Saturday, 19 October 2013

Mamas' etiquette

I've never been  the world's greatest follower of etiquette, and motherhood presents numerous novel challenges to my manners know-how.

Where is it acceptable to change a baby's nappy, do you suppose? I usually change Orson while he lies in his pushchair, on a little mat, when i'm out and about (which is most of the time). But where is and isn't this acceptable? Can I do it in the street? In a cafe? What about if the cafe has no change table and I can't fit the pushchair in the toilet? Is it weird if i put his mat on the pavement and change him there?

Breastfeeding is the classic minefield. Apparently its not okay in the swimming pool. I'd rather not do it on the bus (but have had to at times). I'd probably avoid it in a fancy restaurant. Is this right? Or should I parade womens and babies rights to feed and be fed wherever and whenever its necessary?

More specifically to me, what are the (implicit) rules about talks and conferences? Can I bring my baby to your presentation? Is light gurgling an acceptable background noise or a thoughtless interruption? Is screaming a shortlived disruption or a mortifying disaster? Are there any workshops/conferences that provide creches, or is it understood that when people are working, they don't bring their children?

Thoughts please!


Anonymous said...

I am pretty fine with folks nappy changing anywhere except around where people are eating. In that case, I think quickly changing the wet nappy of a new born ok but changing a poo nappy of a toddler is not on just due to the smell and hygiene. In the toddler case I would go to the bathroom and do it on a matt in there if I could. As for breastfeeding, I think it is fine to do that anywhere. If people are bothered they can avert their eyes.
Re. Conferences/papers. I think it is fine to go as long as you are prepared to step out if the child gets noisy. That said, some age groups of children are unlikely to sit quietly for a whole talk (12mo. to 4years old) and it seems like wishful thinking to expect that they will. In the case of those ages I think it really depends on your child and whether there is some quiet activity that appeals to them which you can rely on occupying for the period of the talk. RB

giulia said...

about conferences. slowly but surely, it seems that conference organizers are becoming more attentive to the issue - so it is increasingly often the case that conferences will offer childcare facilities (still a minority of cases of course, but that's still better than nothing).
you might find some of the posts/threads here quite informative and useful in this sense: