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Changing diapers in a public restroom and more questions

Japan With Kids - Forums: Traveling to/from and in Japan: Changing diapers in a public restroom and more questions
By kicki svanstrom on Sunday, April 16, 2006 - 5:08 pm:

Im travelling to Funabashi on Tuesday and were staying for ten days. Ive never been to Japan before and would like to get some help with a few questions if someone has a few minutes to spare.

*Is there facilities for changing diapers in public restrooms? When travelling in England and Holland I always had to lay down my son on the floor when changing diapers and Id like to know how it looks like in Japan.

*Baby food brands and diapers, whre do I buy them and whats it called?

*My son still breastfeeds, is that ok to do in public?

Anything else to think about?

Thank you!

By Bethan Hutton on Sunday, April 16, 2006 - 7:26 pm:

Japan is pretty baby-friendly - much more so than the UK, in my experience.

Restrooms in department stores, hotels, museums, family restaurants etc will nearly always have a fold-down diaper changing table or a cot for diaper changing. Other places are more hit and miss - many smaller restaurants only have tiny, squat-down style toilets with no room even to put a baby on the floor. Park and station toilets are improving, and many now have a "multi-purpose toilet" suitable for wheelchair users, parents with small children etc, and these often have the fold-down changing tables. But it's worth bringing a small changing mat for the times when the floor or a park bench is the only option.

Baby food can be found in supermarkets and pharmacies. There is one western brand, Gerber, which is widely available (though some recipes have been adapted for Japanese tastes); Japanese brands include Wakodo, Kewpie etc. The jars of food are pretty self-explanatory, but the packages of dried food or microwaveable containers may take a bit more working out. Baby food is "baby foodo" or "rinyushoku".

Diapers are called o-mutsu, and main brands are Pampers, Moonie, Goon and others. Most have size ranges in kilos marked fairly clearly on the packages.

Breastfeeding in public is not a problem. Not many Japanese mothers do it (out of shyness, I think), but people are very tolerant, and I (and plenty of other people I know) have breastfed pretty much everywhere - restaurants, parks, long-distance trains and so on. You might get a few funny looks if you tried breastfeeding on a subway or commuter train as they are so cramped and public.

Department stores and shopping malls often have "baby rest rooms" with breastfeeding rooms, changing tables, facilities for warming up milk/food, and sometimes high chairs for feeding.

One more tip: bring a very lightweight stroller as you may end up carrying it up and down a lot of stairs if you travel around much (though more and more stations have elevators these days), and it's worth bringing some kind of front or back baby carrier/sling for times when a stroller really won't work (eg visiting temples with lots of steps, transferring between trains at some stations).

Hope you have a good trip!

By kicki svanstrom on Sunday, April 16, 2006 - 9:32 pm:

Thank you so much for your answer and good advices! About carriers, my son has never been fond of the stroller so Ive carried him in a baby sling. Now hies rather heavy so Ive bought a new one called Hoppediz and its excellent. Its just five metres of cloth that you wrap around you and your child, you can carry both on your back and front.

Thanks again!

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