Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Airport Lounge?

This week, I got off of a plane in DC way too early for a Sunday morning, and headed straight for the ladies room instead of baggage claim. As the line moved up I saw a sign on the first stall that read “Nursing Lounge”.  I've traveled a lot recently and this is the first time I've noticed this kind of designation. If I didn't have breakfast, a Bloody Mary and a brother waiting on me, I would've investigated further.

I asked my sister-in-law, a new mom who frequents that airport, if she had crossed the threshold of this new "lounge". She was just as perplexed and inquisitive as me. Through her struggles, I sympathize with the precision planning it takes for nursing families to travel. From booking flights to coincide with naps, to negotiating traffic and airport security in time for the next feeding and THEN finding a place to relax so the feeding can actually occur. I need a nap just considering the logistics. 

Nursing moms, you will be glad to know, there is a place for you, at least in the US Air terminal at DCA.

On my way back to Southwest Florida a few days later, I found myself in the same bathroom,  only this time ready to gather intelligence. I was curious, just what was in that stall? A recliner? Another toilet? No one else in line dared peek in, for fear of retribution from a hormonal, lactating woman who had just been patted down by a complete stranger.

This space seemed much more sacred to violate than a handicapped stall when you’re not handicapped. But if the line is out the door and there's a toilet in the "Nursing Lounge", I'm gonna start packing a "Hush Little Baby" in my carry on to get in there.

I fidgeted and looked around. There was only one woman in line behind me so I took out my iPhone and snapped a photo of the door. As she wrinkled her nose at me I took a deep breath and said,  “I’m going in." 
The single girl with a carry-on, slowly cracked the door open only to see a plastic changing table and a hard wooden bench to sit on. What?  No lava lamps, blankets or even a decorative pillow to lean up against and NO toilet?

Disappointment immediately set in. I liked the cool, sexy bathroom retreat I had made up in my mind; complete with a hot, shirtless Latin man to rub a tired mom's swollen feet.

Oh well, at least my maternal friends have a somewhat private place to sit and feed their precious cargo without the curious stares of strangers. And without the harmless interference of elder women who want to peak underneath the nursing blanket to look at that adorable baby, then give unsolicited advise on how to raise him/her.....bless their hearts.

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