Mom Had to Fight for Her Right to Babywear in Public!

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A friend of mine, Kerri Christie from Washington, moved around the same time I did, but she relocated to Phoenix, Arizona. Along with being a fellow breastfeeding advocate, Kerri is also a mother who utilizes baby-wearing rather than strollers.

Her adorable son Oliver loves music, and when she discovered her new town had a Musical Instrument Museum, she was excited to attend with her son. That is, until she learned that they had a policy that would make her visit not only miserable, but frankly, pretty impossible.

They didn't allow baby-wearing.

In the email exchanges between Kerri and the museum, they stated that their policy was "an effort to help preserve and protect [their] objects and collections on display for many generations to come," and they provided "courtesy strollers" for use by guests.

Aside from the fact that strollers are more likely to run into things or trip people than a baby held up next to mom's body, many children who are used to baby-wearing don't tolerate strollers anyway. How often at zoos or other exhibits do you see one parent carrying a child while the other pushes the empty stroller?

Kerri persisted, insisting that she discovered many other museums banned backpack-hiking style carriers, which is understood as a turning parent could run into something, but that a child in a front carrier was the least likely to interfere with exhibits, and really was no different than a child being carried in the parents' arms (which, of course, is not prohibited). The museum is child-friendly, as there is even an area for children to be able to get down and play with many instruments provided to them.

The exchange between the two was frustrating and Kerri begin to get exasperated, and also mentioned that many the breastfeeding mother utilizes the natural cover of a baby carrier to aid in breastfeeding in public.

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. After many frustrating emails and no implication that Kerri's concerns were being heard, she finally received a short but great response:

After considering your concerns, MIM will clarify our guest policy to expressly allow front-side baby carriers into our galleries.

Yay! So now Kerri and her son Oliver have been able to attend the museum with no problem (free of charge!), have helped save future baby-wearing moms an unpleasant surprise, and the museum won't have to deal with the load of angry (and confused) parents that Kerri was gathering together with a petition as well. Three cheers for mom activism, and an establishment that heard, considered, and understood the complaints of potential guests.

Have you ever had issues baby-wearing anywhere?

 

Image via Kerri Christie

babywearing, natural parenting, kid-friendly

43 Comments

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jalaz77 jalaz77

No. I would think they would more likely ban strollers as you stated in this article.

Littl... LittleManMama

That is crazy. But thankfully sense prevailed.

Joy Krell Hopkins

That policy just didn't make sense at all. A child in a carrier is less likely to mess with something. If my child is in a stroller I often find myself so distracted and they're bored and reaching out to mess with things; not to mention they're bulky. 


But if I wear my child? They're usually touching my face, snoozing or just looking around. 



Weird! Glad there was a happy ending.

Laura Doula Slomkowski

LOL Naomi has in fact knocked a few things over in a back carry at a store. However in front carries she really can't. I've knocked more over with strollers than Naomi EVER has in a carrier. HA! 


I'm glad that she was able to have the museum change it's policy. Good for her!

Casie Fruin Ellison

I am sure the policy was intended to cover back carries, since backpacks of any kind are usually banned in museums (much easier to knock stuff over without even realizing it) but applying it to front carries is just ridiculous. Glad that they clarified the policy!

rerra... rerratron

Holy Christmas. A mother and an establishment was able to come to a common-sense solution in regards to parenting in public. This is wonderful!

jpfsmom jpfsmom

Bizarre policy...

Charlotte M Spurrill-Kayser

Yeah, that's pretty insane.  At least they changed thier policy in the end to something that makes sense.

Gina Crosley-Corcoran

This SAME EXACT THING happened to me at the Art Institute in Chicago. They flat out refused to allow us entry if we were wearing my son. They said my son's feet could accidentally knock over a sculpture? Are you on drugs? I think a child running loose poses a MUCH bigger risk to knocking something over, AND, since when are sculptures within reach anyway? There's a fence and a freaking alarm around every single one. SO STUPID. They ALSO would not allow us to bring in our diaper bag. I threw a big 'ol Twitter tantrum over it, but nothing has changed as far as I can tell.

Kerri Christie

Thank you, Christie!  And as a note, anyone with a Bank of America account can get in for free the first full weekend of the month; that's how we did it.  Check out their "Museums on Us" program in your town for more freebies.  And @Casie, they actually expressly forbade front carries as well, that's why I got the bee in my bonnet!

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