Those were just a few of the words used to describe the breastfeeding and diaper changing booths provided by First 5 LA at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at the University of Southern California on a recent rainy April weekend.
And that’s just what the dads said. The praise was even greater from the moms:
“I’m glad I don’t have to change my child on the bathroom floor or on the grass.”
“It’s great that you are here. We ran out of diapers!”
“Thank you for being life savers again.”
“We also created an opportunity to increase social connections as mothers compared their successes and obstacles for breastfeeding” – Jane Peñaflor
This marked the third time First 5 LA has provided diaper-changing and breastfeeding booths at the two day event. Created to illustrate a critical need parents face when taking infants and young children to outdoor events and festivals, the two covered booths provided a respite from the rain and the throngs of thousands of readers who flock to America’s largest public literary festival.
“We became a place of shelter for families of little ones,” said Jane Peñaflor, First 5 LA event consultant. “We also created an opportunity to increase social connections as mothers compared their successes and obstacles for breastfeeding.”
Young kids, too, had the opportunity to create social connections by playing with alphabet puzzles or coloring activities while their siblings nursed or donned fresh diapers. Other activities included a chance to interact at the event’s third First 5 LA booth, which provided a variety of fun activities. These included a rainbow-hued wheel children could spin and complete prompts like, “What’s your favorite playground game?”, “Who is your favorite family member?” and “Say ‘Hi’ to the person behind you.”
Children participating at the activity booth left with a ball and one of three free books for children 0-5 on farm animals, shapes or vegetables. Overall, Peñaflor said, more than 1,600 children and their parents participated in the activity and breastfeeding booths, the latter of which also provided breastfeeding resources for visitors to tap into, including information on donating breastmilk. The booths were staffed by First 5 LA and volunteers from BreastfeedLA and Jumpstart.
“I think despite the weather situation, the event was well-attended, our space was utilized significantly, and it was great to engage with parents and children who visited,” Peñaflor said. Then she smiled and added: “I even got to hold and hug one of the babies.”
See below for a photo gallery of parents and kids visiting First 5 LA’s booths at the event.