Today I took the baby to a pediatric cardiologist in Nahariya for a follow-up – the NICU doctors recommended we take him to different specialists for each of the concerns they had right after his birth. (The doctor said everything is normal and that there’s no reason to come back for another six months, when we’ll check everything again.)
Visits to the pediatrician and for blood work are easily taken care of locally. But all of the specialists are located in different cities, and this adds a component of stress to the experience. The night before I have a visit, I spend a lot of time figuring out which bus to take to whatever city I’m going to, then which intercity bus to take once there, and how to get from the bus stop to the office I need.
Then early in the morning, I wake up early in order to have time to pump so that I’ll be able to take a bottle with me, and also nurse the baby. Until today I’ve taken the electric pump with me and have to find a place to use it so that I can prepare a second bottle while I’m out.
So a good bit of this pressure is related to needing to have bottles ready for when I go out. This is because we’re still at a transitional point with nursing; it’s going very well but where we’re at right now is more typical of a few days after birth than five weeks. That means that he needs a lot of help latching on and staying latched on, which is really hard to do discretely; this requires more privacy than generally is available in a public place and I can’t do it with a blanket thrown over my shoulder. I’ve been dreading these appointments more and more since they are so wearying and take so much energy to prepare for, over six hours away from home due to using public transportation, and then I’m so tired when I get home that I have to rest.
Today I went to a part of Nahariya that I’ve never been to before, so there was the usual effort involved in trying to figure out how to get there. Once I arrived, I was over an hour early for my appointment, so I strolled through the mall where the office was located. As I got to the third floor, opposite the cardiology clinic, I was surprised to see a room with a sign: “Nursing and changing room”. I pushed the door, expecting it to be locked (it looked dark and unoccupied) but was pleasantly surprised when it swung open.
Inside was a simple setup – a couple of padded chairs, a low table, and a sink. Nothing fancy. But it was quiet and it was private – and it was perfect! For the first time in all of the traveling I’ve been doing with the baby since he was born, I was able to nurse him somewhere except for at home. It was so, so relaxing. Sometimes you don’t realize how much tension you carry around with you until you don’t have it!
And for the first time since doing all of this traveling, I didn’t need to give the baby a bottle. He was content during the entire doctor visit, slept soundly for the next two and a half hours until we got home, and I didn’t need any bottles at all during the entire 6.5 hours we were out! Having this room made such a huge difference to my day – I was so grateful and wished I knew who thought of the idea so that I could personally thank them.
Maybe these rooms are common – this is the first I’ve seen in Israel, but until very recently I wouldn’t have been looking! If so, it’s a trend that will hopefully catch on and become much more widespread.
Do you have nursing rooms in public areas near where you live? Are they common or hard to find?