Getting out and about with your baby or toddler can either be a joy or an ordeal, it depends on the day. Some days everything goes great, you’ve got that child who smiles and is happy. Others it’s more like bringing the Spawn Of Satan to Tesco, or worse, a full on trip into town. In the two and a half years I’ve had a tiny posse, we’ve definitely had a mixture of the two. Days can be made or ruined by little things – not having the stuff you need in the bag, people not moving out of the buggy spots on the bus, and one of my pet peeves, lack of appropriate changing areas. I’ve written before about my list of baby friendly places to grab a coffee or some food in Cork City, and have been told others found it helpful. Sudocrem recently ran their Baby Changing Room Awards 2016 and I’m thrilled to see some of my favourites on their list! Here are my top six places to head when baby needs changing and I’m out and about in Cork (city and suburbs).
Mahon Point Shopping Centre ( 3 Star Winner)
I’m a big fan of Mahon Point – not only does it have many cafes for me to grab a caffeine top-up between shops, but it’s got a fab variety of shops, food court and child friendly areas. Since himself is full of energy and it rains quite a lot in Cork, we spend many a rainy Saturday there. They’ve got a fantastic indoor play area which is free of charge and filled with lots of slides, toys and things little people find fascinating. If you need a break from the kids to get a cup of coffee into you uninterrupted, or an elusive trip into a changing room with that top you’ve got your eye on, there’s Ready Steady Play where you can drop them off to play! Their changing rooms are definitely one of the big highlights – not only are there plentiful changing areas but also including toddler and parent toilets, which also allow buggies to fit in the cubicle too. This definitely gives me a lot more comfort knowing I can still see my little one instead of having to leave the buggy outside the door! The changing rooms are kept clean and well maintained. They’ve also got a vending machine for nappies just incase you get caught out! Definitely makes a shopping trip with a little one less of a struggle.
Debenhams, Mahon Point. (2 Star Winner)
While we’re in Mahon Point, I’m a fan of nipping into Debenhams to see what other lovely things will entice my bank account to swiftly lower this month. The upstairs of the store got a fab renovation last year, which meant the addition of customer toilets and baby changing area, as well as the Insomnia cafe by the door! Because it’s a new fit, it’s as well maintained and family friendly as can be by design – lots of space, clean, smell-free. They’ve also got toddler toilets which are smaller than the larger adult ones – great if you’ve got a small with a fear of falling in!
Brown Thomas, Cork City (3 Star Winner)
In the centre of the city, on Patrick Street, hides one of the lovelier changing areas I’ve come across. Up on the first floor, in behind the shoe section, lies a clean, spacious changing area, with a feeding room added onto it with comfy chairs. Really handy for nipping in when you’re in town, and it’s not the worst thing in the world to eye up the pretty shoes while you’re at it!
Douglas Village Shopping Centre (2 Star Winner)
Another local love of mine, the shopping centre is a regular haunt of ours. Their bathroom facilities are all upstairs but serviced by a lift. As well as ample toilets for men and women, they’ve also got two spacious changing rooms, two toddler and parent rooms, disabled toilets and a “Mothering” room which includes space for feeding and changing. Really handy for when you need to get the Tesco shop done (and a sneaky coffee and look around TK Maxx to boot). There’s also a fab kids play area inside beside the Bank of Ireland, as well as being in close proximity to the playground and the weekly Farmers Market.
Wilton Shopping Centre (Two Star Winner)
The shopping centre is across the road from Cork University Maternity Hospital, so as you can imagine, their baby changing and nursing rooms get a lot of footfall. Well kept and easy to access, it’s a great changing area for when you’re caught out mid-shopping trip.
Other gems not included in the list of winners…
Easy to access by lift, while the toilets are pay-per-use the changing area is free of charge and is generally well kept. Again, bare basics, changing table, sink, hand dryer, but it does the trick in a really central place. It’s underneath TK Maxx and has Lidl and the wonderful De Calf in the same building.
Boots Opera Lane, Cork City
I’ve been a big advocate of this place since the early days when E was very small. Between being so central, to having helpful staff, ample room in the changing area and spare wipes/nappies/bags for when you’re caught out, it’s ideal. Really great service in the centre of the city!
Hopefully this list will be of use the next time you head out on a shopping trip with your little one in tow – anything that makes the experience less daunting is a good thing in my books! Let me know if I’ve left out somewhere you really recommend – I’d love to have this list as a resource for other mums and dads! If you’ve something to add, or any experiences (good or bad) with changing areas in Cork, or even just things which make places to change your baby stand out as excellent for you, drop me a mail or leave a comment below!
If you’re not in Cork, some other amazing changing areas have been announced by Sudocrem to have also made their list of Best Changing Rooms 2016. There are 31 in total on the list (including one more in Cork, Ballincollig Shopping Centre, which I haven’t experienced), so you should find some good spots to keep in mind on there!
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