a welcoming atmosphere for mothers with young children

>> June 2, 2009

I've heard from many mothers of young children who said they visited certain churches and would never return because there was no comfortable place for them to meet their children's needs. Though some churches have nurseries, where you can drop your baby off while you go participate in the service, many smaller churches do not. At the very least, these churches should have a designated room for mothers to feed their babies, change diapers, rock baby to sleep and be able to hear/watch the service.

Unfortunately, meeting this need has been an after-thought for many congregations and an untold number of mothers have, as a result, felt unwelcome and uncomfortable.

I've been bugging and begging the senior pastor of our church (my husband is the associate) to please do something in order for mothers with babies (especially) to have a place to tend to their children. It's coming along slowly but surely...

About a year ago, I was a guest podcaster on my PHs blog where we detailed what churches could do to make mother's feel welcomed. Here's what we came up with. (Listen here.)

Assuming that your church offers a Mother’s Room/Lounge, make sure that it is:

1. Easily accessible

2. Private

3. Single-use

4. Quiet and comfortable

5. Equipped with sound, video or some access to experience church service

6. Well-equipped with extras (wipes, diapers, rocking chair, etc.)

7. Baby proof

8. Clean

In addition:

9. The culture of your church should be welcoming and understanding

10. Train your ushers to assist the mamas hauling babies.

Does your church have a special place for mothers and babies? What are the key elements you think a mother's lounge/mother's room should include?


Jessica June 2, 2009 at 11:35 AM  

Our previous church had a nursing area in the nursery that had a tv feed of the service. There were several rockers and a changing table. I remember for several weeks the same mothers were in there and we formed such a special bond. We would discuss the service topic, talk about trials and joys of being new moms, and generally enjoy girl-talk -- so much so that often we'd stay long after the service and our babies were done eating! Many times our husbands would call us saying "Are you done yet? We're ready to go." This group provided some fond memories of early motherhood and met a need no other group could meet.

Anonymous,  June 11, 2009 at 7:00 PM  

Free of other random stragglers or children NOT in need of the mother's lounge (such as a 5 year old unsupervised noisy tot looking to get out of sitting quietly or several ESL adults trying to translate the sermon while you nurse)

Curtains are a real plus when the large window is not tinted and the room isn't dark.

Comfortable seating with arm rests, since you probably won't be hauling your boppy to church with you!

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