An Open Letter to DestinyUSA

(For those not in the know, DestinyUSA is a very large mall in Syracuse, NY, with a ton of great stores, restaurants, and attractions.)

Dear DestinyUSA,

You are, in general, a very awesome mall with lots of things to do, places to eat, and stores to shop in. The “green” expansion is pretty great too, even if we did have to wait a long time for it to be finished and opened.

However, I have a smallish bone to pick with you.

The hubs and I took Babycakes, who is about five months old, to DestinyUSA for the first time. She had a great time. So did we, except when it came time to see to her needs.

You see, Babycakes is a breastfed baby. We’ve started her on a select few solids, but breastfeeding makes up 99.9% of her nutritional intake. Now, I’m not really squeamish about breastfeeding in public spaces. I do try to find a quiet, somewhat secluded corner to feed her, but it’s not about me, or the rest of the public. It’s about her.

When she’s eating, Babycakes needs it pretty quiet and free of distractions. Otherwise she really can’t eat well. We use a cover when necessary, but it makes feeding more of a circus than anything else. So I really do try to find a private space to nurse her if she’s hungry when we’re out and about.

Many people would likely say, “Why don’t you just give her a bottle?” Believe me, DestinyUSA, I would if she’d accept one. But she won’t accept any type of container that even remotely hints at being a baby bottle. Sippy cup, yes. Straw cup, yes. But she’s just learning to use those and isn’t good enough with them to get a full feeding. And besides that, she really doesn’t eat well in general if she’s distracted, be it breast, cup, or spoon.

Here’s the issue I had today. There are no nursing rooms anywhere in DestinyUSA. This surprised me, especially since a competing mall (which shall remain nameless), had very nice, new nursing rooms by the food court. I mean, private, quiet, slightly softer lighting, with a changing station (though no sink, and that was a small complaint I made to them), with an actual cushy chair and cushy love seat. It was surprising and wonderful to find.

At DestinyUSA, however, my only option was a family restroom. It was clean, I’ll give you that. But the only non-toilet seating option was a hard plastic chair, the type you’d put on your back porch. It took some serious finagling with my coat to make it remotely comfortable for Babycakes and me. The lights were super bright. Plus, the changing station was broken. Lastly, because it’s a restroom placed between the men’s and women’s facilities, every time someone used the hand dryers, she unlatched and stared at me like it was the scariest sound she’d ever heard in her life. And (okay, this is lastly) the music piped into the mall was so loud, it was another distraction.

She didn’t eat well, and then I had to change her on the station out in the corridor, where it was cold.

Now, this was in the old section of the mall, so I thought the family restroom in the new section would be a little nicer. We shopped, ate lunch, and then went to find the family restroom.

Sadly, it was out of order. So not wanting to traipse all over the mall searching for another family restroom, we returned to the one we used upon our arrival. At this point in the day, it wasn’t that clean anymore. It was till bright, loud, and distracting. I still had to change Babycakes in the hallway. And she still didn’t eat well. I foresee a wakeful night for her, because she didn’t get enough calories today despite my best efforts.

You are a great mall, DestinyUSA. But you dropped the ball on this one. Perhaps you should consider allocating some of the available space (and there is some because you’re constantly adding new stores and restaurants) for the purpose of nice, clean, quiet, softly lit, well appointed nursing rooms. The breastfeeding moms (and probably some bottle-feeding moms) of Central New York will thank you.

7 thoughts on “An Open Letter to DestinyUSA

  1. Destiny USA says:

    We appreciate the feedback about your experience nursing your child at Destiny USA. We will pass along your concerns to the management team to look into this.

    We have a suggestion that may help you and other nursing mothers during your future visits. Destiny USA has a bus lounge, typically used by tour bus drivers, with comfortable couches and a sink. Nursing mothers are welcome to use the room if it’s not being utilized by a driver. Mothers can visit the Guest Services desk on the first level, under the Food Court, and a representative will show them to the room.

    • jlynnrowanliterature says:

      Thank you for the info about the bus lounge. It might be worth making it better known that nursing moms can use it. Many nursing moms I talked to have resorted to nursing in dressing rooms. Maybe something on your website, or even better, on the family restroom doors, letting nursing moms know where to go and who to speak to about gaining access to the bus lounge. I had no idea that was even an option.

    • Aaron R. says:

      Destiny USA, Just wanted to inform you that based on the contents of your message my wife followed your instructions and was told that she could only use the bus lounge this one time and not to spread the message around. I thought this was something you supported…why are your employees trying to discourage it?

  2. Michelle says:

    Oh please, I tried the same thing Destiny and was told I could not use it at all. I then had to sit very uncomfortably in public and breast feed my baby. I went to Destiny in hopes that your response was true and found out it was a bunch of lies. I even showed them this posting to try and prove that we could use the bus room, and was still told I couldn’t.

  3. Beth says:

    Just called customer service at Destiny USA and was told there’s no nursing room except for the family bathroom, complete with patio chair. I can’t believe this mall has a bowling alley and amusement park but no nursing room; it’s shameful. I guess I’m heading to Great Northern.

  4. Zondrea says:

    So I’m assuming this bus lounge wouldn’t be sufficient for pumping mothers. We were going to come to the mall for the day but I definitely won’t be pumping in public… or in the bathroom yuck. 😒

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