somewhere in the California Adventure Park.

In a restaurant. Of course, babies get to eat, too!
At Flo's V8 Cafe in car's land.

And when watching fireworks!
Watching "Believe...in Holy Magic" Fireworks.

It was actually easier to do it then I expected. I wore a regular T-shirt with a nursing tank underneath, and whenever my baby needed to eat, I just pull up my shirt and pull down my tank, brought him up to my breasts, and continue whatever I was doing. People rarely noticed that I was nursing. And once my baby got what he needed, he was much more calm and we all got to enjoy what Disneyland has to offer!

It turned out the happiest place on Earth is mom’s boobs and arms. And to those who told my 6-month-old to eat in a bathroom, this is how he responded.

This is an original post for San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition by To-wen Tseng. Photo credit to Mu-huan Chiang.

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