Moscow – baby practicalities

So, with the basic travel and transportation practicalities out of the way, what about the baby practicalities? Meaning, how did we manage to keep Little Man fed, clean and happy? Well, to start, I only saw one baby changing facility in the whole city – in the train station near our hotel (Kievsky Railway Station). I didn’t check it out, but I noticed it was down a set of stairs. There goes easy access…
I initially thought American chains would have baby changing facilities – McDonalds, Dunkin’ Donuts, the two Starbucks (of the five in the city) I found – but no luck. The McDonalds by the Kremlin and Red Square did have a counter big enough for me to fit Little Man on and change him, but I couldn’t even fit the stroller through the toilet door of one of the Starbucks.
So it came to some improvisation for me instead. We’ve gotten very skilled at changing Little Man in his stroller, discreetly on a banquette in the middle of a restaurant, on the floor of a bathroom in a museum, on a park bench…anywhere. As long as you have a clean nappy, a good changing mat and some quick hands, I’m sure every parent is able to change their baby when the need arises. Interestingly, the only comment I had was in the Cosmonaut Museum, I was changing Little Man on the floor of the spacious bathroom and a women said something to me in Russian. I apologised and said, English only, and she said to me, smiling: “not the best place to change him but needs must.” I think she understood that the facilities are definitely lacking…
The other importance with babies is making sure they’re fed. Now, I am exclusively breastfeeding, so my needs are very different than parents using bottles. I don’t have to constantly be in the search for ways to sterilise bottles, refrigeration or warming devices or even clean bibs. I can just “pull ’em out” and start feeding. Travelling to an unfamiliar country, though, brings the worry of their acceptance of breastfeeding in public. We are lucky to live in an area of London where breastfeeding in public is not only supported, but sometimes very much encouraged. Most businesses have stickers in their windows saying “Breastfeeding Welcome” and mothers can be found happily feeding their children in all levels of covering up – from none at all to the very discreet mum with the oh-so-popular cover called Bébé au Lait. I sometimes use the two-layer vest top (aka tank top) over t-shirt method or a big muslin (Aden and Anais are my absolute favourite) tied in the corner and looped over me. I’ve also used scarves or cardigans to cover up too. Any way, I usually make sure that no extra skin is showing when feeding Little Man.

I even fed on the steps of a chapel in the Kremlin…

When abroad, I definitely take more precautions and am very discreet compared to my familiar turf. I always make sure I have a few muslins with me to use as a cover up.
In Moscow, as we were waiting for our bags, my questions were answered with one visual – a woman, walking through the baggage claim area with some family members (her mother and sister, perhaps?) walking and feeding her baby at the same time. And it was very obvious she was breastfeeding from a very well-endowed breast with no motion to even consider covering up.
I don’t think breastfeeding a baby is obscene or pornographic. I think it is one of the most natural things to do. i know there are those who think it is disgusting, obscene, vulgar or any other negative adjective you can think of, but not me. If you think about it, it is one of the most natural things in the animal planet (yes, cats, dogs, lions, bears, pandas, etc all nurse their young too), so I think anyone who treats any woman negatively for it should look at a bikini or lingerie advert again and make the same comments, as I bet there is more breast showing in those than what I, or most breastfeeding women, show when feeding Little Man.
In Moscow, I had no problems feeding Little Man in public. We feed where we need to – restaurants, cafes, park benches, trains, even while walking (I mastered the walk and feed early on). Most people didn’t even bat an eye or pay us any attention while feeding, which was great.
So, I think that’s it for Moscow. Three posts later and I’ve said my bit. Next up is a recap of Little Man with us in Istanbul when he was three months old…


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