Traveling with a baby: Nurseries in Japan
I've read many questions on Facebook groups from moms or families worrying about how they will care for their little one while in Japan. Few blogs truly share the insights of what is available for families to use. So I hope this information will put some mommy hearts at ease.
You find yourself planning a trip to Japan with your family and your little babe who’s still in diapers and either breast- or bottle-fed and you’re looking to have the best and most convenient time possible.
You've likely been reading a million blog posts on where to go and what to do, but most of them just don't include information on the facilities available to mummies and babies.
So, today I'll talk about and explain the nurseries found in Japanese malls. Depending on which mall you go to and where the nursery is located, the sizes may vary as well as the equipment inside.
Some smaller nurseries are more basic with just a diaper-changing area and a place for nursing while others may have a lot more space and various kinds of equipment that can be used for either feeding, measuring, or weighing.
And the best part of these nurseries is they're free to use! You just go inside do your thing and be merry on your way to have more fun!
Of course, some nurseries you need to pay entrance, these will probably be located inside of a paid park or activity place, this shouldn't be an issue if you're planning to do the activity anyway. But, they are free to use within malls or shopping centers.
Upon entering the nursery, you may notice that the area is split into two sections:
- The outer section is usually where all the equipment and measuring tools will be, fathers are allowed in this section.
- The inner section is for mothers only and no men are allowed here because this is where mothers may safely nurse their babies.
The diaper changing station
The first thing you may notice when entering is the diaper changing area. These look different depending on the nursery you are in. The lines on the changing mat are to get an estimated length of your baby (other, larger nurseries will have a separate piece of equipment just for measuring your baby).
You may notice on the wall a set of instructions or a warning on how to properly use the changing area, like don't leave your child unattended or allow them to stand etc. Some stations may also have special papers to lay your baby on top of for hygienic purposes.
Always keep the area clean like you found it and always keep an eye on your baby.
Disposing of the diapers
The diaper disposal will always be marked clearly as omutsu or おむつ. There will also usually be little plastic bags close to the trashcans. Place your dirty diaper in the bag and throw away in the appropriate disposal.
In this particular nursery there are two types of diaper disposals, one is electronic, the other is just an average trashcan. Use the electronic one for poopy diapers or very smelly diapers and the normal trashcan for a normal urine diaper.
Weight and measurements
This nursery only had the baby scale, and the measurements were lines on the diaper changing station, other nurseries may have the actual device used for measuring a baby's length. Feel free to use this equipment along with the information on the walls to ensure your baby is growing at a healthy pace.
I often go to a nursery to weigh and measure my son between doctor visits to ensure he's still growing properly. AS it turns out, I have a long and skinny boy, but on a good track according to the charts. They really help with ease of mind.
Bottle feeding/solid foods
The equipment used for bottle fed babies will be outside along with the rest of the equipment in the area where fathers are allowed.
Depending on the nursery you could find things such as a hot water dispenser, a sink, and a microwave. This nursery didn’t have the space for a microwave, but I have seen other nurseries with full sized microwaves in.
The nursery rooms
And finally, the inner area of the nursery is only for women. Mommies may safely breastfeed in their own private little enclosed are. It’s large enough for a stroller to fit in and the seats are very comfortable.
Take note: The nursery photographed in this article is one found in my local AEON Mall, most nurseries I’ve come across are similar to this one. Some may have some extra amenities such as diaper vending machines, microwaves etc.
I also urge you not to rely on convenience stores for changing pads, I haven't come across one yet that has this installed. My baby had a major blow-out nappy once while we were taking a road trip, and it was painfully difficult trying to change him in 7/11. Some crazy acrobatics happened that day and we still ended up full of poo.
I never thought that I would be one to use the nurseries here, but I find myself using them at least once every time I go to the mall.
I hope this information will help someone feel more at ease bringing their little ones along on what will be the vacation of a lifetime in Japan.
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