Japan, how are you so smart? When I traveled to Tokyo last week with a few other members of the Lifehacker team, I went to use the restroom at a shopping center. Inside the stall was a contraption that, as a mother of an infant, almost made me cry (jet lag and hormones, man).
It was a seat to hold your baby. Um, brilliant. What new parent hasn’t tried shoving a ridiculously large stroller into a tiny stall only to end up picking up the squirmy child and holding him while doing their business (or, God forbid, placing him on the ground)? This device gives you the freedom to go in peace.
I saw lots of other examples of how Tokyo caters to needs of parents. In the same shopping center, moms and dads can rent a stroller for about a dollar. It makes sense in a crowded city where you can’t easily bring your own on subways and up and down stairs.
Inside the Narita International Airport, there are baby feeding rooms, complete with changing tables and purified hot water dispensers for making formula. I pumped breast milk in one of these rooms and it was a comfortable experience.
While in Tokyo, I also spotted kid-sized sinks, mini shopping carts at the market and other conveniences that probably seem commonplace to residents. As an American mom, I appreciated the efforts. Such thoughtfulness goes a long way.