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