1.the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
I travelled to Chennai, India in Nov on my first international trip without baby! I took the big brother and batbaby with me, and flew solo to Singapore, where I dropped them off with the grandparents. It was a long flight, but honestly they were such good kids!
It worked out, since I was only away from her for 4 days in total, but the traveling stress got to me and my supply pretty much tanked over the month.
Per usual, I contacted the Westin to see if they could get me an in room freezer, but no, they had none. It was a VERY nice hotel - pool, spa, 4 restaurants, fancy. It was disappointing to know that such a posh hotel couldn't even find a way to accommodate a basic need.
I asked again at check-in, and the manager on duty (a man, nonetheless), just shook his head with limited sympathy. To me, this was liquid gold. To him, I was just another guest with an unimportant request.
They offered to keep my milk in their kitchen freezer, and would bring it up to my room anytime I asked, so I conceded, since that seemed like the only option.
However, the next day when I asked for the milk, my whole cooler bag smelled of strong spices. I love indian food, but when it seeps into my cooler bag, and through the storage bags! I could only think about whether batbaby would even have any of that strongly flavored milk that I had so taken so much effort to pump!
Following that, I asked if there was something they could put it in, and the only thing they could find was a manila envelope. Needless to say it didn't work very well.
Worse still, when I asked for my milk on check out, I waited almost 20 minutes for it. The concierge that stored the milk went home, and no one else knew where it was! Imagine the frustration of needing to catch a plane, and not even knowing where your milk was! The frustration level was just insurmountable, since I was pretty much squeezing every last drop, and the effort, just for that one cooler case!
The entire trip was challenging to say the least, in terms of breastmilk storage & expression. It wasn't just the hotel; when I asked about a place to pump at the client site, I was directed to the bathroom, and when I was leaving I was forced to put my milk through the X-ray machine, (by a woman nonetheless).
For sure, the challenges of breastfeeding while traveling are many; but I do hope that my stories will encourage hotels to be more mindful of their breastfeeding moms. That they will start to recognize benefits of breastfeeding, and the effort that moms put in to provide what's best for their children.
And that, with just a small step, they can make a meaningful change to extend their hospitality towards us as guests!