Breastfeeding on vacation in Japan

Since it is world breastfeeding week, I decided to write this blog.

In 2014 we went to Japan, Danny was 9 months old.
I am pretty confident when it comes to feeding in public, 
but Danny got very easily distracted from his surroundings.
so I am writing this blog from that perspective. 
We traveled from Schiphol Amsterdam to Osaka.
At Schiphol we decided to check out the baby care lounge.
I was pleasantly surprised by the clean and relaxed room.

The next feeding would be in the airplane.
We had our chairs with a bassinet and extra legroom.

Next to us there was another couple with a baby.
I asked the father to switch places with his wife, 
that felt more comfortable with the feeding.
The flight was 11 hours.
As you can see I also brought a bottle with water, 
just in case Danny didn’t want to drink when lifting up.
Drinking helps with the pressure in the ears.
The airplane staff makes you put a belt on your baby,
if you twist and turn enough you will be able to breastfeed with the belt on.
We even managed to put the belt on when Danny was in the wrap when
we went to London (he fell asleep before boarding and woke up at Schiphol).
Danny hated the bassinet, so most of the times I had him in a wrap.
I would feed him and then put him in the wrap, because of his
cleft lip (closed) he cannot latch on in an upright position.
Front cross carry with a woven wrap size 4
I used the front cross carry a lot, because you can keep the wrap on
and take the baby in and out whenever you want, very convenient.
And next to this advantage it also makes a great breastfeeding scarf,
it will hide the upper part of the breast.
Because of the website from Tokyo Urban Baby I already knew there
would be a lot of feeding rooms in Japan, so I knew where to look for
once we arrived in Japan.
In Japan it is preferred to feed in a babyroom if it is available.
In Japan it is common to use a feeding blanket, I would never use that though.
At Osaka airport there is a very small baby room.
I decided to feed there since at the airport there 
wasn’t a real comfortable spot the sit, it was busy and all seats were taken.
At Tokyo airport it is a bit bigger and much more modern.

Most major trains stations like shin-Osaka and Tokyo have a baby room.

You can find it on the station map or ask for it with the staff.
Look for Nursery, feeding room or a picture with a baby or bottle in it.

There are two types of feeding rooms,
the ones with personal rooms or a shared room.
Don’t feel shy to talk with the other woman,
most would like a small chat.

The rooms either have curtains or a slide door.

One time the feeding room was fully occupied and I decided
to feed on the bench in the room before it.

Here the slide door contains a kids toilet.

This personal room had a mirror.

Most rooms look very boring, 
but once in a while there is a very cute one.
Most rooms have changing tables, running water,
microwave or hot water tap and a separate feeding room.
In the feeding room there is electricity to pump,
but keep in mind that the volt is lower then The Netherlands,
so make sure you use a pump with a battery that is fully loaded.
Loading takes a long time in Japan.
The grey machine makes hot water.
I wished there were rooms like this in The Netherlands,
especially for changing diapers FOR FREE!
In Japan toilets for the disabled also have a changing table.

Here is a video of the baby feeding room at Tokyu Plaza in Harajuku
As I mentioned before the Japanese prefer not to see a feeding woman,
and this country makes a lot of effort for woman to still feed whenever the
baby get’s hungry.
In long distance trains like the Shinkansen you can ask to use the Multi-purpose room.

The room was pretty big!
In the normal train I did feed a few times in public.
I did not notice any discomfort of the other travelers.
But I would refrain for doing it in the subway since people
cannot really look away there.
Of course I also fed Danny at more public locations,
the weirdest was at a maid café in Akihabara, 
where he kicked a glass from the table with his legs.
They were very helpful to clean it all up.
This is the biggest problem I had with feeding in Japan,
all the spaces are cramped! But in the feeding rooms,
it mostly was more spacious to sit down.
In Japan we went to several events and at two I asked for a room to feed.
One time I got a beautiful tatami room (first picture in the blog)

My husband joined me and we took the time to also eat our

lunch there in peace, it was so nice!
I also used the feeding rooms to relax and wind down after all the noise
and visuals during the day, mostly I would sit there staring at Danny or
with my eyes closed when I was very tired.
At another event I was taken to the first aid room backstage at a huge event, 
I got a bed and a screen to give privacy.
In the end I was happy that I went to feed there, because Danny throw up,
luckily the lady was very helpful to clean everything up.
This was the start of some sick days, Danny had stomach flu.
We spend 1 full day in the hotel where Danny kept vomiting,
I think we had more then 20 dirty towels, the hotel did not mind to 
give us new ones when needed.
I decided to feed Danny on a schedule.
Each hour, 5 minutes.
Until he did not vomit again I let him feed a bit longer and by the next
morning he did not vomit any more, he still had diarrhea, 
but that was manageable.   
After this my husband got sick for much longer, luckily I did not catch it!

I think the breastmilk helped Danny to get better sooner.

Luckily I also brought 2 woven wraps with me, since 1 had to be washed.
After being sick Danny tried to catch up all the drinking and when he 
turned back to normal I got horrible engorged breasts.
I did not bring my pump since it takes up so much space.
I learned how to express by hand, I did that to get some relief.
I used the milk to make some porridge because Danny doesn’t
want to drink milk from the bottle, only water.
I hope this blog will help you on your travels, 
if you have any questions make sure to ask them!
To end this blog here is an useful hotel room tip.
If you see that a baby bed is free of change,
ask for it, even though you won’t use it, because you sleep together.
Two times we got a room upgrade because of it!
And that is nice, so your baby has more space to play on the floor.
If you still get a small room, you can ask to take it away.


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