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Designing space with nursing moms in mind

Undoubtedly, new moms and experienced moms are faced with challenges each and every day. They lug car seats, diaper bags, extra clothes, pacifiers, burp cloths, you name it… all in the name of keeping their precious new baby secure and content. But when it comes to feeding her baby… well… that’s a new trick, too. For moms who choose to breastfeed, shopping with her infant brings on some added challenges… where to nurse, when to nurse and feeling secure while she’s doing it.

A recent editorial on public breastfeeding set off a firestorm debate from people on both sides of the fence – when and where it’s appropriate, and more. It’s a very passionate topic about a very human, emotional and natural bond between mom and her baby. And while we’re not going to join the debate around public breastfeeding (to each their own, we say), it did get us here at EMA thinking about how retailers might do better by mom, especially nursing moms.

If you read the article linked above, or heard about the “Nurse-Ins” held at retailers across the country last week, you may have noticed a common theme. Moms shopping with their babies don’t have a place to nurse privately and comfortably. But why couldn’t they? Moms are important to retailers, and retailers can show moms they understand that by designing stores with nursing moms in mind.

Baby-specific retailers, or even those that cater to busy moms, could start by creating mom-designated lounges specifically for moms looking to nurse or bottle-feed their babies. These spaces could feature:

  • Comfortable chairs that rock or recline
  • Soft music and dim lighting
  • A TV for some mom downtime (and perhaps a few toys and activities for an older child shopping with Mom and baby)
  • A single-serve brewer with some K-cups of decaf coffees, teas, and hot chocolate
  • Go the extra mile and stock the lounge with diapers, wipes and burp cloths

The area wouldn’t need to mirror a high-end spa, nor require too much valuable retail space. But a little bit of effort and a secure, relaxing environment, could go a long way with moms if retailers started to truly think about what her daily routine is like with a new baby along.

As a mom, I would appreciate any retailer that offered such a space… and they’d have my business for good. It’s one of the reasons I shop at the grocery store that I do – it stocks its very clean restrooms with diapers, wipes and training pants of all sizes. As marketers, we understand that retail space is precious and rare, but as noted above, a little bit can go a long way. And if the ultimate goal is building loyalty among moms, we think this is a simple way retailers can begin to do it.